Spikey the Werm kind of enjoyed the little girl’s sweater pocket. He didn’t know what the Power Drill thought of riding on her belt, but safe and warm and swinging just a little bit inside this soft pocket was quite a treat for him. He didn’t realize how tired all that creeping and carrying had made him. Soon he was asleep, and snoring so loud that the little girl had to check on him, to make sure he wasn’t sick or something.
Did you know that worms can’t dream? They can’t dream because they don’t have a big enough brain. And they don’t have a big enough brain because the only eat mud. Mud is good for growing wood and weeds and worms, but not brains. That is also why wood and weeds and worms do not have any good conversations, because they eat mud and don’t have big enough brains. But Spikey, he had dreams and conversations and even a sizable brain. He had all these things, but he didn’t know why.
Anyhow, as Spikey swung and slept in the sweater pocket of the little girl, he had a fabulous dream. It was a truly wonderful dream. It was a dream about man who wanted to build something, something strange and powerful. It was an interesting dream, and Spikey remembered it for a long time after he woke up.
Once upon a dream, there was a strong man who had a very sharp face and a very smart head. His face was so sharp that he could cut stone just by looking at it; and his head was so smart that he could always think of the prettiest things in the world to make. So, after he grew up and stopped being lazy all the time, he became a sculptor. He made sculptures out of stone and he sold them to the most powerful people in the land. He sold his sculptures at very expensive prices, because the most powerful people in the land only liked to buy very expensive items. And because the man with the sharp face was so good at making sculptures, after a couple of years he was very, very rich.
He became so rich that he didn’t need to eat anymore. And because he didn’t need to eat, he didn’t need to work or think or do anything at all. He didn’t even need to make sculptures anymore. That is how rich he was.
He was so rich that he became bored, and when he became, he became lazy again, and after he became lazy for the second time, he didn’t do anything at all but sit in his hammock and swing in the wind like a balloon caught in a tree branch, only upside down.
That is what he did: swing back and forth all day long, but in the middle of the night, for no reason at all, he would get up from his hammock and take a long, long walk.
Well, one night, his walk became so long that he couldn’t get back to his hammock. So he kept walking. He walked and he walked and he walked. And after so much walking, be began to have thoughts again. He began to have some very strange thoughts; thoughts that are a little too strange to explain. But they were mostly about making something. The man began to have thoughts about making something so great and so beautiful that everyone, in every single Where there was, would define beauty by what he built, so that every time someone thought about beauty, first they would think about his creation. His creation would be the definition of beauty.
After four or five days and nights of walking and thinking these strange thoughts, the man with the sharp face stopped, in the middle of the road. He looked down at the road and he thought “This is quite a long road!” Then he looked to his right, and he saw a little brook, and on the other side of the brook he saw a field full of poppies. And past the field of poppies he saw a forest of blue trees. Then the man shrugged, and he walked to the forest.
The forest was very, very quiet. I was so quiet that he lost himself inside it. He didn’t get lost, he lost himself. That is, the forest was so quiet that it sort of sponged him up, and absorbed him into its quietness so that he didn’t feel himself all in one place, like he usually did. Rather, he felt himself spread out all over the place, and so he got down on his hands and knees and started to creep around the forest like he was another forest animal, just another beast in the wild lands.
After a while of creeping around, he found a thicket. He crawled into the thicket and he took a nap, and in his nap he had a wonderful dream. It was a dream about the beginning of time.
In the beginning, there was the fist. It was a sizable fist and it was curled into itself so tightly that nothing could come out of it and nothing could go into it and nothing but the darkness all around it could touch it without breaking all apart.
The fist was strong and terrible but at the same time it was wonderful. After all, it was the first thing to appear in the darkness, and so it had to be there for a good reason.
Then something fell out of the fist, into the darkness. Clouds of smoke fell from the fist, and they swirled out into the darkness and scattered all over the space of the darkness like clouds just before the rain. After the clouds had gone out into the darkness, then little grains of sand fell from the fist, and these grains of sand fell through the darkness, and fell into the clouds, and inside the clouds they smashed into one another and made loud booms and terrible sparks thicker than lightning and thunder.
