Contest #193 shortlist ⭐️

8 comments

Fiction Funny Speculative

Hi! My name is Iggie.

I love you so very much; in fact, you are my sole derivation.

I will protect you, at any and all costs; this is the exclusive reason for my existence. 

I, quite literally, have no other purpose than to ensure your survival in this confusing, heinous, and horrifyingly unpredictable world.

I was there when you were born, and I'll be there when you die. That last one will definitely not be my fault, by the way. Like, most definitely not my fault. Okay maybe around 0.0001% chance that your death could be my fault, but even then, I would be far from a solitary actor in that disaster of a circus.

Oh, I should've mentioned: 'Iggie' is short for Immunoglobulin-E.

I probably seem a little less stalker-ish now that you know that I'm an antibody created by your plasmacytes, yeah? 

…No? 

No, okay. Gotcha. 

Well, just so we're on the same page, it's pretty impossible to exist within a person's blood cells and not be with them all the time. You'll have to forgive me.

Anyway, it's so neat that we found this way to, like, actually chat! I've never wanted anything more than to just actually talk to you–except, of course, to protect you. But you already knew that. 

Ugh, if I could make heart-eyes I totally would right now. I can't imagine this feeling being any less magical than it would to be noticed by God herself.

Okay, okay. I just want to spend some time reminiscing about our most memorable adventures together, then I'll let you go, alright?

Do you remember that time when you were six weeks old and your mom put you in wool booties? They were slightly itchy and irritated you, so I attacked them and made sure you'd never be put back in wool clothes again! Oh, I loved that fight. It was my first big fight, actually, and it was such a thrill to fire all those rounds of histamines into your teensy-tiny feet. I felt bad to know you were uncomfortable, of course, because I love you. Sometimes, however, protecting the greater good (you) comes at a cost.

Oh, oh! And then that first time you played in the grass. Ahhh, what a day. It was right around your first birthday, remember? Your parents set up a little picnic in the backyard, but staying on the blanket seemed boring, so you tumbled around until you could touch that damp green spiky stuff just over the edge. It was a fascinating discovery and I knew that you were bewildered, which is surely why you glossed over that very important detail about it being SPIKY. I was like, "OMG girl that is literally a handful of tiny spikes that have their own tiny-er spikes all over them! Get away from that stuff, you stupid, precious thing!" That's about when I caught up with my buddy M.C. and we sent a horde of zappity-zap hormones to take care of that trainwreck. After that, it seemed like you were afraid of touching grass for a year or two. I remember your parents being annoyed but from my perspective, that little bit of pain kept you from handling miniscule dirt-scythes until your skin had time to grow thicker, which sounds like nothing but a win.

Hm? You don't remember either of those events? Well, that hurts a little, but that's okay. I forgive you, my all-encompassing light. Perhaps we should stick to more recent incidents.

So you don't remember that specific incident with the grass, but surely you've noticed that I keep a watch on that stuff still. I won't lie, it feels a little disrespectful that you still choose to do things that put you in danger of those little buggers, but I understand. You're a wild child, a truly untamable spirit, and you defy the logic of biology just as you defy societal norms and bigoted stigmas. Gosh, I just love you so much.

Besides, I think we kind of came to a compromise on that front over the last six years or so: You wear soft fabric on most of your body whenever you go outside, and I only trigger the alarm if you're in direct contact with the ground for longer than seven minutes and forty-three seconds. With the fabric barrier, depending on its efficacy, I'll let you go anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours on the ground–I have no control over how the Bone & Cartilage Department responds to that, though.

As much as I've relaxed on grass's spikiness, I cannot forgive its disgustingly overt horniness! Blech! All that reproductive material just floating about in the air for weeks at a time gives me the heebie-jeebies, which means that it's bad for you. At least, that's what my buddies and I assume. The trees and any other botanical sex-offenders are just as heinous as the grass. They're all disgusting perverts and I want nothing more than to shut your eyes so you don't have to see it… so I do just that! It makes you cry sometimes, especially when you wear those little plastic caps on your eyes–another thing I despise, but that's not the focus right now–but I really just have to protect you from visual assault like that. It is NOT OKAY for anyone to just be out in the world reproducing without the consent or warning of any onlookers. Utterly vile behavior.

