I was going to describe yesterday’s trip to buy school supplies, complete with my mixed feelings of shock, pride, and inadequacy when hunting down a calculator with required square root, exponent, and cosine functions—for my fifth grader*—and trying hard to set a good example for Sunny in my favorite office supply store, when all I wanted to do was join the chorus of, “If you get one, I get one, too!”
But this morning, a friend of mine—you can thank her later—sent me the latest in an off and on conversation we’ve been having about a flow chart she’d sent me:
I’d said that the whole thing looked sadly familiar, but that I really wanted to kill off a character with a Mongolian Death Worm.
She told me no.
I persisted, claiming that I really needed an interesting plot point, and she finally said this morning that I was welcome to kill off my characters (I’m paraphrasing slightly) but please NOT with a Mongolian death worm:
“First, how would you explain that it got there? Second, what the hell is a Mongolian death worm anyway?”
I gave it a generous second or two of thought and answered:
“Mongolian Death Worms are a delicacy in the finer Asian danger-fusion restaurants right now. If you remove certain parts of the worm, all the diner experiences is a warm glow and, an hour or two later, a colonic purge that is near-orgasmic in its intensity.
So it would be very easy to simply ‘forget’ to remove the certain parts of the worm (or switch worms) so that the diner/victim experiences an excruciating, karma-satisfying death.
Or so I imagine, since I refuse to google ’em.”
She e-mailed me back, saying that she’d changed her mind and I HAD to drop a danger-fusion restaurant in my new WIP and murder someone via Mongolian Death worm.**
I’m taking that as a victory of sorts.***
It turns out that she’d been picturing these Dune-like sand worm things—which I have to admit would take some finagling to be a realistic murder weapon outside of Frank Herbert’s universe^—while I’d immediately assumed it was a sort of hagfish/tapeworm thing, with a hint of fugu and maybe a soupcon of that psychotic shami kebab in the “Polymorph” episode of Red Dwarf.
I don’t know what influenced my friend’s vision, but mine stems from my fascination with what people will happily eat if they think it’s trendy—other people, I mean—and my inability to rationalize the existence of the hagfish.^^
And this fascinates me, how two people can come to completely different assumptions.
Three, really, because after I described the Death Worm differences to a co-worker,^^^ she looked at me for a second and said, “Oh . . . I thought it was something from the Kama Sutra.”
Now there’s a game of Clue . . .
What’s YOUR Mongolian Death Worm Like?
What Would YOU order at a Danger-Fusion restaurant?
Is fifth-grade math going to be THAT COMPLEX?!?
*Found it in pink. Who’s the Mom? I’m the Mom. Boo-yah.
** “It was Chef Antoine! In the Bathroom! With a Mongolian Death Worm!”
***Though I’ll have to set it aside for the right story . . . or the really, really wrong one I’ve always wanted to try . . .
^”It was Paul! In the subway! With a Shai-Hulud!”
^^I don’t lie awake at night or anything, but ugh.
^^^When you giggle in a library break-room, people ask questions. Oddly, they don’t seem to mind the answers. And sometimes they run with them . . .