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The Tapeworm

 
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Shuram Gudatetris
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:39 am    Post subject: The Tapeworm Reply with quote

John turned his old Chevy Blazer into the parking lot at a quarter past six. The sun was just beginning to rise and fluffy pink clouds celebrated the event. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. This was it.

For no particular reason, he decided to park towards the back of the lot. Maybe he was procrastinating. Every lead he had followed had so far led to a dead end, and this last lead was the least hopeful of all. But it was last. If this abandoned shoe store didn't give him something--a name, an address, a ghost of a clue--then his search was lost.

He rubbed his belly and looked at it longingly. "Last chance. Speak now, or forever hold your peace," he whispered to his stomach.

He kept his hand there for several seconds, focusing intently on what he felt there. It was silly, of course, and he knew it, but he couldn't help himself. He hadn't received any clues or warnings from his gut for several months. And even if he had, he definitely did not need to put his hand on his stomach to feel the flutter of his internal gut. His tapeworm had always been insistent and unmistakeable, as obvious as it was reliable.

Until it stopped. The silence had come painfully abrupt.

Until it silenced itself, his tapeworm had been a natural part of his physiology. He took it for granted that its messages would always come and go, the same way hunger and fatigue announced themselves with stomach growls and yawns. For nearly two decades, it had been his faithful guide--slithering in excitement when he was on the right path or fluttering in fear whenever danger loomed. But for long months it had been silent, and now John was on his own.

Sighing wearily, he pushed his way out of the old Blazer. The old door creaked in protest, and the seat springs squeaked gasps of relief as they lost his weight. His feet hit the pavement and he swung the door shut behind him a thump. Now there was nothing left between him and the apotheosis of his search. Tapeworm or no tapeworm, the time had come, and John would either fulfill his vow or accept the emptiness of his promise.

He turned towards the abandoned building, ready to face his destiny.

John peered over the heavy bags of his eyes and squinted at the empty store. His bloodshot eyes took in a scene of long abandonment; chaotic weeds consumed base of the building, the faded brown paint was peeling away to expose cheap siding, and ugly vines crept up the outer walls infectiously. But worst of all was the condition of the windows.

Every last pane of glass on John's side of the building had been compromised. Some were just cracked, but most were nearly completely broken out.

This building had been exposed to the elements for years, and anything John may have hoped to find would likely be lost to rain, mold, or vermin destruction. John rubbed at his itchy neck scruff and sighed discontentedly.

But he was not defeated. It's impossible to defeat a man who has already lost. Long years of loneliness and guilt had numbed him to the prospect of defeat. He had already lost everything that mattered, destroyed everyone he loved. But even in his loss, John's determination was granite--eternal and unrelenting.

It had been almost five years since he first listened to Anna's last voicemail. Her accusation against him, and her subsequent disappearance, had set him down this path. His love for her had amounted to nothing more than unwitting neglect and countless betrayals. Yet John refused to let guilt compromise his loyalty. Rising above his pain, he had forced himself to hear the true nature of Anna's final message: she was in danger, and she needed his help.

But that was five years ago....Five years! he screamed at himself. It was foolishly hopeless to think that she could still be saved--that she was still alive--after all this time. But John accepted his foolishness and his hopelessness, and used them as crutches to keep himself upright and moving forward,

Lost but determined, hopeless yet uncompromising, John forced himself to take the first step towards the uninviting building before him. One step towards his destiny. One step--

Paralyzed in disbelief, John had to wait for the second step. For several moments, he stared dumbly at his own stomach like a man who had just dribbled mustard all over himself. Then a hint of a grin curled his lips.

Like the giddy bubbling of intense oncoming diarrhea, the tapeworm in his gut undulated with affirmative acrobatics: John had finally found what he was looking for.
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Sorus
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tapeworms give me the heebie jeebies.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely written!

Speaking of tapeworms... the only thing I remember from 8th grade Biology (which was 40+ years ago) was one day the teacher told us how to get rid of a tapeworm.

For 29 days you eat the same thing for every meal. You eat a piece of dry toast, drink a glass of water and eat a lemon cookie.

On the 30th day, you skip the lemon cookie. The tapeworm sticks his head out your mouth and asks "Where's the cookie?" You grab it and yank!

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Sorus
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

Well, I am curious to see where the story goes. The symbiotic relationship is certainly different.
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