I sat up ramrod straight, utterly immobile, my brain flying. I hadn't thought further than swallowing the kill pill and then living my life. I assumed my intestines would just magically absorb the monster, and that would be that.

With immense dread, I reached over and got some more toilet paper. Folded it over. Then, cautiously, like descending into a dangerous lair, I reached down, went under, found me, wiped me, grabbed the dangling entity, and pulled. Something long slithered out, giving a distinctly zigzagging back and forth sensation within my intestines.

I dropped everything and held my breath. This could not be happening. This was not my life. I began panting, all alone in a locked cubicle in a half-decent restaurant with a dead tapeworm hanging out my ass.

There was nothing to do but to wrap great gobs of toilet paper securely around my hand, swallow hard, again reach down, again get a grip on the thin and slippery thing, and tug. Again that slithering feeling deep within. I pulled, and pulled again, and it kept coming. I dropped the tissue and sat back. Jesus. How long was this sucker? I remembered the doctor's brief education: to the moon twice, or something pretty damn close.

I calmed the trembling of my hands. More toilet paper. Reached down. Got a grip. Pull, slide. Pull, slide. I got into a rhythm like someone on a chain gang, condemned to break rocks in smooth, repetitious movements – no whack/crack, just pull/slide. I started moaning an old spiritual, pulling and sliding, endlessly. Oh Lord, bring me on home.