Friday, September 9, 2016

Vignettes by Me, on Themes Picked Randomly: Day Nine

Theme 712: Animals

At the kitchen table, Eunoia scowled at her brother Fred, and Fred scowled at his ham and Swiss sandwich. Though Eunoia was nine and her brother twenty three, it was she who had been instructed by their mother to watch her brother and ensure he ate his sandwich. You see, Fred was a microcephalic with a flattened melon-shaped skull who tended to erupt violently when things went against his wishes, which is why he was strapped into a massive custom-built high chair with asylum-grade leather.

Eunoia, meanwhile, was an anomaly in the opposite direction, in that she had already attained college level in her mental acuity and knowledge of the physical sciences. Indeed, she had opened in front of her, on a linoleum placemat depicting a rustic mill, Nestor’s Mechanisms of Microbial Disease. She had intended to assimilate the entire text this afternoon before yet again being pinned down to guardianship over her brother.

“Want go zoo,” Fred pouted.

“Do you?” Eunoia asked. “Well, don’t you know that as soon as you eat your sandwich, we are going straight to the zoo?”

Fred’s watery eyes began to glisten. “Go zoo?”

“Yes, certainly. Straight to the zoo,” Eunoia affirmed, nodding vigorously.

“Zoo!” Fred cried. He wolfed down his sandwich at once in excitement, choking himself in the process, which he resolved by letting out a thunderous cough that ejected a substantial gob of bread and ham. The gob splattered on a picture of an Apicomplexa Protist in Eunoia’s book. “Now go zoo! Zoo!” Fred demanded, frantically pounding on the sides of his high chair.

“No. I lied,” Eunoia seethed. She snatched the napkin from Fred’s tray and attempted to salvage her Apicomplexia illustration from Fred’s masticated gob.

“Waaa?” Fred asked, suddenly quiet, his face flushing with blood, his jowls beginning to tremble.

Eunoia knew that look. She became concerned she had gone too far. She looked down at her book. An idea caused a smile to creep into the corners of her diminutive mouth. “No, but you know why? It’s because you are already at the zoo, Fred. You have a zoo inside you.”

“Waaa?” Fred looked down at himself. His face began to change color again, this time to fish-flesh white. “Zoo—zoo?”

“On that piece of cheese you just ate, in your stomach now,” Eunoia explained. “There were thousands and thousands of little creatures on that piece of cheese, and now they are all running around inside you, down your throat and in your belly. There are the Lactococci, which look like squirming little balls. They like to form chains with their friends so they can crawl around like centipedes. Then there are the Lactobacilli, which are like long fingers that grope out all over the place, eating sugar and spitting acid. Oh, and another kind you definitely have in there are the Streptococci. Theyre nasty little ring-shaped creatures that sometimes like to eat your flesh. Hopefully yours are feeling nice today.”

As Fred listened to his sister, his moist eyes widened and widened. He looked down at himself again and began furiously clawing at his bellyscratching into his skin with his jagged nails. He bellowed, “Get out! Get out!” Their mother ran into the kitchen. As soon as she saw what Fred was trying to do, she opted to sedate him by sticking him in the neck with a tranquilizer. 

When asked what had happened, Eunoia shrugged. She noted that she had managed to get Fred to eat his sandwich, for what it was worth. With a sigh, she resumed her study of microorganisms. 

Explanatory Postscript: When I say “picked randomly,” I mean picked from a Master List that I’ve compiled of 999 themes intended to serve as creative writing prompts (from the following sources: 501 Writing Prompts; 25 Creative Writing Prompts; Examples of Themes; List of Themes; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 100 Themes Challenge Writing Prompts; List of Journal Ideas; and Top 10 Types of Story Themes). To pick a theme at random, I roll three ten-sided dice (the first for the hundreds place digit, the second for the tens, and the third for the singles) and find the theme under the number I have rolled. If I hit a theme I have already written on, I roll again. If I ever roll 000, I make up a theme. The Master List is a secret, so don’t ask for it.

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