It was time to call my doctor. This being Belgium, my place of residence, I made appropriate weird sounds in my crummy French describing how a visitor had developed the habit of showing up unexpectedly every couple of days in my toilet bowl to say hi. Once seated in my doctor's office, I explained how these bits were thin and white, but how I felt fine, otherwise. My doctor sported a nice little trimmed goatee, and as I finished my story he chuckled into it. Little contented muffled sounds. I waited, patient, but brittle.

"Monsieur," he finally said, "ce n'est pas grave. Je pense que vous avez un ver solitaire."

I had un ver solitaire? What was that? A solitary worm? A lonely worm. A worm that kept to itself; a moody worm. My kind of worm. An individualistic worm that had taken up residence in my intestines. A worm of character. The English term suddenly snapped into my head. "You mean ... I have a ... I gotta ... there's a para- a parasite ... a living thing ... in me?"

I placed my hands on my tummy like a pregnant woman. I stood. "A ... tapeworm?" I climbed onto the chair as though escaping a mouse, gripping my guts, fingers scraping at my navel. There was more living in me than just me. An existence. A thing I did not want.

The doctor, no longer chuckling, asked me to please sit down so he could tell me how to get rid of it. I came crashing down to sit on the chair, blathering, "How do I kill it? What's it take, doc? Where's the bullet? Give me a pill, do tricks! Make it go away!"

I was leaning forward, my nails scrabbling on his desk. Some sort of living thing was eating with me, sleeping with me, sharing my childhood traumas without my permission, and was with me during those intimate moments when I achieved orgasms, with or without a consenting partner. How embarrassing.