The Cyst-er

As an only child, I used to wish for a sister – older, younger, twin, it didn’t matter. I just wanted someone who was basically forced to play with me. I mean, when I was five, we adopted a kitten, but we certainly couldn’t do each other’s hair or nails.

I had a friend who also wanted a sister. Let’s call her Rebecca. She, too, never got a sibling (or a cat, which I think is the bigger disappointment of the two). But she wished and wished for a sister for years. And finally, she got something. She got a cyst-er.

She called her Emma.

Emma was a sebaceous cyst that just decided to chill on her back. Sebaceous cysts are usually caused by a blockage of a sebaceous gland or duct by a hair follicle or some sort of trauma. They tend to appear on the back, neck, torso, or face, but are pretty harmless. So, no sweat, right? As long as they’re not causing any discomfort or infected, it’s totally fine.

Emma had a temper.

Good ol’ Rebecca loved joking around about Emma – she knew it wasn’t much of a big deal. She loves dad jokes, so she often whipped one up any time she could when someone brought up her cyst-er. But Emma was listening and did not appreciate her jokes. She retaliated.

Cyst-ers can be pains, too.

Like actual sisters, cysts can be pains. Emma flared up – her size just about doubled and Rebecca found it difficult to sleep on her back and left side. Emma bulged under Rebecca’s favorite band tees. Rebecca’s cyst-er turned onto a mountain of hard mass and puss. The skin around the area heated to a blistering red and Emma relished the discomfort Rebecca whined about every now and then.

Cut that b****.

Two weeks after Emma began her torture, Rebecca gave in. Her body began to ache all over and she was tired. With a short conversation with her doctor, she was given the choice: something civil with a 50% chance of defeating the evil cyst-er or a small procedure that would show Emma absolutely no mercy.

Rebecca was done.

She knew Emma had to go. Instead of choosing a routine of warm compresses and antibiotics, she headed for the arctic operating room, clutching the back of her standard-issued hospital gown shut. She trembled as she lay on her right side.


Rebecca winced as the doctor shot Lidocaine into the surrounding skin. Even with the numbing solution working its magic, she could feel the blade drag along her skin. She clenched her teeth as the doctor dug around, squeezing the contents of the infected cyst-er through the slit.

Pack it up.

He was 99% sure Emma was gone – all that was left of her was soaked up and bundled in bloody, gooey gauze. Bandaged and exhausted, Rebecca dressed, took her prescription slip, and headed back out into the world – once again, alone.

Or was she?

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