rain island

faraway beach


Dear Dr. Michaels:


I hate to trouble you, but I have been extremely concerned about a persistent rash I’ve been getting. It started during all this rain. It was no big deal at first but now it has spread substantially across my buttocks. It has an irregular shape and seems to grow every night while I am sleeping. Do you think I should try to make it off the island for a visit to your office? The weather has been terrible lately, but maybe if the wind dies down?





Dear Dr. Michaels:


I haven’t yet received your reply to my last letter. Maybe you didn’t get it. It might not even have made it off the island. After all it’s been so stormy here for months and there haven’t been any ships around.

Just the same, I want to update you on my rash. I’ve been losing a lot of sleep over it and I worry about it all day long. The howling wind and the endless rain pounding against my window are making me a bit crazy also. What started out as a little red spot on my left buttock has now turned into an angry, red swirling thing with what look like tentacles.

What’s scary is, the rash seems to have developed a mind of its own. Every morning, when I look at it in the mirror, it seems to have moved to a different location. If it was on my left buttock one night, it might be on the right one the following morning. Sometimes it moves to my shoulder or to the middle of my back. I live in constant fear of it moving up toward my face. I really wish I could come and see you about it, but it is so hard for me to get off the island right now.

Yours truly,



Dear Dr. Michaels:


Why won’t you answer my letters?

You must have received some of them by now.

It is still raining cats and dogs up here but for the last few days there’s been a big ship on the horizon. It must be a supertanker or something. Anyhow, it’s on fire. I am watching it through my kitchen window. It’s been burning all morning and the thick black smoke is billowing high in the air and then curling over so it looks like a huge, black question mark.

There don’t seem to be any other ships around. I wonder how they plan on rescuing any survivors?

Anyhow, regarding my rash:

It is getting MUCH MUCH worse! What I described last time as an amorphous red patch with various tendrils has transformed into something that looks exactly like a map of the world, except that is made up of weeping crusts of inflamed skin. This has spread out over most of my body. The rash covering my entire chest has the same shape as Eurasia, right down to the Kamchatka Peninsula squiggling down the top of my right arm. Iceland has popped up as a herpetic lesion on my left shoulder. Africa is a mass of oozing blisters on the lower left side of my abdomen and down onto the adjacent thigh. North and South America are bright red eczema running all up and down my back, with the Andes and Rockies coming up as angry looking rows of purple welts. There is even a white crust on the soles of my feet, which must be Antarctica. I haven’t really had a good look at that one yet, but my feet have been freezing ever since this whole business started.


Please advise. I need help fast.



Dear Dr. Michaels:


I don’t know why I’m writing this, because you’ll probably never get it. Still, just on the off chance that some day, someone might find this letter and get it to you - I might as well write the thing. It’s not like I’ve got very much to do except to nurse my rash. I should be able to last a while longer with all the canned food I have on hand.

I broke into our post office this morning. I was hoping that maybe I’d find a letter from you, but there wasn’t one, and now I understand why. I hadn’t seen anyone around here for months, and usually that’s just the way I like it. People avoid me and I avoid them. That’s why I live up here in the first place. Solitude. You can’t beat it. Lately though, I’d been thinking it was a little weird that I hadn’t crossed paths with a single, solitary human being for so long - even by mistake. So I put on my rain gear and hiked into the village. Well, needless to say, it was abandoned. There must not have been anyone around here for ages. I kicked down the door and all of my letters to you were still on the floor, right under the mail slot, gathering dust. They were the only ones there.

That ship I was telling you about in my last letter eventually stopped burning. A couple of days later, the oil started washing up on the beach. It’s still there - a thick, black, gooey mess. The gulls, the ducks and the cormorants are all gone now. No one has come around to do anything about it. Well it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get off the island anytime soon. Even if I could, I don't really want to. As far as my rash is concerned, I guess I’ve made my peace with it. It needs me and I realize that I need it too.
Really, it is my only friend.

Over and out,



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