Physiological Projectiles

 Here is a brief story I wrote during high school, no doubt after studying a good deal of biology. The story, though fictional, is based heavily on personal experience. Draw your own conclusions…

            Jim Peavey knew that his body must be releasing melatonin as he lay spread-eagled on his bed.  The result of constant trips into the world of biology and physiology, Jim had discovered how the pineal body—an organ at the center of the human brain—begins secreting a hormone called melatonin when the body’s photoreceptors (a fancy term for eyeballs) sensed darkness.  Melatonin, Jim knew, helped the body get to sleep—the most significant of its many poorly comprehended functions.  Actually, Jim thought it quite odd that scientists knew so little about the pineal body.

You see, any organ which controlled somnolence was an extremely important organ to Jim.  While hardly a narcoleptic, Jim was a heavy sleeper.  He could remember one night when he was twelve in particular.  Actually, he didn’t remember the night itself because he wasn’t awake.  Rather, he remembered the aftermath.  But first, a little explanation is in order.

Jim slept in a small bedroom with his older brother Timothy (Why Timothy never received a nickname, Jim could never understand).  Each curled up in his own twin-sized bed every night and went to sleep.

Only on this particular night, Timothy puked.  Or engaged in what Jim affectionately called “reverse peristalsis.” Timothy, in between chokes, gasps, and heaving, screamed to his brother Jim for help.  Jim never woke up, later concluding that his pineal body had been especially active that night.  And so Timothy eventually was forced to go and get his parents for help.  Jim never batted an eyelash (because he was asleep).

The next morning, Timothy confronted Jim about this lack of response.

“It’s all your silly fault,” said Timothy.

Jim thought this most unjust.  What could he have done anyway?  Attempt to mop up some of the gastric juice?  Put a hand over Timothy’s mouth to stifle the flow?  Jim chuckled at this thought.

“You think it’s funny?” snapped Timothy.

Jim shook his head vigorously, “No. Not funny at all.”

Timothy blamed Jim.  Jim blamed his pineal body.  And that was the end of it.

Jim rolled over in bed and succumbed to the melatonin coursing through his body.