Then more and more grains of sand fell into the darkness, and when they entered the clouds, they were melted together into tremendous panes of glass. And these panes of glass fell down, down, down through the darkness until they came to the world, which was all covered by a great churning sea. And when the panes of glass met the churning sea, they shattered into millions of tiny slivers, and fell down to the bottom of the sea.
A hundred and then a hundred thousand panes of glass smashed against the sea and floated to the bottom until, after many, many years, a small hill made all of glass slivers poked its head out of the water, and became the first piece of land, ever.
And when this first hill sprouted from the deep wild sea, a flake of skin fell from the fist-at-the-beginning and drifted through the darkness, and twisted through the stormy clouds, until it came to rest on the first hill. And when a splash of water landed on the flake of skin, it turned into a man. And because he was the first man, his name was Adam, which means “man”.
After a while of laying on top of the hill, Adam the man crawled down the side of the hill where the great sea crashed against it. He touched the sea with his lips, and then he began to drink from the sea. As he drank, he began to grow stronger and stronger until he could stand up on his own two feet.
And when the first man stood up on his feet, the man with the sharp face stood up, too, and he was suddenly wide awake, and he was full of fear, because he could feel something coming for him. So the man with the sharp face shook off his dream, and he crawled out of the thicket, and he began to slowly, quietly creep through the forest, looking for what was looking for him.
After a while, he found a clearing in the forest, and he stood up very tall, and he walked out into the clearing, looking all around himself for signs of trouble. But there was nothing. The clearing was empty.
And then suddenly, something jumped on him, and that’s when Spikey the Werm woke up.
When Spikey woke up, he was no longer rocking in the soft enclosure of the little girl’s sweater pocket. Rather, he was lying on a mossy stone that was just warm and damp enough to be comfortable. He squinted open a couple of his eyes, and took a look around the room. The dream was still fresh in his mind, and he wanted to think about it before it disappeared, but he knew that he needed to take a look around first, to make sure he wasn’t in any danger.
He found himself in a dark space with curved walls, like a cave. “Yes,” he thought, “this must be a cave. I am in a dark cave deep in the dark earth where there are more stones than mud. I kinda like it here, even if it I am all alone.”
So, feeling he was safe, he went on to tell the dream to himself, so he could remember it with words whenever he decided to share it with someone else. When he was done telling himself the story of his dream, he cracked all his toes, from the bottom to the top of his wormy form, and slid from the stone, landing softly on the thick carpeting of the cave floor.
“A carpet in a cave? How peculiar,” he said aloud.
“There are many peculiar things down here,” answered a familiar voice.
“P.D., is that you?”
“It is I,” said the Power Drill.
Spikey the Werm looked over the ceiling of the cave once more.
“Goodness me!” he exclaimed.
“Yes. They have scrapped me.”
Spikey saw above him, partially hidden by cracks and shadows, various pieces of metal which, if added all together, looked a lot like the Power Drill.
“Who did this to you?” asked Spikey.
“I don’t know. Ask her.”
“Yes. Go ask her—sneaky fiend that she is! Blasted untrustable human!!”
“Hey, dude,” conjoled Spikey, “Don’t bust a nut, I’m sure there’s a good explanation—“
“You fail to realize that MY NUTS ARE ALREADY BUSTED!!!”
Spikey then decided not to talk to the Power Drill for the time being, as the poor busted guy was obviously upset, and didn’t want to be pleasant. "Better to let him cool off", thought Spikey, "and in the meanwhile, I’m kinda hungry, so I’ll go searching for a digestive biscuit."
Spikey searched around the cave a bit, until he came to a crack just big enough to squeeze himself through. He wormed his way through the crack, until he came upon a soft patch of glowing mud. “Yum yum,” he whispered to himself, and began eating up the gleaming sediment.
