Don finally decided he had to do something about the itch on his back. He'd used his backscratcher on it several times, but it just kept on bothering him, so he got up off his recliner and went upstairs.

"Elly!" he called.

"What?" she answered from the bedroom.

"I need help."

"Okay," she said, "Here I am."

Don pointed to the spot on his back with his backscratcher. "Scratch here," he said.

"Itch?" Elly asked?

"You bet." She started scratching.

"Aahh!" Don groaned.

"That's a bump," Elly said. "Take off your shirt."

Don pulled off his polo shirt and stood leaning against one of the kitchen chairs. He could sense Elly peering closely at the itchy spot. "Come into the bathroom," she said, and he followed her in. She turned on the overhead light and the lights around the mirror. "Turn around, please," Elly said, and he did that.

"Wow! That's pretty big. I'm going to have to squeeze it."

"Does it have a head on it?" Don asked.

"Oh, yeah," Elly replied. "Or something." He could feel her squeezing. "Ooo!" she said, "I need some Q-tips." She opened the cupboard and took out a couple, squeezed some more. "Wow," she said again. Her squeezing began to be painful.

"Hey!" Don said.

"Almost done. Now you're bleeding." She got out a box of bandages. "This is what was in your back," she said.

Don turned around to look at what she had on a bit of tissue paper. "What is it?" he asked. Don took a small magnifying glass out of his kit and stared through it, squeezing his eyelids to focus better. "A black fly?" There were lots of black flies in Maine, and Don was allergic to them.

"No idea," Elly said. "It came out in parts. That's the biggest part."

It looked vaguely like a very small shrimp, with a curved body and what looked like a sort of tail. "Pretty weird looking," Don said.

"Maybe we should ask the doctor to take a look at it."

He nodded.

So that's what they did. Elly put it in a small plastic sandwich bag and they drove the eight miles into Wiscasset to the doctor's office where they left the bag with the receptionist. They'd done this same thing before with black flies. "Will he call me?"

"Oh, of course," she said and checked to make sure she had his phone number in the computer. "It will take a week or so," she said smiling at him.

"No problem," Don said. He and Elly left. Since it was nearly noon they drove around the block and had lunch at Red's Eats, the stand on the corner.

After a couple of weeks Don hadn't heard anything from the doctor, so he called the office. "Any word yet on that black fly I brought in to have checked out?" he asked the receptionist who answered the phone.

"Just a second, I'll find out." There was silence for a minute, and then Don heard the doctor say, "Hi, Don. It just came back."

"What was it?"

"Not a black fly."

"Then what?"

"We don't know. It's a foreign body."

Don snorted. "Hell, doc, I know that! What kind of foreign body?"

"Afraid I can't tell you."

Don's eyes rose almost to his hairline, what there was of it.

"Why the hell not?"

"Because we don't know. It's totally alien. The cells don't even look like any cells I ever saw before."

Don could hear Elly breathing on the extension. She said, "What on earth are you saying?"

"What should I do?" Don asked?

"I haven't a clue, Don. Sorry." And they both heard the doctor hang up.