The Boy and the Tick – Mickey Collins

One day a boy was sitting on a park bench, eyeing a girl across the way whom he loved. As he heaved another deep sigh over his lovelorn position, he heard a tiny voice ask him, “What’s wrong, chum?”

The boy looked down to see a tiny tick on the bench next to him. He wasn’t that surprised to hear a tick talking, it was the kind of world he lived in. “I sit here every day, across from that girl, and she has never noticed me.”

“That’s rough,” said the tick. “As a tick, I can’t really empathize. I do want to help you out though.”

“You do? Why?”

“Well, I was going to suck your blood you see–I am a tick–but it doesn’t taste very good coming from a depressed person. How’s about I help cheer you up and get her to notice you?”

“If you can get her to notice me, my heart would beat so fast I would have more than enough blood to share,” said the boy. “You could have as much as you’d like. I’m Tom, by the way.”

“Tock,” said the tick. “Now, I’ll just need a little bit of blood from you to get started.”

Tom held out his pinky to Tock, who appreciatively sucked. “Come back tomorrow.”


The next day when Tom sat on the bench he found a heart shaped out of sticks and mud the size of his palm.

“What do you think?” asked Tock the tick.

“It’s very nice,” said Tom, not wanting to offend. “But how will this get her to notice me?”

“Just go over there and give it to her. Girls love romantic gestures like that.”

Tom looked over at the girl across the park, but his nerves got the best of him. “I can’t go over there. Can’t you build something that will make her come over here?”

Tock thought for a bit. “I suppose I could, but I would need some more help, and some more blood for my tick buddies.”

Tom held out his fingers, and Tock and his tick friends each sucked on a finger, like kittens to their mother’s nipples.

“See you tomorrow,” said Tom, wiping his hand on his pants.


The next day Tom came to the park he found Tock and the ticks standing around sticks on the ground that formed I <3 U. As Tom stood above it admiring the ticks’ handiwork, he thought he saw the girl across the way look over and blush. But she still didn’t leave her side of the park.

“Can you do bigger?” Tom asked.

“I’ve got more friends,” said Tock. Tom was already holding out his hand. Tock and his friends swarmed up Tom’s arm.

As Tom left the park, he felt slightly lightheaded.


The next day Tom was feeling tired, but when he got to the park he felt much better. In front of his bench were ¾ replicas of him and the girl across the way. Tom was blown away with their work. And so was the girl, as she came over to him.

Tom’s heart beat faster. He couldn’t believe it. “Hello,” she said.

Tom was speechless.

“Have you seen my dog?” she asked. He ran over here to play in that tall grass, but he’s not coming when I call.”

Tom said he hadn’t seen her dog, but could help her look. As Tom made his way through the grass calling for the dog, he came across it. The dog was covered in ticks. “What the hell?” Tom whispered. “Tock, what’s going on?” He started angrily brushing away the ticks covering the dog.

“We got so hungry building those statues of you and her that we needed more food.”

“Not OK, Tock! She’s really worried about her dog. Is it still alive?”

Tom picked up the dog.

“So you talked to her?” asked Tock. “That means the plan worked, and I fulfilled my end of the deal.”

“Not now, Tock,” said Tom. “I need to get this dog to the vet. We’ll talk later.”

Tom returned to the girl who was overjoyed to see her dog.


Tom and the girl did not return to the park the next day, nor the day after that. A week after the dog incident, Tock saw Tom and the girl walking together in the park with the dog. Tock scuttled up to Tom, who moved away from the girl to talk to Tock.

“We had a deal,” said Tock. “I got her over to your side of the park, so you owe me as much blood as I would like.”

“Can’t it wait?” asked Tom. “I’m so busy and happy now.”

Tock squinted his bug eyes at Tom in anger.

“Fine,” said Tom and held out a finger.

Tock bit down and Tom flinched. The girl started calling for Tom.

“I’ll be right there,” said Tom. “Are you almost done?” he asked Tock.

Tock shook his head. The girl called again. Tom was getting impatient. He stood up and shook Tock off of his finger. “That seemed like a lot,” said Tom. “We’re even now.”

But as Tock sat in the dirt, still hungry, he knew they were not even.


Several months later, Tom wheeled through the park to his bench. The statues and sticks were long scattered into shapeless piles. As he sat in his wheelchair, he looked across the park solemnly where the girl used to be with her dog.

“Hello chum,” came a familiar tiny voice.

“Hey Tock,” said Tom.

“Where’s your girl?” asked Tock.

“She left me a while back. She saw all of the tick bites and thought they were hickies from other girls. And then I got Lyme disease.” He motioned to his wheelchair.

“Tough break,” said Tock.

“Can you do me one more favor?”

Tock was still resenting the interrupted lunch from long back, so he remained silent.

“I would like you to build a statue of her. One that’s even stronger and bigger than before. Take as much blood as you’d like. It’s the last thing I’d like to see before I die.”

“A project that big will require a lot of blood,” said Tock the tick. “Are you sure?”

Tom nodded.

Tock proceeded to bleed Tom dry, all on his own. But Tock was a tick of his word, and did build a statue of the girl. It was bigger and better than his previous works, but he was just a tick and didn’t know much about building, so it fell apart within a day. It didn’t matter, Tom was dead.


The moral of this story? Don’t deal with blood-sucking insects.




Mickey rights wrongs. Mickey wrongs rites. Mickey writes words, sometimes wrong words but he tries to get it write.

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