Once, sharp pain and cold shock made me drop my ice-cream and cry for peace in mum's arms like she was some kind of god; which, of course, I now know she is because she said I’d be fine and I was. Next time it happened I was 20 years old, sat in a sunny garden with my mates. I jumped straight up when it stung me, smashed a glass and sent a chair flying. "What are you doing, Chris?" (Not, Are you ok? His gods spoke the language of blame.) I didn't answer, I just scowled, darted into the house and ran up to the bathroom as quick as I could. Sting still stuck inside the wound. I gathered my courage, Tea Tree and tweezers, from places where gods don’t need to exist. I took a deep breath and then; I rubbed and I pressed and I squeezed. Pinching and twisting. Working it out. I've got to admit there's always some pleasure in that pain where healing begins, but when it came out with a splatter of blood and an audible crunch it hurt more than the Original Sting. I bit my lip to stifle a scream! In the quiet moments after the pain subsided, I wiped myself down and licked the fresh mouth-wound clean with my tongue. It throbbed and it stung – like a lie – it tasted vital, earthy and metallic. Outside, rain had started pounding the earth, begging the gods to never come.
Listen to it as a song, too!