Submitted for your approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story:
The Tale Of Plasmodium falciparum
Q: What even is Plasmodium Falciparum, Bobby?
A: Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest species of plasmodium that causes Malaria in humans.
According to the internet.
When a Mosquito, I named Charlotte, bit me, in Hohoe, Ghana, she infected me with a beastly thing called Sporozoites.
These Sporozoites went directly to my liver where they invaded my liver cells like the Trojan bums they are.
Once inside, they fed, watched a bunch of Netflix and transformed into Merozoites.
Soon after the invasion they multiplied like Avenger movies, until each infected liver cell hosted thousands of Merozoites.
Once my liver cells were full of Merozoites, they exploded into my blood stream.
Then these fucking sneaky asshole Merozoites invaded my red blood cells, where they hid from my white blood cells, who would have killed them on sight.
While the Merozoites were hiding in my red blood cells, they multiplied again, then burst out of my red blood cells like a cheap Walmart piñata filled with Rockets.
Once out there, in me, these Merozoites found new red blood cells to invade then continued the process over and over.
A rolling cycle of invasion, propagation then eruption.
“Malaria is characterized by repeated bouts of fever, each of which collates with a synchronous release of Merozoites from a population of red blood cells.”
This seemingly never ending fever that fluctuated between intensities was my life for close to three unbearable weeks.
Here’s a really good video, if your inclined, that explains the nature of the infection.
After feeling intermittently unwell in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, I mistakenly attributed how I was feeling to the worms and the excess of medication I was taking to kill them.
I left for Man regardless.
Bye bye Abidjan.
Man, Man sucked.
I spent three days in bed there.
I kept a bucket of water next to my bed with a rag in it.
I spent the entirety of my time in Man trying to control my fever.
The moment I began feeling better, I all but ran to the bus station.
I took a prison bus from Man in northern Cote divoir to N’zerekore in Guinea.
After several arguments with the bus driver in Man, followed ultimately with one dramatic exit off the bus to illustrate my resolve to walk to N’zerekore rather than have a sixth man pushed between me and my already obese row of five.
The driver, after four hours of waiting, reluctantly left the taxi park for N’zerekore.
Bobby was triggered.
While taking the below photo in Guinea, a drunk soldier grabbed my phone from me then threatened to smash it on the road.
I jumped out of the window inciting a yelling competition.
Thankfully the prison bus emptied to settle the conflict.
I arrived in N’zerekore at night.
After close to three hours of walking a dirt path, I reached a promising building, that had a reception area.
The concierge showed me a haunted room.
And several similar versions of it.
All of which were in desperate need of a carpenter, plumber and priest.
My only sticking point on the rooms was water, I needed to shower.
He showed me three more haunted rooms, the last of which had water, but the door was saloon style.
It was a compromise I accepted.
In the morning I left N’zerekore for Conakry, the capital of Guinea.
It was a difficult two day voyage in this.
Which is better than this.
By the time I arrived in Conakry I was utterly destroyed.
I really didn’t think I could continue with my trip.
The worms seemed to be going away but I had no energy to spare.
Just thinking about doing things made me tired.
I was broken and breaking.
I relentlessly questioned why I was in Africa.
Why was I suffering?
Why was it so important for me to get to Morocco by road?
Was it worth dying for?
While I was in Conakry, I realized I made a mistake.
I assumed I had to apply for my Senegalese visa at the embassy in Conakry.
Which was why I was in Conakry.
But I can get the Senegalese entry stamp at the border.
No visa necessary.
I wasted all that painful time, roughly eight hours, driving unnecessarily on dirt roads to the dirty butt hole of Africa, Conakry, for no crucial reason.
After three days in bed in Conakry however, combined with the power of a full moon, I became stronger.
I was ready to go to Dakar, Senegal.
I paid 550,000 Guinean Francs (75$ Cdn) for a ticket in another overpacked SUV to drive me and eight others to Dakar in Senegal.
I was told it would take two days.
Right around the time the SUV was leaving the frantic taxi park, a Merozoite release from my red blood cells must have occurred, because I was frantically searching for my happy place.
My happy place.
After a full day bouncing around the inside of a hot crowded car, the SUV would intermittently turn off, requiring our chauffeur to stop repeatedly, pop the hood then preform bush mechanics, on the fly.
To be honest I was happy about these little breaks.
They were brief opportunities to stretch out my Geisha bound hips then lay on the ground, in a sad, just leave me alone, fetal position.
What I couldn’t know was we would be stuck in the town of Labé for two days waiting out a violent protest against police.
Cars burning, non stop explosions and automatic gun fire.
Disturbing screams and jeers of thousands of people following a particularly loud explosion or long exhaust of automatic gunfire.
If I wasn’t rolling hard with the worst fever of my life, I would have cared.
As it stood however, I had to be carried to a nearby compound, owned by a family of Muslims, from the roadside market stall where I was rolled into a Popple.
If not for my fellow passengers, I wouldn’t have been able to escape the violence that was quickly enveloping Labé in time.
It happened that fast.
0 to a 100.
Once I entered the compound, I couldn’t stand.
I was laid in the shade on a mat where I shivered in and out of consciousness.
There were explosions erupting around the compound, dark smoke hung ominously in the unmoving air.