Halfway through his meal, Spikey felt a little shiver crawl up his slimy spine, and he knew that something terrible or just plain weird was about to happen. He began to eat as quickly as he could, because he didn’t know when he’d eat again.
“Whoa-ho-ho!” laughed a deep voice that was so deep and loud that the ground beneath Spikey’s toes shivered. “I think that pig-muffin-brain isn’t all that brainy after all! Whoa-ho-ho!”
“Well, sometimes the smarties act a little stupid to trick creatures like us,” answered another deep voice that was very smooth, and not as loud, but still sounded like it came from a creature that had awesome amounts of power.
“That is a good point, my yellow-eyed beauty queen.”
“I’m not a queen. You’re the queen. Now tell me about the little girl.”
“Oh, she’s so cute and cuddly she makes me wish I had teeth. Nice, long sharp teeth. So I could eat her bit by pretty bit, instead of all in one gulp.”
“Just tell me how she’s doing, Banana Mama. We don’t want her to get sick down here. Just think, if she caught a cold, and then pneumonia, we wouldn’t be able to do a thing! We need her healthy. We need her fresh.”
“She is very fresh. And brave. And naive. I want to eat her.”
“Well you can’t. Now bring me the werm!”
“They must mean me!” thought Spikey frantically. He didn’t know what to do. At first, he thought it would be best to find where the voices were coming from, and rush in on them. That way, he’d have the element of surprise on his side. But after a moment he reconsidered. He didn’t know who this “Yellow eyed not-a-beauty-queen” and “Banana Mama” were, and he didn’t know what they intended to do with him. In fact, he didn’t even know for certain they were talking about him. After all, there are millions of worms in the world, and Spikey was just one of them, so the odds were millions to one they weren’t talking about him.
But he knew they were talking about him. He knew they could be talking about no other werm. It was Spikey they wanted, and he needed to be ready for them.
But first, he had to get back to the cave, which proved to be only a small problem, as he, like many of his species, left slimy trails where ever he went. All Spikey had to do was follow his trail of slime back the way he came. It was like having your own treasure map trailing out of your bottom. Or a like radar. Kind of.
It was times like these that Spikey actually appreciated being an invertebrate. He made it to the cave with little to-do.
“Spikey! Oh, Spikey!” shouted the exhausted voice of the Power Drill. “Where have you been? Why did you leave me all alone? I’m cold and I’m taken apart and I think I’m already rusting!”
“Don’t you worry about that,” answered Spikey, who was doing his best not to be annoyed by the whiney voice of the Power Drill. “Just pretend you have the ability to whirl around and shove tacks into concrete or whatever it is you do best.”
“I drill holes! That is what I do! Drilling holes what I do best!”
“Then dream of drilling holes, my friend, and everything bad will fade away, even if just for a little while.”
“But—But I don’t have any power! How am I supposed to drill holes if I don’t have any power?”
“Who needs power, you freak? Use your imagination!”
“But I’m a power tool, Spikey, not a television set! I don’t have an imagination! I only have utility!”
“A major pain is what you have, dude!” Shouted Spikey. “C’mon, P.D., you seriously need to get a grip. If somebody took you all apart, and you’re still able to whine and moan and scream and complain, then eventually somebody will be able to put you back together, okay? I suggest you enjoy yourself, and explore this new predicament you are in. I’ll bet you anything its not going to last!”
Spikey was just about to roll his eyes when the whole cave rumbled with a familiar voice.
“Whao-ho-ho! WhOA-hO-hO!! Ho-hOA!! Spikey the Werm, I’m commin to get’cha!”
Thinking quick, Spikey began to yell frightfully and thrash about, as if he were in a panic. Fortunately, our favorite werm was a true master of fake hysterics, and by the time the great big creature with the rumbling voice entered the cave, Spikey was in such a sorry state that he knew this mystery monster would be satisfied with itself, and not try any unnecessary funny stuff.
“No! No! NOOO!” Spikey screamed like a weasel. “Don’t hurt me, I don’t want to be hurt! No! I’m scared of you! Somebody HELP ME!!!”