Then there are the mosquitoes. More like NO-squitoes, am I right? Haha! Okay, I'll keep my day job, but only because I love you enough to voluntarily squander any other dreams I may have once had, such as stand-up comedy.

Okay, how about this one: Remember that time in college when you had a really big chemistry exam that you weren't the most prepared for anyway, and you went to that fancy salad place around the corner for a study break? Well, there was something in that salad that seemed just a tiny bit odd. Since you never figured out what it was, I also don't know which green leaf it was, but I think we both know that I was perhaps maybe overreacting a tiny little bit, perchance. Oopsie. I just had to be safe, though! Something in that salad was bad, at least a little bit, so I just decided to toss out the whole thing. You missed the exam because you got stuck in a bathroom stall of the student union, hurling so violently you had to ask a stranger for a spare hair tie between volleys of puke. Listen, I know that seems excessive, and that missing that exam led to your first and only F, but I needed to be absolutely positive that it was all out. No room for chance. I don't roll the dice when it comes to your life… or green leafy things.

Also, we both know you wouldn't have passed that exam anyway, so that's basically a moot point.

Oh, so you are capable of remembering the things that I do for you. Good, good… Why do you seem upset right now? 

Actually, why do you always seem to be angry with me after I do things to protect you?

I didn't want to bring it up because I didn't want to spoil our bonding time, but heck… You are so hard to love sometimes! Seriously, what is the deal with those little tablets you swallow when I protect you from the trees' obscenity? Or those creams you put all over the wounds where parasitic insects stabbed you and stole your lifeblood? You know, I can't read too good myself, but I've heard you read those labels. 

I turn my head and pretend not to hear. I simply cannot allow myself to feel so betrayed by the center of my universe, so I choose to block it out of my mind. But I know it's there. I know it's what you're doing. 

You… Come on now, Iggie. Deep breaths. You can say it.

You take ANTI-HISTAMINES.

But it's okay, right? I still love you, you know. I'll still love you every time you decimate my hard work despite it having no purpose other than to protect your precious, fragile body. It's okay, my dear.

I will always love you, and protect you, whether you want me to or not. You will never be without me.

I promise.

April 14, 2023 16:18

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8 comments

22:36 Apr 21, 2023

Adorable! I write my kids real science narratives— I think it’s something really missing in the kids book market. I love this. Congrats on the short list.

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RJ Holmquist
18:41 Apr 21, 2023

Conratulations on the shortlist!

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Viga Boland
18:09 Apr 21, 2023

Congratulations on another shortlist! 👏👏

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Sophia Gavasheli
17:01 Apr 21, 2023

This is so great! We were just learning about the immune system in Bio class, and I love how you creatively incorporated all that info into a funny story! Awesome job and congrats on the shortlist!

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Amanda Lieser
04:34 May 02, 2023

Hi Shawn! This was such a clever take on the prompt! I feel like I learned a lot! I loved the way that this story repeated the devotion that you were trying to convey, and I also thought that it was great that you wove in those tiny memories to help us really understand your protagonist. Who’s going to remember what happens when they’re six months old? ;) but I think that the spirit of the story was the thing that one over your audience because it was so wonderfully clever. Nice work.

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Mary Bendickson
16:17 Apr 21, 2023

I managed to read quite a few stories this week and I think I started 'Iggy' but got interrupted. There were so-o-o many great entries this week so congrats on the short list. I see you have a few wins so will try to make it back to explore more.

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Russell Mickler
15:23 Apr 21, 2023

Wow! Congrats on the shortlist, Shawn! I haven't read this piece yet but I promise I'll be back later this weekend! All the best! R

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06:14 Sep 04, 2023

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