So, Chuck Wendig is celebrating the landing of a paperback version of his recent book “Invasive”; a story about genetically engineered ants which is still on my “to-read” list for 2017.
What has that to do with this week’s challenge?
EVERYTHING, I TELL YOU!
Our task is to write 1,500 words inspired by an “invasive species”. It could be anything from the Japanese Knot Weed to Locusts and insects.
So why not write about the most invasive species of them all…
Odds and Ends
The colonoscopy team were removed from the ward, and relieved of the patient who went by the name of “Steely Dan”; not because his name was Dan, but down to the fact that high levels of metal ore could be found in his stool.
A hefty clap of such metal, falling from below waist height and into a bed pan, could be heard from behind the curtains surrounding the lone bed in the corner, along with the grunts of a poor old Dan heaving out yet another sample.
“Very good, well done” said the nurse, impressed by the shiny nugget jangling around the bed pan like a chrome die.
Dan wished he could die.
The pan was then passed around the curtain to a team of eighteen doctors, professors and government officials, eagerly waiting to scrutinise the next steaming batch of mystery shit.
Meanwhile, Dan was stood clutching the rails on the end of the bed, with his hospital robes tied up around his chest and everything else below revealed in a freak show style exhibition. It felt like a lifetime had passed since Dan was ushered in here but three minutes ago, with the nurse’s assistant taking photos of him passing whatever solids were leaving his body. Thermal imaging, sound recorders, lasers, machines that went “beep boop” every ten seconds, and webcams pointing towards his nether region were all stacked in a neat pile behind him.
His eyes were fixed on the wall in front of him. He tried to ignore his surroundings; the nurses, the machines, the sound of doctors talking their medical jargon, the feds that occasionally peered around and chuckling. This can’t be real, he kept telling himself. This is all a dream.
This is all a dream.
A melodic toot of flatulence escaped from Dan, rippling his cheeks and setting off yet another sensor on the computers aimed at the source.
“Excellent Dan, that was perfect!” said an enthusiastic voice from behind the curtain. “Keep ‘em coming! Don’t hold ‘em in!”
Dark thoughts clouded Dan’s mind. He wanted this to end. He wanted no more scrutiny. No more tinny turds. No more shiny shits. This must stop. How could he end this now?
Just then, between these horrible thoughts, a chirpy young doctor slid around from the curtain, with eyes beaming with delight at the semi naked man crouching before him.
“Ah, Mr Dan! Pleased to meet you” the doctor said. “My name is Doctor Bodenheimer, but please… call me Dr Bob”
“H… Hello Bob”
“Doctor Bob” he replied with a stern laugh.
The doctor examined the medical notes attached to the bedside, making amusing interested sounds like “hmm… oh really!” and “wow-wee, won’t you look at that!”. The smile on his face remained there, stuck like a dirty streak on a window.
“Wh…what’s happening to me, Doctor?”
“Hmm… oh, I’m doing fine, thanks for asking”
Dan sighed, and went back to wondering how many times he’d need to hit his head against the bed rails before he’d kill himself. A small pop of flatulence escaped, setting off the sensors again.
“Good boy, Dan! Give me a bigger one next time!” said the voice again.
A few minutes passed, with Dan never breaking his gaze as he stared deep into the soul of the wall before him. After Doctor Bob had stopped making every contenting noise possible, he set the medical notes aside and signalled for the nurse and her assistant to leave.
“Now, Dan” he started. “I won’t ask you anything you haven’t already been asked, so I’ll be honest about what we’re going to do”
“Oh no, thank you!” he replied. “You see, this is a medical marvel here. Metal excrement isn’t something you see every day, so we need to do something rather… invasive”
Dan broke his stare with the wall, and directly at the Doctor, who was holding an endoscope in the fashion of one of those sexy cartoony women holding a belt with both hands, ready to snap it shut. Dan wanted to laugh; “something invasive?”, he repeated to himself. Aiming cameras and lasers towards his asshole, tracking his every pucker and clench, was always going to be the phase shortly before inserting them up there.
“Okay Doctor…” Dan mumbled, staring back at the wall. “…get it over with…”
Dan was moved to a more open area in the room, which had now become an auditorium for the many medical professionals eager to see what the inside of his colon looked like. He was now leaning over an A-frame in the very middle of the room, which looked like it was especially made for this procedure (the words “Operation Steely Dan” were printing onto it, along with helpful messages for poor Dan, saying such wise words like “Please refrain from clenching” and “No sudden movements”. He saw an enormous tub of government-approved lubricant jelly being passed around the room and eventually watched the good doctor walk behind him, holding the feared “camera snake”.
