Note: This is a true story as well as truly disgusting story. My wife says I shouldn’t post it, but, then again, she is not a guy. Stop right here if you are squeamish. No one will hold it against you.
When I was in my twenties I got a desperate call from my cousin Tim one Sunday afternoon.
“Cuz!” he shouted into the phone. “Get over here quick! Alan’s drunk! He says when he finishes this bottle of liquor he’s gonna yank that giant wart off his heel with a pair of pliers!”
Of course, I was shocked and appalled.
“Why didn’t you call me sooner?” I shouted. “He might do it before I get there.”
“Hurry,” Tim said. “He only has a few swallows left.”
Alan was Tim’s older brother. For weeks he’d been complaining about a wart that was growing on the heel of his right foot. It was located at the exact worst spot it could possibly be – right where the back of his tennis shoe met his ankle. It was getting to where he couldn’t where shoes any more.
He’d been threatening to cut it off with his pocket knife, but he never could bring himself to do it. This was the first I’d heard of using pliers. I wasn’t sure he could do that, either, but with enough liquor as inspiration, anything was possible.
I broke any number of traffic regulations speeding over to their house. When I got there, Alan was sitting on the couch in their living room. A bottle of Jim Beam sat on the coffee table next to him. Most of it was gone.
There was a pair of pliers next to the bottle and a white towel next to the pliers. There was also a cup of ice. He was holding an ice cube to his ankle. He pulled it away when he saw me staring.
“Look at this thing,” he said to me. “You ever seen one that big?”
The answer was ‘no.’
Big did not begin to describe it. It’s like saying, a brontosaurus was big. That wart was absolutely gigantic. Until that moment, I didn’t know warts got that big.
It was bigger around than a dime and it had to have stuck out nearly two inches.
“How do you wear a shoe with that thing?” I said.
“You don’t,” he said. “That’s why I’m yanking the damn thing off.”
Talking him out of it never crossed my mind. Tim’s either. We were there for the show. Whether it would happen or not was the only thing that concerned either of us.
Alan took a long pull off the liquor bottle.
“Are you ready for the pliers?” Tim asked him.
“Not yet,” Alan said, lifting the bottle one more time. When he set it down, it was empty.
“Give them to me.” He stuck his hand out. His eyes were glossy. His words were a bit slurred.
Tim seemed to consider things a moment. “You sure about this,” Tim said.
“Hand me the pliers,” Alan told him.
Tim handed him the pliers.
“Have that towel ready to hand to me,” Alan said.
Alan took a long, deep breathe. His hands were actually steady when he set the gripping end of the pliers around the wart.
Now I had serious misgivings.
“Have you thought about going to a doctor?” I said.
Alan shook his head “no.”
Alan didn’t like doctors.
“Are you sure about this?” Tim said again. He was having misgivings, too.
“No,” said Alan. He tightened the pliers around the wart. “On three,” he said.
We just stood there, Tim and I. Watching.
“One,” he said.
He gripped the pliers tighter.
“Two,” Alan said.
“Alan,” Tim said. “Maybe you should see a doctor.”
“Three,” said Alan then, to my shock and horror, yanked.
Tim thrust the towel into Alan’s hand. Alan pressed it to his heel.
Then, crazy as it sounds, we all started laughing. Alan was actually laughing and hollering all at once. He rocked back and forth pressing the towel to his heel.
“Did you get it?” Tim said.
Alan pulled the towel back. I’ll spare you the details, but roughly two thirds of the wart was still there.
“Cuz,” Alan said. “Bring me that other bottle over there.”
I fetched him the bottle of liquor. It was about a third full. I opened it for him. He grabbed it with his free hand and took an enormous swallow.
Again, to my shock, he pulled the towel away. He picked up the pliers and gripped the wart again.
“One,” he said.
Tim looked at me. I looked at Tim.
“Two,” Alan said. He squeezed hard this time. I watched the plier’s grip sink in.
“Three,” he said and yanked. Hard.
Alan dropped the pliers, grabbed the towel and pressed it to his heel again. This time the majority of the wart came off. I know because I saw it. This time, Alan cussed a blue streak. He made a gesture with his free hand. I picked up the bottle and handed it to him.
He tilted it back.
When he handed it back to me, I tilted it back. I handed it to Tim. Tim tilted it back.
We spent the rest of the afternoon tilting one bottle or another back. When that ran out, we moved to beer. Other people came over. A party started.
By that evening, Alan had a Band-Aid where the wart used to be and one hell of a story to tell.
I had to work the next morning. I had to call it a night.
Tim stopped me as I was leaving.
“When it grows back,” Tim said. “I’ll call you.”