Ever bitten into an apple and found a half-eaten worm inside? Yeah, we’ve all heard the joke, but it’s not that great once it actually happens to you.
At first, you think ‘what the hell is that?’. Then you see it start to squirm. You feel the other half of the apple climb its way to the top of your throat. Your fingers turn to stone. Tears well in your eyes, tears that you want – that you need – to hide from them. Your heart begins to beat and the apple shakes in your fist, making the little sucker inside shake. And I’ll tell you now, it’s not a great feeling at all.
Next you look around to see the little creep that’s done this to you. The tears have dried up at last. Normally there’s only one of the ankle-bitters laughing their little heads off, but it’s even harder when there’s a group of them, splitting their side’s open on the ground. And they’re all against you.
If there’s a group of them, you hold them all in for detention – on a Saturday – and watch them hold back the tears and shame as they wander down the corridor in their uniform towards your classroom. After a long hour of schoolwork and blissful quietness, you tell them that they’ll have to come again next week if they don’t own up. Once you’ve played that card, one of the little ankle-bitters will own up. You might be on your own but you’ll feel bigger than all of them put together, larger than life.
What’s even worse than finding a half-eaten worm in your apple? The morning after. After about twenty trips to the bathroom you feel as bad as the worm itself. Your hips shake. Any meals tumble out as if they don’t belong there.
But what could be worse than that, you ask yourself? Surely it’s the end. Surely, even thought the chips were down, your back so far against the wall that you’ve left a dent, it’s the end. You’ve won. The days tumble into weeks, new wars are waged, the kids grow stronger. But what could really be worse than that?
Finding another worm the week later.