I fantasized about going to the airport and flying to Vietnam for a million coconut slushes.
The teleportation whistle.
At one point a brutal fight broke out at the gates of the compound.
At first and for awhile, I thought it was dogs fighting.
The fighting people, sounded like feral dogs.
That’s when I moved inside the house.
Where the owner of the home calmly offered me tea.
I obliged him.
The chauffeur delivered the news that it was too dangerous to leave that night, as planned.
We would instead leave the following night.
I’m going to die.
I hated doing it.
I don’t know why, but I hate interrupting people to ask to use the toilet.
But that’s what happened mid way through tea, as this very generous man was telling me about his pilgrimage to Mecca.
“Monsieur, where’s your toilette?”
I asked hurriedly.
One of his daughters showed me.
It was behind the house.
My body did things, made things, that I think were more science fiction, than humanly possible.
My god, the shapes.
How was I making intricate green crystal like, nanotube structures?
I half expected Megatron to bust through the door and pull the other half of the Energon cube from my asshole.
Siri, What hand do I wipe my ass with?
After that existential bathroom experience, the old man let me sleep in a bed.
I laid there talking to myself, making sounds and shivering for the next 24 hours.
I got up three times, two to put cold water on my head because my fever was worrisome.
And the third to get fresh air.
As I sat on the tile with my back against the cool wall, children began running around covering their faces with t-shirts and shalls.
The compound was being tear gassed.
I ran toward my room and closed the door.
I listened as several nearby explosions pushed the sounds of the mob further aways from me.
My lungs were on fire.
I didn’t leave my room until late that night when the driver shook me alert, softly telling me “It’s time to go”
Everyone piled into the SUV.
The Chauffeur began navigating the war zone.
I could barely keep my head upright.
The protesters designed elaborate roadblocks made from large rocks, trees and scrap metal.
They poured gasoline on the heap, then lit everything, including the road, on fire.
At every turn, no matter how remote, we were trapped by fire.
One of the roadblocks that wasn’t on fire had a mob of people guarding it.
We stopped, the driver turned off his headlights.
The thirty or so hooligans beat the car with sticks and open hands, forcing the driver to give them money.
He calmly refused.
He no doubt had a wallet that said Bad Motherfucker on it.
After ten minutes of calmly talking them down, the young ones moved the rocks.
We were allowed to pass.
A man climbed on the back of the SUV and loudly navigated to the driver where he had to drive in order to avoid future roadblocks.
We were confronted by at least another fifteen obstructions.
During one particularly loud testosterone fuled stop, the protesters were shining their phone lights inside the car.
When they saw me sitting there, they got especially excited.
That was the only time where I genuinely felt like “well this is it.”
Black hawk down.
But they let us go.
I had no energy to really care.
I was barely able to keep my eyes open, not because I was tired, I wasn’t.
I had no energy, all I could do was listen.
Eventually, after close to two hours, we escaped Labé.
At near two in the morning, the Chauffeur stopped just outside Koundara, walked me to a food stall then ordered egg and tomato mash.
He sat with me, watching me eat it.
Even encouraging me when I slowed down and started picking.
It was the hardest meal I ever forced down.
Not because of what it was but because my body was rejecting everything.
At this point I hadn’t eaten in almost four days.
I didn’t want to eat.
Something was very wrong.
I could feel it.
We crossed the border into Senegal at day break.
From the border, we drove into Dakar.
It took ten more hours.
Being in a scorching car, on the sun drenched drivers side, my brain felt like a piece of cheese in a microwave.
Eventually, I tied the sleeves of my spare shirt around the handles above the windows, hoping the make shift curtain would give me some reprieve from the heat.
I’m sincere when I say, the Conakry to Dakar experience was one of the worst I’ve ever endured.
And I’ve been to Revelstoke
When I arrived in Dakar it was late. Too late for food.
I found a hotel, that was a rent by the hour kind of spot.
The smell of cheap paint made me instantly angry every time I opened my door.
And the mattress, has seen a lot of regret, no doubt.
But the shower was ice cold.
It saved me.
In the morning, I was feeling better.
I walked to the Mauritanian embassy to apply for a visa.
Strike two Bobby.
After the embassy, I went to a restaurant determined to eat anything.
Once back in my newly painted room.
I took a nap then woke up with another fever.
I called a doctor.
He arrived within the hour.
He assessed my condition, then gave me several prescriptions.
He took another malaria test with a home test kit.
His results for Malaria were negative.
“That’s really good news” I said
“It must be the flu, or Satan devouring my essence”
Or I have Ebola.
He gave me the number for a doctor who makes house calls and takes blood samples.
After giving a sample, the second doctor said he would call me with the results, in the morning.
Then I went to sleep.
At one in the morning there was banging on my door “Bobby It’s me Dr Muhammed, open up”
I opened the door, the Doctor came inside with another man.
“Bobby you have Malaria, the bad one, we need to get you to the hospital right now”
He put an IV in me, then we left the hotel to a waiting ambulance.
I was taken to the hospital.
Where I stayed for two days.
On my last day the staff left me hooked up to an empty IV bag for 8 hours.
That’s when I decided it was time to go.
I was feeling much better, anyway.
Better than all the screaming people in the emergency room, certainly
The next day I was on a bus to Rosso, the border to Mauritania.