(February, 1999)

Flaking Not Appreciated, Except By Turtle
from Francesca A.

Hi, Ed! Two stories:

I used to sleep over at my friend's house a lot. Since she loved me, she didn't seem to mind about my flakes getting everywhere, but apparently, her mom did. One day, her mom pulled me aside and suggested that I "wear pants like Ali Baba," so I wouldn't leave flakes all over her house. Needless to say, I didn't visit again until I was good and clear.

Since I'm so happy to have found your website, here's another story I'd like to share. (Forgive me, but I think I've got psoriasis of the brain as well...)

One day, I was chatting on the phone and idly picking away my flakes, collecting them in a decorative bowl. Eventually I had amassed quite a bit. I happened to see my brother's pet turtle and wondered if he (she?) would eat it, considering it looked like fish food. Lo and behold, the little bugger loved it! My sister got so grossed out when she found me doing my evil deed that she demanded I stop.

That night, I dreamed that, somehow, the skin flakes made the turtle grow to immense proportions. It saw me and decided it was hungry and wanted more. Just when it started nibbling at my hand, I awoke with a scream to find that our pet dog was licking my hand. Needless to say, I never fed Toby-the-turtle, again. -Francesca a.

P.S. You can forward my address to John I., the Flaker from Manila. Unlike John, I have encountered several of our kind. (My husband just commented that I make it sound as if we're aliens. Well, isn't that how we sometimes feel?) -Francesca A.

*****

Ed's Response: Thanks for two great stories, Francesca! You've no idea how many times I've thought about sprinkling a few flakes in my eldest daughter's aquarium! (Actually, she was the one who first suggested what I shed looks like what she feeds her fish!) But, now that I've heard about your dream, I'm more reluctant than ever to prove lovely little household goldfish eat people! And, by the way, undoubtedly it was the corticosteroid-soaked flake you fed poor Toby that made him grow into a giant killer turtle!

I've heard many anecdotes about the way hosts and hostesses respond to Flakers' trails in their homes, but suggesting you wear pants like Ali Baba was a first. But you know what? I've seen photos of full-body occlusion suits and the pantaloons ARE reminiscent of those ballooning-but-tight-at-the-ankle clothes we associate with that character. You said you didn't return to your friend's house until your P cleared.... I would have found the prescribed outfit and been back the next day—with a big suitcase to indicate a planned long stay!

I forwarded your e-mail address to our associate in Manila, John I. He'll be glad to learn he's not one-of-a-kind in Manila. -Ed

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