"Symptoms?" I asked, a note of apprehension in my voice.
"Oh yes. Life Journal is a particularly nasty little disorder, and one of its more conventional symptoms is to cause massive and seemingly random chunks of short- and long-term memory to be completely erased." I replied with a disinterested "Oh." It hadn't fully sunk in yet.
"Now," said the doctor, speaking as if he was giving a besuited official a tour of the facility. "Now, here's the fascinating thing. Look at this." He gestured to a mirror that was in front of us. Through a series of clever reflections, and an additional mirror, I could see my back. It was covered by a vintage-style stripy polo shirt I had bought from Topman. It looked like one I had seen in the window of a charity shop once. He took it by the hem and lifted it up to reveal a large smear of black ink across my lower back. "What is it?" I asked.
"Look closer," said the doctor, reaching behind me and pulling the mirror closer to my back. The ink-smears on my back were, in fact, words. I began to read:
"Today I went to the doctor's to get this Life Journal sorted out. To be quite frank, I'm getting absolutely sick of it. If I'd have known about this, I never would have started on LJ at all, but what can I do now? I hope he's able to give me something to make it go away."
I was shocked, surprised, flabbergasted, appalled and terrified all at the same time. "Doc?" I began.
"Yes," he said, gravely. "It's not pleasant, is it? And what's more, it'll keep getting worse. I'm afraid there's no known cure."
"None at all?"
"Absolutely none. I see kids all the time, they think it's hot to pick up that little blue pencil, they don't know the dangers, they don't know what it's like. Live Journal, they reckon. Live Journal. But that's not what we call it. To us, it's Life Journal. You mess around, you make a few entries. Before you know it you've picked the virus up through your fingertips - go on, look at them - " I did. The very tips had little letters on them, seared red into the flesh. They were layered upon one another dozens upon dozens of times, the illegible history of a life's addiction. The doctor continued. "Through your fingertips, right into your brain, then the next thing you know your memory's on your back. Anime smilies all up the inside of your legs. And God help you if you've posted quiz results." At this point, I blinked and noticed that the words "YOU ARE A LEMON" had materialised on the inside of my eyelids. I had taken the test just this morning, and at the time it's result had seemed arbitrary and meaningless... but now, I felt like the biggest lemon on earth. Live Journal was laughing at me. "That's why we call it Life Journal," the doctor said, his voice ringing like a sad bell. "Because it's with you for life, and it's not going to stop now. I'm very sorry, son."
On the way out, down an alleyway, I saw Brad with a cardboard box full of big, blue syringes. Each one was marked "LJ KURE $1 MILLIUN", and he was laughing through his toothless grin.