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The sound was coming from the small of my back. It was surprisingly loud. It wasn’t what I’d call a “back sound,” like creaking. It was almost like a human voice, a moan. Why would the small of my back be moaning? I’d never heard a sound like that coming out of any part of my body before. I say moan, but maybe it was a machine-like hum, or a dog’s guttural growl. I used to have chronic back pain, and I never heard sounds coming out of my back, even when I was immobile with agony. My back has been doing much better for a number of years now, knock wood, so why all of a sudden a moan, or a hum, or a growl coming out of it? I put my hand to the area, under my shirt. I wanted to see if I could feel any vibrations, or something akin to breath. Nothing, just a normal feel of hand on back. I had some paperwork to take care of, but the sound was too distracting, so I tried earplugs. That helped for a little while, but then the sound got louder, as if it had caught on that I’d started wearing earplugs. So that was how it was going to be, eh, a battle between me and the small of my back? How could I prevail?
I had an idea. I remembered I had some sealing putty that I use around the air conditioner. Maybe I could fill in the small of my back, so I couldn’t hear the noises it was making. So I took my shirt off, smooshed up a handful of putty and applied it to my back, then put the shirt back on.
I went back to my desk and tried to get back to work. But now there was another distraction, the discomfort from the crudely applied putty as I leaned back in my chair. And on top of that, a tiny sound, hardly audible, but a voice, a human voice, I was sure, a strangled whisper. I strained to make out the words.