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The Parasite Copyright© C. Sean McGee CSM Publishing Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil 2018 First Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this bok may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, scanning or digital information storage and retrieval without permission from the author

ISBN-13: 978-1725515369 ISBN-10: 1725515369

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The Parasite


The Genesis “Family is everything.” Mr. Gondii stared, like any proud father would, in glowing praise at his mound of oocysts. It had been a long road, marked with as many defeats as there were, claims to victory. He had strived so hard and had endured such momentous struggle in his life. But now, looking out over the home he had built with his own blood, sweat, and tears; it was so patently obvious that it had all been worth it. It was hard to tell if he was paying homage to his own efforts, or to those of his father before him. What did not get lost in semantics, though, was the love in his heart, and like any noble father, what he would demand of himself and what sacrifices he would make, simply for what was best for his children. And of them there were thousands, all coiled together, ready to make their way into the world. Most, if not all, would suffer some kind of hardship and pay some insufferable toll; such was the burden of existence. Some would make families of their own and follow in their father’s steps – some, but most certainly not all. Most would get swallowed up by the Earth; given an unfortunate hand in the game of life and death. “All I can tell you,” said Mr. Gondii, offering his final wisdom before his children set off on their own. “Is what my father told me and his before him.” The air was rife with the scent of moist faeces. “A rat or a pigeon is where you should lay,” he said. “For anywhere else will lead you astray.”


The Fraternity And just like that, as if out of the blue, the brothers were born. Out into the strange emptiness of space he soared - with his siblings in tow - like barnacles clutching to the keel of half a dozen ships of excrement. And it was no easy journey. A great many died in the fall, and just as many were carried away by the air which swept back and forth like the tide, making a mockery of their simple claim to life. “Remember our father,” shouted the eldest of the brothers. He, like the rest of his brothers, was named after his dear and valent father, Todd Gondii. “Remember the poem and remember it well. For our father and glory, lest ye suffer in hell.” His voice carried through all the turmoil. It echoed in the brothers’ ears, and it sang out in their hearts. If their father had given so much of himself for them, the least they could do was give him just as much in return. “Do not let go, my brothers,” shouted Todd. “Do not give in.” “For our father,” shouted all of the Todd’s, gripping to the largest of the vessels. “For family is everything.” And so the excrement tumbled and turned, and it flipped and it rolled; and in mere seconds, it was shipwrecked on a coast, buried beneath an island of sawdust and sand. “For our father,” said the eldest Todd, before all fell silent.


The Humbug And it was quiet for some time; a time that felt like an eternity – an eternity of waiting. For one Gondii in particular, the only one who was not a Todd or Tim or Tobias, it was the most nerve-racking experience imaginable. As seconds turned to minutes, and hours turned to days, the conversation amongst the brothers turned to that of strategy and planning; and when that failed, that talk fell upon words of hope and belief – belief in a higher power, belief in a divine cause; and belief that there was meaning to all of this despair and suffering. “When will happen?” said one Todd to another. “When will it all begin? I think I’m losing my mind.” “Stay strong, brother,” said all the other Todd’s in reply. “Soon we’ll be taken to the belly of a rat, and from there, as if fate, to the belly of a cat. And there we shall make our father proud; and we shall be fathers of our own.” And that was enough for their fears to subside – at least for the time being. There was one brother, though, whose thoughts of useless and failure could not be consoled. There was one, in particular, who had worry embroidered in his genes; one for whom faith was more ill-fated than benign. And his name was Peter; the only Gondii who was not a Todd, or Tim, or Tobias. “What if we never get eaten?” he said. “What if our fate never comes? What if this is it? What if this is all there is? What if our father was wrong? What if there are no pigeons? What if there is no rat? And worse still,” said Peter in ghastly despair. “What if there is no cat?” And just like that, the doubts and fears returned. It was a question that none of the brothers dared question; for what if it was true? Instead, riled by a cunt of treachery, the brothers all turned on the Gondii whose worry could not be concerned, the only Gondi whose name was not a Todd, Tim or Tobias. 6

“You’re a loser,” they screamed. “The runt of the litter. Get the hell out of here with your faith cold and bitter.” Their anger was vicious, they were whipped in a fury - and in the name of God - they became judge and jury. The brothers all swarmed and swiftly attacked, and threw poor Peter from the mound of scat. “Blessed is the Gondii,” screamed the eldest Todd. “Who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers!” And then the brothers all turned away.