“Okily-dokily Dan” said Doctor Bob cheerfully. “This is going to be cold”
A sudden chilling stab of a smooth, slippery instrument slid through the gateway of Dan’s troubles. He took a sharp inhale, pushing up his chest and flexing his back as the narrow, flexible tube started to slither around inside him.
Away from Dan’s view were television screens, beaming a live stream of the endoscope as it burrowed further into through his colon. It was a magical adventure trip for the doctors and scientists, occasionally “oo-ing” and “aah-ing” as it bent and barrel-rolled around corners.
“So much debris” one doctor said.
“It’s like a scrap yard down there”.
“There… the foreign object to the left, it has words on!”
“Yes! Pause there for a second” another shouted.
“Property of NASA?” and then some chuckled whilst others gasped.
A lone tear fell from Dan’s facial cheek. They were joking about him. How inconsiderate of these so-called “professionals” to mock him, and his metallic stool syndrome, and his pain. He wanted to do something to stop this suffering, but he was frozen in fear, forced by his locked joints and shrivelled esteem to listen to the whispers of conjecture and speculation.
Another eternal passed for Dan. His legs started to ache. His back, still tense from the camera snake, was numb with pain.
Doctor Bob pulled up a chair and sat on the other side of the A-frame. His face gleamed with excitement, tilting and smiling at Dan through the gap in the frame.
“Well, well, well… you lucky, lucky boy! Would you like the good news first, or the bad news?”
How tormenting, Dan thought. He saw the Doctor as more of a tyrant, oppressing him from within these walls, watched by tormenters who had done more to harass then help. Dan would risk losing his balance and falling back on the endoscope, just so he could land a punch on the smug face before him.
“Th…the good news p…p…please” Dan stuttered.
The Doctor then reached towards the desk behind him, returning an iPad embezzled with official looking logos plastered all over. “FBI”, “WHO”, “Office of the President”. They even had an official looking “Operation Steely Dan” logo too (with a silver eagle flying from between two round hills).
“Well…” the Doctor started. “Turns out you gotta worm!”
“W… w… wor… worms?” Dan replied with a scepticism, like the paramedics earlier that day when he said he’s just passed a shiny metal turd.
Dan flinched in disgust at the thought that they could ever have the decency to lie to him. Dan saw, with his own eyes, and felt with his own hands, and even took a hardy good sniff just to be sure, that his shit was most certainly not shit!
Metal from his ass!
Worms that make metal come from his ass?
“W… w… worms? It can’t be… you’re wrong”
“Ah , you see, you are naive to doubt me. You have a special kind of worm in your intestines…
…a worm… hole!”
And with the flick of a wrist, Doctor Bob turned around his iPad. What Dan saw wasn’t a scary parasite like he’d seen on Dr Phil, or even a landscape shot of his gut reaching far into the distance.
He saw planet Earth.
“Th… that’s not-“
“Oh yes, it is! You see, somewhere in that belly of yours, about halfway through your jejunum… you have a portal that leads straight out to the dense void of space, overlooking our planet in awe”
“Wh…wh…wha…ho…how…erm…what is…” Dan couldn’t believe this. The stream was live, with his gut walls flexing as he squirmed and shook. The Earth was there, shiny and bright against the dark plain of space. The edges of the portal seemed cauterised against his fleshy intestines, stuck and shifting in shape.
A nurse placed her hand on his shoulder, hoping to calm him down.
“And the metal fragments you have been passing recently? Oh yes, this is nothing but space debris from satellites, the space shuttles, etcetra, nothing to be afraid of. They all seem to be sterile”
“Yes, Dan. Space!” Doctor Bob jumped up and cheered, catching the bewildered Dan by surprise. The nurse beside him sternly reminded to not make any sudden movements.
“So… you’re probably wondering what the bad news is, Dan” Doctor Bob continued, returning to his seat and picking up his iPad again.
“Wh… what’s the… b… bad news?”
“Well, you see…” Doctor Bob showed the iPad to him again, zooming the camera in for Dan to show the beautiful orb of the world. “…Planet Earth is blue…”
“…and there is nothing we can do…”