“Whoa-HO! Spikey the Werm is so scared and frightened! Oh, poor little werm, poor little werm indeed! Ho-harr! Come to Banana Mama! She will take you to a munch munch worse place!”
“Oh no! No!”
“Hey you, you meanie!” piped in the Power Drill. “You let go of my friend right this second! He was giving me advice and you interrupted us! Who cares about your scary places anyway? Who cares about your deplorable monster antics! Put him down before I do something that you might not appreciate! You heard me! PUT THE WERM DOWN AND BACK AWAY, you long slimy pulsing yellow… thing!”
“I am not a thing,” growled the long slimy pulsing yellow creature.
“Hey P.D., put a lid on it, will ya?” Spikey hissed.
“Then what are you?” asked the disassembled drill.
“I… AM… BANANA MAMA! I… AM… THE MOTHER SLUG!”
“Oh,” said the Power Drill, suddenly feeling foolish. “I, uh… I didn’t realize you were the —“
“Yes. I am the Banana Mama, terror of the Purple Forest, Mother of all slugs, yellow or brown, short or long, herbivore or carnivore. I am the Yellow Giant, the Gooey Annihilator, and I will not be spoken to in that tone by a measly bunch of spare parts in my own antechamber!”
“I apologize, Banana Mama! I’m sorry!” squealed the Power Drill. “Truly, I thought you were a fake—“
“I mean, I didn’t realize… I didn’t know! I swear!”
“You what? You smear? Why, what a good idea! That is exactly what you deserve! A nice goopy smear all over your tender metal parts!”
Now, it was the Power Drill’s turn to act like a coward, and Spikey was certain that the Drill wasn’t faking his fear one bit. Spikey cringed as the Drill wailed and screamed so loudly that the rocks of the cave began to crack, and Spikey’s eyes began to tear over. If Spikey had a head, it would certainly be having a splitting headache about now. It was all Spikey could do to not faint as he watched Banana Mama stick out a long, stringy eye ball and spurt gobs shiny goop all over the Power Drill’s parts, covering him until he couldn’t make a sound.
“He he ho whoa!” laughed Banana Mama. “Let’s see him complain about that!”
“At least he won’t be making any noise for the time being,” said Spikey aloud.
“Oh you think? You really think that? Well listen here, Spikey the wiggly Werm, I don’t care what you think! I don’t care at all! Actually, I don’t want to hear what you think! All I want is for you to be quiet and follow me!”
Spikey didn’t know if he was supposed to cower or just follow. But what really bothered him was how his stomach felt. It was like somebody had stuffed him full of little blue ants that were glowing and crawling and even flying around inside him. He knew it had to be the gleaming sediment he ate. Oh well, he shrugged to himself. At least I don’t need to worry, now that my fate is sealed.
But really, he was lying to himself. He was quite upset, and afraid for himself very much, only, having a stomach full of electric dancing ants made him feel more distracted than usual.
As Spikey followed Banana Mama through the dark and drippy caverns of the carpeted cave, he was very thoughtful. Never before had he been in such a predicament. He was excited and scared and also quite amused. He wondered how he could have spent so much time on that muddy hill, just rolling around in the mud with the other grubs. Wasn’t that such a boring life, compared to this? All his old friends were probably still happy with their little games, but he, he had found danger, he had found something worth worrying about. He had found a mystery.
And what was the mystery? It was this: Why was he here? Who was Banana Mama and that other fearsome chap she was taking him to? Why did they want to talk to him? Why had they disassembled the Power Drill? (Well, he admitted, there were many good reasons for doing that.) But why had they spoken of the little girl, about wanting her healthy and fresh? And why in the world had that little girl been in such a rush? And, most important of all, how did any of this have to do with his Quest for Juicey Pig Muffin?
All of these questions pointed to something mysterious, something rich with a mystery flavor, and Spikey the Werm gave himself a little smile as he wondered what in Uncle Tom’s Pajamas was going on.