The Fall Buried in the dust and sand, neath clumps of soaking urine, Peter Gondii didn’t have a chance – and he knew it. He tried calling out to his brothers, but his prayers went unanswered. Then he tried calling out for his father. “Why have you forsaken me?” he screamed, until his voice turned hoarse and sore. But there was no answer, only the dreaded silence and the thought that he would live and die alone; and all for no reason, no reason at all. It was on the second day, just as he had abandoned all hope, that fate, it seemed, had turned in the Brothers Gondii’s favour. There stirred something momentous and beast-like in the room adjacent to theirs. The brothers all jiggled about in fits of glee – it really was a sight to be seen. “I bet it’s a rat,” said a Tobias. “Or a mouse or a pigeon,” said one Tobias more. Each of them believed that fate would put them into the belly of a rat. Though they couldn’t explain it, not with their logic and reason, it was still something that absolutely believed to be true. “I can see it,” said the eldest Todd. “It’s brown, with ragged fur, and wicked black eyes. We’re saved,” he shouted. “Hallelujah, praise to our father, we’re saved.” But the closer it came, the sooner the brothers realized the horrible truth. “That’s no rat,” shouted a Tim. “It’s a pair of goddamn shoes.” And he was right. What had looked like a rat was just a pair of animal faced slippers – a pair of brown, rat-faced slippers. And in them, a young man, dressed in his sleeping attire, with a shovel in one hand and an empty bag in the other. “Golly gosh, Kitty,” said The Human, pinching his nose. 8

“What a terribly stinky poo.” Before the brothers could gasp, The Human had already dug his shovel into the mound of sawdust and sand, removing the faeces and all of the brothers too; dumping them in the white plastic bag, and dumping that bag by the curb next to a dozen more. By sundown, the brothers would be buried in some landfill outside of town. Their journey hadn’t ended, but it had been made all the much worse. If their faith meant anything, it was now that it was truly put to the test. “Whoops,” said The Human. “Spilt some sand on the floor. Better sweep that up. Cleanliness is next to…” Then he swept the little bit of sand into his palm and lightly brushed it into the toilet and flushed it away. The sound was torrential, and the sight was even worse. Poor Peter dangled on the end of one of The Human’s fingers, staring into the swirling river of death below. “Don’t look down,” he said to himself. But when he closed his eyes, his imagination was a thousand times worse. And so he had no choice but to stare into the abyss, as the abyss stared long into him. “I won’t give up,” he said. “I’ll make my father proud. I will find a way.” And so he clutched to the end of The Human’s Finger will all of his force and all of his might. And he saw the most strangest of sights – a universe much bigger and bolder than he had imagined; one far more complex than the one his father had spoken of – that to which his brothers prescribed. He was scared, yes, but at the same time, he was overwhelmed with curious delight. The world of The Human was built upon many stations; some of them soft and cozy, and others ergonomic chairs. There were massive screens in every room, and some of them The Human sat and laughed, while at others it toiled over research and its deadline that loomed. “You hungry, Kitty?” said The Human to its cat. That was the first time that Peter had ever seen a cat. It was like staring Heaven right in the face. He was so close. All he had 9

do was get in its mouth somehow. Fate, it seemed, was just a leap of faith away. “I’m hungry,” said The Human, and it got up from behind its desk and headed to the kitchen where from a pantry, it took a small packet of chocolate biscuits and brought them back to its desk. “I won’t tell if you won’t tell,” it said to the cat. They were obviously up to something. Peter would have to be quick. Who knows if he would ever get this chance again? He would have to jump and pray for some current of divine grace to carry him into the mouth of the feline – and from there, he could make its own way to its gut. Peter didn’t have a heart. He was a Gondii. Gondii’s didn’t have hearts. But if he did, it would be beating fast and loud enough to arouse suspicion. There was no time; he had to jump. “Family is everything,” he said, as he thought of his fallen brothers, and of his father, he who had given him the gift of life – one that he was unwilling to squander. But before he could even move, he was swept up by something thick and foul, and so terribly, terribly moist. Peter had no time to react. All he could do was hold his breath. The unimaginable had happened. He had been swept up onto the tongue of The Human. “This cannot be,” he screamed. “This twisted fate can’t be mine.” And on the tongue of The Human, he was taken by a wave of saliva that surged seemingly out of nowhere, and dragged him backwards over rows of jagged teeth, down The Human’s esophagus, and into its festering gut. “Fuck,” screamed Peter, for no other word seemed fit.


