I was first diagnosed with cancer, but then it turned out it was actually many tiny crabs inside of me.
“Honest mistake,” the doctor said, “cancer cells look a lot like tiny crabs, hence why it’s called cancer in the first place. And hand to god, I’ve never seen anyone with lots of tiny crabs inside of them. But, on the plus side, I am interested to learn what will happen.”
“There’s not a treatment option?” I asked, imploringly.
“For many tiny crabs inside of you? No, let’s just see if it’s terminal,” the doctor said.
Naturally, I went looking for a second opinion. When I arrived at the next clinic, I discovered a man who was clearly my previous doctor but wearing a fake mustache and skin much redder in hue.
“Do you think there are more tiny crabs inside of you now? What sort of detritus do you imagine they eat?”
“Maybe cancer,” I hoped and dreamed.
“No, “ the new doctor said. He left me with the dismissive wave of a hand that looked more like a claw.
By the time I got to my third doctor’s office, he had already become mostly a giant crab. He stood in the waiting room doorway, beckoning for me to release his children whom he must have known I would not set free.
Matt Rowan lives in Los Angeles. He edits Untoward and is author of the collections, Big Venerable, Why God Why, and How the Moon Works (Cobalt Press, 2021). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, Electric Literature, Gigantic Worlds Anthology, Booth Journal, TRNSFR, Barrelhouse, SmokeLong Quarterly, Moon City Review and Necessary Fiction, among others.