What’s Grosser Than Belly Button Lint?

Prompt Day# 169: Describe a tuft of stiff hair that has grown in a very unexpected place on your main character’s body.


What’s Grosser Than Belly Button Lint?


It started with an itch deep inside my belly button. I scratched at it, I dug at the maddening itch. All day I found myself unconsciously sticking my finger in the shallow hole and wriggling it all around. It was that evening though when I stuck my finger deep inside to itch that something poked me. It felt like a thin wire filament. I assumed some piece of lint of string had somehow gotten into the bellybutton so using a mirror, I grabbed at it with a pair of tweezers and pulled.

“Ouch!” I yelled, quickly realizing that it was in fact, attached and therefore growing out of my body. I took a pair of scissors and snipped it off.

The following morning, there were three long hairs; two black and one yellow growing out of my belly button—straight out of my belly button. These hairs were thicker than the first one and obviously longer too. I snipped them off as far down as I could reach and determined to avoid any further alien growths.

At the local pharmacy, I purchased three different brands of hair remover and went home to eradicate the wiry setae growing from my umbilicus. Project “Hair Removal” resulted in a red, rashy belly button and three stubborn hairs which by the end of the day had multiplied into an entire tuft of black hair with yellow ones stippled throughout. I needed to see a doctor, I was in over my head.

The doctor looked at it for quite some time without saying anything more than “Hmmm” and “what’s this now”. He poked and prodded and pulled at my little Bee-Butt as I was now referring to it. Finally he declared it would need to be surgically removed. He told me that it was likely something called a “teratoma” which is a tumor with many different kinds of cells inside. He assumed this was just the tip of the ice burg and he would need to do a bit of dissecting to have it properly removed. The time and date was scheduled for a week from the day the doctor puzzled over my little wire bundle. I went home confused, worried, and nervous but determined to try very hard not to mess anymore with it before my surgery.

I went to sleep that night with my tee shirt tented up by the hairs standing tall about 2 cm above my skin. I woke up three hours later with an even stranger tickling sensation, you know the feeling when you wake up and brush at the invisible thing that is crawling on you. That was what I felt, but when I brushed across my belly, the thing was definitely not invisible. Half of it was completely visible; the half that was attached to the tuft of hair that had worked its way through my belly button, was a plump yellow caterpillar that was wriggling with all its might, around and around attempting to birth the rest of itself from my navel.

I screamed, I freaked, and I gagged a few times before I came to my senses and shaking terribly grabbed my tweezers and pulled the fat little sucker out. The wet plop of his body exiting mine made me gag again and without thinking, I flushed him down the toilet. I paced around the bathroom for a bit, checking out the hole in my bellybutton where the caterpillar had wormed his way out. I didn’t know what to do. I called the doctor’s call line and was told to go to the ER if I believed I had a parasitic infection. I wasn’t sure the thing was a parasite but I certainly was over dealing with this alone at home. I wanted that hole sewed up immediately.

I arrived at the ER where I told my story and was immediately placed in the waiting room where I sat for the next hour and a half trying hard not to touch the defect in the middle of me. Finally when I was about to cause a scene, I was escorted into an exam room where I waited another forty five minutes before being seen for precisely five minutes by the doctor. I told her my story, I mentioned teratoma thinking perhaps she would take me more seriously. She nodded a lot and said “Uh huh” and jotted some notes. She peeked quickly at the small opening in my navel and ordered an X-ray. I only had to wait thirty minutes for that and then another twenty to be taken back to my room where I waited yet another hour before the doctor came back into my room.

Before she had a chance to say anything I told her that I no longer had a problem because the caterpillars had changed into butterflies and flew out of my belly while I waited to be taken care of. She didn’t laugh, but she didn’t really respond at all. She held the X-ray film in her hand while her mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water. Finally she turned on the light box attached to the exam room’s wall and said.

“I have your films back and I’m afraid I have some bad news.” She said, still fiddling with the film. “I don’t quite understand it myself, and I can’t really explain it. I’ve called the surgeon in to handle this immediately.” She began the dying fish routine again and finally said “I guess, perhaps it’s best if I show you.” She hung the X-ray of my abdomen up on the light box.

It was the last thing I saw before passing out.

gypsy moth


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