The Tourist The slippery slide down through The Human’s esophagus and stomach and towards its lower intestines was no easy ride. It was marked with fits of bitter struggle that were quickly met with bouts of dire uselessness and unprecedented depression. As his hope dissolved in a sea of bile and half-chewed Doritos, Peter could do nothing more than accept his woeful fate. His father’s voice echoed in his mind. He had indeed been led astray. It’s not to say that Peter was alone. The body of The Human was no barren place. But even though The Human’s intestines played host to an entire galaxy of microbes, parasites, and bacteria, for the first time in his entire life, Peter felt absolutely alone. The reception inside the lower intestines was loud and rapturous. It was merry one moment, and convulsive the next. There were as many raucous celebrations as there were fist fights and mournful apologies. It was a world of busyness and activity. It was one of prosperity and hard work. Any parasite would willingly make their home inside this Metropolis; no matter how brief their stay might be. Any parasite at all would have counted their blessings; and in summation, they would have counted themselves lucky. But not every parasite was a Gondii, and to the Gondii, only one thing mattered, one thing above all else, and that was family. Friends did not matter; nor did colleagues or acquaintances. If Peter could not have children, what point was there to existence? And he could have ended it right there. He could have walked the lonely mile and spent his last days in The Human’s rectum, pondering the futility of existence at the hands of circumstance and chance. He could have given up right then and there. And no-one could blame him, really. Any other Gondii would have done the same. What chance was there to now wind up in the gut of a cat? 11

But this was no ordinary Gondii. This was the runt of the litter; he of least potential. That alone meant that he had nothing to lose. And though he wasn’t a Todd or Tim or Tobias, he was still a Gondii, and if there was one thing that Gondii’s knew above one and above all, it was neurological engineering – or in short, how to hot-wire any living organisms brain. “I won’t be led astray,” he said; and then he set off towards The Human’s brain.


The Hitcher Travelling from the gut to brain, he might have had more luck circumnavigating the moon. But if there was one thing that Gondii’s did well, it was their manner of influence. And though he may have been the runt of his litter, with his gift of the gab, amongst microbes and cells, Peter was a king amongst men. “You don’t belong here,” said The Immune Cell, sequestering Peter. Though any other parasite would have lost their cool, Peter the Gondii was no ordinary fool. “Finally, and intelligent cell,” he said, flattering the guard. “I’ve an important message to be sent to the brain, were it lost in the gut, it’d all be in vain.” It’s safe to say The Immune Cell was somewhat suspicious. “Are you a parasite?” he said. “Nope,” replied Peter, as sharp as a knife. “Are you sure?” said The Immune Cell, showing why he is not easily fooled. “Yep,” said Peter, with nary a flinch. “Well alright then,” said The Immune Cell, sounding entirely convinced. And like a castle made out of sand, The Immune Cell’s suspicions were quickly eroded as Peter spoke, as an engineer might speak, about this important message for the brain. And it’s safe to say that The Immune Cell understood not a single word, but his pride and his ego were at stake, and so he nodded his head and agreed as if there was no time to wait. The Gondii was like no other; and Peter was no exception. “Where to?” said The Immune Cell. Peter’s nerves settled as he travelled the rest of the way, from the lowly old gut, to the mechanics and electrics of the brain. He readied himself and thought only of the task ahead – a momentous task indeed. 13

“Amygdala,” he said.


