I felt a little ache today, a wee rumbling from the gravel pit… I like to eat everything that is said to favor kidney stones: grapes, chocolate, tea... I've punched out three. Those of you who have not experienced the fellowship of the stone, but are destined to, are in for quite a surprise.

My second, the most memorable of the three, hit in the car, must have been five or six years ago. First it was a sudden spasm in my back, lower right, that could have been mistaken for a kink, but I knew it wasn’t. Moments later the demon seed was clawing its way down my renal ureter. The pain suddenly deepened, with an intensity that made me gasp with surprise. I suppressed my body’s impulse to writhe; my skin went clammy and I thought I might soon vomit. Then random waves of agony molested me, and threatened to wrest control of the steering wheel, while I watched myself negotiate, with absurd decorum, the afternoon traffic. I tossed my change into the toll basket and watched the rotating disk swallow the various coins down progressively narrowing holes.

Next thing I remember I was on the floor in the doctor’s office, clutching at the body scale like it was the trunk of an oak tree, while the nurse hit me in the butt with a shot of morphine. Then began its slow, staged journey down my urinary tract. I spat it out about a week later, as expected. I still have it, that miniscule thorny tumbleweed. I’m considering having it hermetically suspended in a plexiglass droplet to wear around my neck to ward off evil spirits.