Monday, February 9, 2009

Apoptosis Now?

Scene: The author's oral cavity. Players: two cancer cells waging war on healthy cells on the author's tongue tissue.

Cancer Cell No. 1: Whatcha doin', Sarge?

Cancer Cell No. 2: (in an exasperated tone) What does it look like I'm doing, soldier?! I'm clobbering healthy cells, and eliminating them by apoptosis. (Pause) Somebody has to pick up the slack in this unit. C'mon, git fighting, soldier!

Cancer Cell No. 1: Oh, right. (gently pokes a healthy cell with a finger) Say, why are we beating up on these cells, again?

Cancer Cell No. 2: Marone! So we can take over this tissue and metastasize! (rolling eyes) Didn't they teach you anything in boot camp? (muttering to himself) Why do I get stuck with all of the nitwit neoplasms?

Cancer Cell No. 1: Gee, I'm sorry, Sarge. I'm just not as aggressive as the other cells. Maybe I'm meant to play a different role in this operation. Like, maybe I'm supposed to be the morale-builder in our unit.

Cancer Cell No. 2 (wrestles a healthy cell to the ground and pummels it senseless) I can't hear you, soldier.

Cancer Cell No 1: (smiles broadly, then raises voice) I got one for you, Sarge: Knock, knock!

Cancer Cell No. 2
: (with a heavy sigh) Who's there?

Cancer Cell No. 1: Got two!

Cancer Cell No. 2: Got two, who?

Cancer Cell No. 1: Got tumor in my tongue, what's your excuse?! (rolling on the surface of the tongue, laughing uncontrollably)

Cancer Cell No. 2: Cut the clowning. That conduct is highly unbecoming for a cancer cell in active engagement with the enemy. We gotta kick these healthy cells' asses if we ever intend to claim the tongue for our side and move on.

Cancer Cell No. 1: (eyes widen) Move on?

Cancer Cell No. 2: Yeah. I got ambitions for our unit. I've been reading up on what part of the body we should hit next. Here, take a look at these brochures.

Cancer Cell No. 1: (opens top brochure in a stack) Oh, I've heard of this place: "Cologne." Isn't it on the Rhine?

Cancer Cell No. 2: (sobbing) That says Colon, not Cologne, you limp node! And, no, I'm not sending our unit there. The colon is a disgusting place, even for cancer cells.

QUICK CUT TO: interior shot of the author's colon, then back to the tongue.

Cancer Cell No. 1: (holding up brochure) OK. How about this Cervix place?

Cancer Cell No. 2: Oh, gimme that. I grabbed the wrong brochure down at headquarters. The cervix is not an option for us. Here, check out Prostate.

Cancer Cell No. 1: Oooooh, nice!

Cancer Cell No. 2: The prostate is a bit of a schlep from here, but it's small and easily conquerable if we put our minds to it. And from the prostate we can divide into separate fronts and march in different directions, like – (sniffs) say, soldier, do you smell something?

Cancer Cell No. 1: I do, Sarge. I meant to mention that an hour ago.

Cancer Cell No. 2: Uh oh. (sniffs again as a worried expression comes to his face) I hope it's not chemo.

Cancer Cell No. 1: (eyes widen) Keno! I love Keno! Let's play! I'm tired from all of this fighting.

Cancer Cell No. 2: I said chemo. (flipping through a manual) Yeah, it's chemo, all right. Intravenous carboplatin. Lethal stuff. It's wiped out billions of cells like us. And it's completely sanctioned by the Hague Conventions.

Cancer Cell No. 1: Wiped out? Hague Conventions? What are you saying, Sarge?

Cancer Cell No. 2: I'm saying that this guy called in the heavy artillery today. He's putting up a fight! That means we gotta work double time, triple time, quadruple time in order to . . . (beads of sweat form on his forehead)

Cancer Cell No. 1: (also sweating) W-why is it g-getting so h-h-hot in here all of a sudden, Sarge?

Cancer Cell No. 2: Radiation therapy. Man, he isn't pussyfootin' around. We're getting a real one-two punch here. It's going to get pretty nasty for us. We've had a real field day wreaking havoc on this tongue, but this (places one hand under his vest) . . . this could be Waterloo.

Cancer Cell No. 1: D-does this mean that I'm never going to get to see to the Prostate? T-that I'm not going to m-metastasize? And be a hero?

Cancer Cell No. 2: (shaking head) Keep that white flag handy, soldier. You may need it.

Come back later this week to find out how my first day of chemotherapy and radiation therapy went.

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