The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Weird Allergy
by Joseph Szalinski

Hives began to consume the body of Clarice, her typically clear skin had become infested with red, itchy splotches. Her teacher kept talking, on and on. No matter how much she tried to distract herself with memories and entertaining thoughts, her subconscious wouldn’t let her forget that name: James K. Polk.

Oh, what poison it was for her! She detested that name more than anything else. Not to mention that it was an affliction which was unknown and unaccepted. Her friends thought she was a lunatic, her parents thought she was on drugs, and her hope was dwindling.

It began, innocently enough, when she was a young girl. Her parents had tasked her with remembering and reciting the presidents, in order. She breezed through the first few with relative ease. That is, until she got to Polk. “Please,” she’d beg, “let me name the others.”

But her parents would not let her continue until they heard the name, James K. Polk.

Her tongue would swell, her body would start shaking, and she would even lose consciousness. “She’s just stupid, or stubborn,” her parents would argue.

Clarice was sent to a speech therapist, but to no avail. The problem persisted. Subsequently, she was forced to seek further help, with similar results. Her parents were puzzled but ultimately out of options. With little left to do, they gave up and things got better for a while. Every now and again, in some history class, with the mention of his name, either verbally or in writing, she would begin to feel uneasy. Pictures of the man made her dizzy, while simply studying his accomplishments made her vomit.

Pencils stuck to her sweaty palms as she anxiously waited for class to finish. Her fidgety feet began to treat the floor as a percussive instrument of torture, annoying everyone within earshot. “Clarice,” Ms. Whittingstone chimed, “since you seemed to be so enthralled by the material, why don’t I assign your project first? I’ll have you give a presentation on James K. Polk, how does that sound?”