The Engineer The brain of The Human was enormous, much bigger than Peter had been prepared for – like an isle compared to a rat’s measly driftwood. And though by size alone, it seemed daunting and near impossible, at the end of the day, a brain was but a brain. And as complex as a device it was, Peter Gondii only needed a handful of tools to be able to manipulate The Human’s entire programming. And in a matter of weeks, he was up and running. It wasn’t the prettiest set-up, but then again, these weren’t exactly the most ideal conditions. He made the most out what he had on hand, considering he had to account for an unprecedented difference in scale. “What would father do?” he said to himself, humming and hawing over the impossibility of this task. “Got to get into the belly of cat. How do we get into the belly of a cat?” It was no secret that cats and humans got along. Though the feline was a bloodthirsty savage, it had, over the centuries, chosen not to eat humans as recourse for a life of spoil and worship at the piety of their lowly human slaves. How the hell was he going to get from A to B? “Think damnit,” he said, racking his brain. “There has to be a logical solution.” But there was no easy way to get from the belly of a human to the belly of a cat. The very least he could do, though, was his very best – even if that wasn’t good enough. So, without any idea in mind whatsoever, he got to work in The Human’s amygdala, pulling and twisting wires, cursing away as he did, hoping like hell for a spot of luck or a ridiculous roll of chance. “Here goes nothing,” he said. And he flicked the switch.


The Human Peter rode The Human’s amygdala like a flea on the back of giant whale. His excitement at first almost bordered on sheer lunacy. He grunted and snorted like some feral beast as The Human started to come under the effects of his delirious and misguided judgment. Were it any other Gondii, they would laid dormant and slept at the wheel instead of piloting such an immense vehicle as this. Were it any other Gondii, there would be no story to tell. But this wasn’t a Todd or Tom or Tobias – this was Peter Gondii. “Shouldn’t be long now,” said Peter, convincing himself more than anything. But there was no textbook for humans. There was no failsafe or second plan. Humans were just an encumbrance; nothing had ever been written about them for no-one had ever made it out alive. And at first it seemed that, against all odds, The Human was in fact becoming swayed by bouts of irrationality. It wasn’t anything bold or startling, but there was a tiny shift in indecision and compulsiveness that hadn’t been before. Were this a rat, already that beautiful and agile vehicle would be nose to the ground, enamoured by the scent of a feline’s ammoniac piss. This whole endeavour would be done in a matter of days – give or take a day or a couple of weeks. But The Human was neither sleek nor agile. Worse still was that this human in particular, had vices which saw its waking desires and impulses as some kind of a moral or spiritual test – a consequence and side effect of its cognition. “Dear Jesus,” said The Human. “Today I had an impure thought. I know you know what it was so I don’t have to say it out loud, but I’m really sorry if I caused you any offense. I didn’t mean it, and I think the devil must have slipped it in there, but I promise I’ll never have an impure thought again. P.S, thanks for the super awesome feedback on my abstract. Love you, Jesus. Bye.” 16

This was why very few Gondii had ever escaped a human. What was worse was the information that The Human consumed non-stop, day and night. It ate words and ideas, and swallowed graphs and statistics as if it were consciously and intellectually famished – as if it hadn’t read a word in weeks. This was not what Peter had heard about humans. They performed utilitarian functions, yes, but the outcome of each of those functions, like all mammals, was sexually driven. This is what should have made The Human at least partially manoeuvrable. But no, not this human. What terrible luck for Peter that The Human spent its days and nights entrenched in postgraduate study; while in its breaks between logic and reason, when it should have been drinking and horny, it prayed brazenly to its God, and played the triangle in a church band. This would not be easy.


The Epiphany “Somebody up there is looking out for you, lad.” It was The Human’s advisor. “If that drone hadn’t of been flying circling about, you would have been coyote meat. I hate to say it, but it’s a miracle your with us. You should count yourself lucky.” It said this even though The Human was bandaged from head to foot. “I come bearing good news. Your research is being published. Congratulations. I guess now it’s time to decide what you do now your doctorate has concluded. Have you given it any thought?” The Human was bruised and broken; covered in cuts and abrasions, and stitched together in a hundred places. It could, though, still whisper to its own content. “Africa,” said The Human, smiling as if it had seen a puppy with a bow tie. “Africa? With your complexion? You only go to the beach after seven. And you want to travel to Africa?” “Live in Africa,” said The Human. “I know it sounds… risky.” “Crazy is a better word. You can have your pick of any of the best teaching hospitals in this country, to pass your knowledge onto future generations, and instead you choose Africa?” “I spoke to Jesus,” it said. “Oh you did?” said The Advisor, checking The Human’s chart to see if it was lucid, or at the whim of a cocktail of opiates and sedatives. “And what did Jesus say?” “He told me I have to go to Africa – it’s my mission.”