The cavern took a sharp left, then a sharp right, then it went almost straight down for about ten feet. Spikey almost tripped at that point, but luckily he was so close to the ground to begin with that he caught himself just in time. When he looked up he saw not far away a shinning light. Banana Mama was no where to be seen.
“Hello?” he whispered, trying to sound both brave and polite.
“Um— hello?” he repeated, but there was no answer. He inched his way towards the light and looked all around himself for signs of sneaky activities. There was nothing to see but the light up ahead. He made his way forward, until he had no choice but to creep into the light by himself.
“Hello?” he said one more time. He found himself in a square room, with a great big lamp in the middle of it, pouring a nice yellow light all over the place. It was a very cozy room, but still, Spikey couldn’t relax.
“Geez! I need to take a pill!” he said to himself. But then he remembered the glowing blue ants in his belly, and he thought “Now, what happens to me if these ants are poisonous? What should I do then? I probably shouldn’t think about it, but still… my tummy aches.”
“I guess that means no pills for me,” he said out loud. “Why would I want a pill anyway?” and then he smiled, “When I have a muscle!”
So Spikey the Werm stretched out his toes, and he took a big breath, and then he distended his muscle.
“Hey, hold on!” said Spikey. “What the heck do you mean by this ‘distended’ malarky? All I’m doing is making it stick out as far as I it will go.”
Well, whatever it was he did to his muscle, in no time at all, it was sticking out like the great secret weapon it was.
“So, my dear muscle,” said Spikey, “What shall we do first? Should we swing from the chandelier, or should we punch a hole in the wall?”
“Whatever you want, boss,” replied the muscle, who had a very nice voice. “I am at your service.”
“Hmm… then let me think… my belly hurts. Can you do anything about that?”
“Why don’t you just throw up?”
“Because I don’t want to throw up! Throwing up is nasty business! And I don’t have any breath mints or toothpaste to clean out my mouth when I’m done! No, I need a different sort of remedy.”
“You could turn off the light,” suggested the muscle.
“There’s an idea. Why don’t we turn off the light?”
So Spikey lifted his muscle in the air and turned off the light. The room became very dark. It was so dark that Spikey the Werm could see into his own belly and watch the crazy blue ants dancing around inside him.
“Would you look at that!” exclaimed Spikey, “I think I’m gonna have a baby!”
“Congratulations,” said the muscle.
“A baby all my own! How cool is that?”
“Too cool for words,” said the muscle.
Spikey smiled. This was very good news for him. He had never once thought about wanting a baby, but now that it was going to happen, it seemed like a great idea.
“Wow…” he sighed, feeling very pleased with himself. “But… it is very dark in here.”
“So turn on the light.”
“Why don’t you turn on the light?”
“I can’t find the light switch.”
“Goodness me in many parts! Why did you tell me to turn the light off in the first place? Now it’s so dark in here that there’s nothing to see but my glowing pregnant belly!”
“I don’t know, I don’t know. But I’m hungry,” said the muscle in a pleasant conversational tone. “And anyway,” it continued, “how do you expect to support a muscle and a baby by yourself all alone in the dark cavernous stomach of a giant yellow slug?”
“What’s all this about a dark carnivorous stomach? I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
But then Spikey thought about it, about how that slimy Banana Mama had disappeared without a trace, and how it was just like a monster slug of that sort to swallow someone without warning. He shivered as he realized he was being digested.
“This is weird!” he said out loud. “I’m pregnant and I’m also eaten! I’ve never been either of those before, and now I’m both at the same time! I wonder what that means?”
“It means you’re royally in a deep dish without a paddle, Spikey. We’re doomed.”
“Well, you certainly sound calm about it! What, you don’t care about us? You don’t care about me and my baby and even yourself?”
“What’s the sense of getting all tied up over it? If the situation’s helpless, then its helpless. I don’t see why I need to act upset if deep down I am upset, but would rather be polite to you and make out as if everything is going to be okay. Somehow.”
“That’s a good point, my trusty muscle. That’s a good point, but still…”
Spikey slumped to the floor. If he hadn’t been absolutely terrified before, then he was now.