This week I have to have an ultrasound scan performed on my neck. This is because, in spite of having no problems with my thyroid gland at all, it has become enlarged giving me a very attractive (I wish!) goitre.
As well as not looking very nice the goitre also, sometimes, presses on my windpipe and makes me cough which is boring and irritating. So I’ll get it scanned and, if our wonderful free National Health Service deems it enough of a nuisance, it will be removed. This will of course mean surgery which will involve my, literally, having my throat cut.
Now I’ve not been backwards in coming forwards in the past about using knives in my fiction. In fact just recently I’ve gone on a bit of a slasher fest if the truth be known. Firstly I ‘killed’ a man on a large piece of open ground in east London called Wanstead Flats in the first book in my new Hakim and Arnold series and I’ve just now done for another poor soul with a blade in my latest Çetin İkmen book. I’ve been very knife happy of late but now, in view of my own predicament with the goitre, I do feel a little bit spooked. Is life about to imitate art – or whatever it is I think I do?
Now I know that if I do have to have this thing removed, I will be under a general anaesthetic – I hope. But out for the count or not, I will still be having my throat cut open and that will be weird. I’ll have a scar too, just to prove the point. But no-one will actually know how I got it unless and until I tell them. So weird scar on the throat? To ask or not to ask about it? The mind goes mad – or rather mine does – at junctures like this. What reasons, I wonder, will people who don’t know me, just casually passing me on the street for instance, come up with for that scar?
Was she (me) in a fight? Possibly with another woman over some man? Was she mugged in the street, put up a fight and then got her throat cut for her pains? Is she some awful nag whose husband just couldn’t take any more, snapped and stabbed her in the throat? Did she try to commit suicide with a kitchen knife?
There’s something about a scar on a throat that gives almost everybody the screaming creeps. I’ve got a load of scars on my right leg where I broke it a couple of years ago and had to have the product from an entire steel foundry inserted into it to stop me from falling over all the time. Pretty it isn’t, but if people want to see it, I will show it to them and they will just wince a bit and I’ll laugh. But I’d be willing to bet that those same people won’t want to see my throat if I have to get that cut. That’ll be too much and they’ll want me to cover it up with something so they don’t have to look at it.
Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, spawned a whole new fashion for long, looped strings of pearls and chokers because of her embarrassment about a scar she had on her neck. There was even a rumour at one time that she’d got the scar because her endlessly unfaithful husband had tried to kill her. Suspicion and supposition remain about Queen Alexandra’s neck to this day. The curse of the throat scar.
For some odd reason now lost in the mists of time, there was a brief vogue for chokers back in the 1970s when I was a kid and I remember having one then. I expect that the history behind this phenomenon exists somewhere on the Internet together with the exact location of the Holy Grail and a lot of other things now irretrievably entangled in coils of binary code. But anyway I had one then and if I remember correctly, it looked quite nice. Will I have to revive that particular fashion now?
I might, but then again I might not. I looked sweet in a choker at the school disco, but dragging myself around the supermarket in one now I have a son who has a doctorate might be another story. Maybe I should just wear my scar with pride? Maybe I should just think ‘fuck it’ and let people stare? Maybe I should flash the scar deliberately just to make people cringe? But then again maybe I should make up an elaborate and frightening story about it – like I got it when a Victorian stuffed monkey came to life in an old antique shop in some mythical part of Camden Town and tried to bite my windpipe? I think I like that explanation best.
But of course, I am getting way ahead of myself here. With National Health Service finance cuts growing deeper by the day, I don’t expect to have the goitre removed any time soon. So now I have to make up a story about why I’ve got this lump on my neck. Now what do you think about the idea of an alien nesting in my throat?