The End It hadn’t been easy for Peter. His whole life had been a constant measure of suffering and heartache. Were his circumstance even slightly less intolerable, he might have been a god by now. But ingenuity was not the seed of supple fruit. It had to be dug out of the Earth - from beneath the desiccated roots of sick and diseased plants. It lay somewhere in the bedrock of disgust and dismay. Rarely had a Gondii ever dug so low. It was, ironically, with the aid of human science that Peter was able to conjure enough influence in The Human’s mind, to project all of its sexual desires away from hookers and hand jobs, to one of pious heroism. And though it went against every lick of advice, The Human indulged in this self-adulating desire and within a week of leaving the hospital, they were in Kenya. None of this had been planned, but that didn’t mean that Peter didn’t deserve any kind of acclaim. Life had handed him lemons and he had in turn, told life where to shove it. “Hi, welcome to our village,” said a human. “So very grateful to have you here.” The Human lapped up the attention and applause. It conversed for hours and had a thousand questions, but none of them were as significant as one question it asked on its third week in the village. “What is that?” it said, its attention being reined by Peter like some stubborn donkey or untrained horse. “That is a lioness,” said a young human. Peter pulled on a dozen cables and yanked on a half dozen more. He kicked and he screamed, and he gave it everything he had. It was now or never. “Come on, you son of a bitch,” he screamed. The Human stared out into the distance at the savage beast lying beneath and skeletal tree, looking famished and worn out by 19

the unrelenting heat. Any other human would have run in any other direction except for the direction that The Human was running. “Are you crazy, mister,” shouted the young human. Crazy was not the word, or maybe it was, but it wasn’t how The Human would describe it. As he ran across the dusty ground, all he could think of was the kitty cat he had left behind. How he missed her cuddles and their afternoon play. How he missed her scratches and adorable little bites. How he missed the world he had left behind. The lioness watched The Human running towards it and for the life of her, she couldn’t understand it. Were she a human, it would be like watching a hamburger or a bowl of spaghetti, jump onto a plate and wind itself around a set of utensils. “Family is everything,” said Peter, digging his heels in. And were he in the belly of a rat, it would not have taken anywhere near as long. But were he in the belly of a rat, he would have had nowhere near as interesting a story to tell his sons. And in less than an hour, The Human was devoured whole. Peter – not by chance, but by hard work and an unforgiving will – had somehow managed the impossible and gone from a human to the intestines of a cat. He celebrated by giving birth to a thousand sons, and as he sat by the pile of oocysts, he told them his tale a thousand times over. And he cared for each son as if it were his only son, just as he cared for them all. And as they entered the world on a mound of faeces, Peter Gondii finally took a moment to really reflect on what he had done. And in the end, though he would die without ever knowing, he hoped that his father would be proud of him.


Also by C. Sean McGee: A Rising Fall (CITY b00k 001) Utopian Circus (CITY b00k 011) Heaven is Full of Arseholes Coffee and Sugar Christine Rock Book Volume I: The Boy from the County Hell Rock Book Volume II: Dark Side of the Moon Alex and The Gruff (a tale of horror) The Terror{blist} The Anarchist Happy People Live Here The Time Traveler’s Wife Ineffable London When it Rains The Inscrutable Mr. Robot A Boy Called Stephany Alex and The Gruff: Dawn of the Bully Hunter

CSM Publishing ©2018 21

The Parasite  

A coming of age story about Pete, a Toxoplasma gondii, who wants nothing more than to follow his father's footsteps and make his home in the...

The Parasite  

A coming of age story about Pete, a Toxoplasma gondii, who wants nothing more than to follow his father's footsteps and make his home in the...