The metamorphasis

Nick Baker

As Nick Baker awoke one morning from the leftover blackout stupor of a wasted week, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic slug.

It was a Monday, sometime around 11:30 a.m. It was a wretched day, one that would certainly be full of contempt, loathing, apathy and collective whining. A cell phone alarm broke the news. It was the first day back from spring break.

Now he personally had not gone on any fancy trips to Europe or flirted with a failing liver in Panama City. He spent two rousing weekends in Youngstown, a business week in Kent and an involuntary week off work from Munchies but, nonetheless, was in no mood to get back to the grind.

The sun crept in through the black-and-red tapestry-turned-curtain that covers the lone window in his small room, forming a cloudy orange-red early morning haze. It was time to get back to the routine.

Mondays for Nick often began by brewing some extra dark coffee, firing up the old laptop and taking a trip over to to see if anyone decided to leave a comment on his Monday column calling him a “subversive commie double agent” or speculating that his one-sided ramblings undermine an important argument.

He realized before opening his eyes that, on this particular Monday, that would be quite unnecessary. He had been rather busy over the course of the week. Or at least he was busy on paper, though he had not really done anything productive – unless games of 21 on the empty courts by the empty Honors College and hours spent with Resident Evil 5 are productive.

So with that part of the day taken care of, he rolled over to stop the cell phone jingle. His eyes brushed painfully across the wall at the top of his bed. Nick found it peculiar that his head was nowhere near the wall, yet the tops of his eyes were rubbed on it.

The tops of his eyes! He wondered how the tops of his eyes could even be exposed. As he leaned over to pick up his cell phone, a wad of thick, mucus-like goo dripped from the side of the bed, covering the phone and muffling the repeating tune.

He went to pick up the phone, hoping it would still work, and realized there was no feeling in his left arm. He turned one slow eye to the side of his body, not paying attention to the fact that the eye was able to extend in different directions.

No left arm! There was just a smooth gooey gray mass that extended to the edge of the mattress.

He was lying in a stagnant pool of the goo, and he considered the fact that he had been enjoying too grimy of a lifestyle during the previous week. He figured he needed a shower.

He flopped off the bed, covering the carpet and a pile of dirty clothes in mucus and crunching down several empty beer cans. He tried to stand, but realized that he was also without legs. He slinked slowly through the rubbish. As he crept along, he recognized that he would likely be late to class, as he was unable to move very quickly.

He had to submit a short piece on foods gone bad for tomorrow’s paper. He also had to work on a lengthy feature story due at noon the next day, and he hadn’t even put down a word.

Without arms, he wondered how he would submit or type a story. He needed to meet his deadlines. He contemplated this as his eyes twisted around and he noticed the trail of goo left behind him.

The ongoing cell phone jingle gave way to the incoming call tune. It was his editor, undoubtedly calling about the shorter piece that was due by the afternoon. He used his right eye to push the green button, then switched it to speakerphone. He tried to assure his editor that the piece would be in by the afternoon, but found he could not speak. He also still needed to find a live source. Without a voice, this part could be skipped.

“If you aren’t going to respond, then the story won’t run!” the voice on the phone warned.

Certainly this final leg of the semester, with all its deadlines, due dates, tests and papers, would be damn near impossible. Nick was a giant slug, slithering around in the remnants of his week off. He turned on the TV in the corner with one eye. If he could not make it to class or submit his stories, he had only one recourse: to do nothing at all for the rest of the semester.

Nick Baker is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at nbaker3