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Earthworm and a zombie

Gary wolfed down his food silently at the dinner table. He pushed a piece of meat in his mouth and chewed intensely.

“You must be having a good time with your new video game,” his father said, trying to draw him into a conversation.

“Ummmmm,” was all Gary could respond. His every thought seemed to center on his favorite sport.

“Are you winning the games yet?” his mother asked.

“Some,” Gary replied. He ate all the food in his plate and was in a hurry to get back to the TV room.

“Well,” his father said, “enjoy the good things that you have, son. You don't have to be so tense the way you are.”

Gary did not seem to be listening. He was too excited to play the video game.

“Come on out here, Gary,” his mother yelled a few hours later. “Harold and Sally are here.” Gary recognized the names. They were children of family friends who came to visit once in a while. Instead of running outside, Gary felt his body tense up. He hated being disturbed while playing the video game. Besides, talking to people wasn't one of his favorite pastimes.

“We're going out into the nearby park,” his mother called out again.

“Come on, Gary, Mom has got some chips and stuff for us,” his sister added. Gary didn't budge. He zapped a few more characters on the TV screen and pretended not to hear anything.

Few minutes later, Gary heard footsteps approaching the room. His mother slid onto the couch next to Gary, followed by his sister.

“You coming out?” his mother asked gently.

“I don't know,” Gary barely grunted.

“Harold and Sally are anxious to see you,” his sister explained.

“I guess I just like to be alone,” Gary answered.

“But it isn't smart to be alone too much,” his mother argued. “Sometimes we have to push ourselves extra hard to be with people. Otherwise we sink underground like earthworms.”

“And sometimes being stuck in that video game is turning you into a zombie,” his sister chirped.

“Earthworm and a zombie? That's gross!” Gary understood what they meant and felt quite guilty about it. He almost huffed but decided they were right. “Okay, guys, you win.” Gary stood up and shut off the TV screen.

“What kind of chips do you have, Mom?” Gary grinned and started chasing his sister toward the door. Their giggles faded into smiles as they greeted their friends and headed to the park.

Arts | Fiction | Short Stories


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