Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Around the World in Five Sneezes

                                Around the World in Five Sneezes
                                                       By Valerie L. Egar

            Luke did not feel well. In fact, he felt perfectly awful. His throat was sandpaper. He felt too hot under a blanket, but shivery without a blanket. His nose was runny.  When he coughed, he sounded like the neighbor’s St. Bernard.
            Settled on the sofa in the den, Luke could see blue skies outside. It was the nicest spring day since the snow melted. He wanted to be outside playing, but he had a cold. “You can’t go outside until you’re better,” Mom said as she poured another dose of icky tasting cough medicine in a little cup.
            “I thought this was supposed to taste like grapes,” Luke complained.
            “That what the doctor said.”
            “It doesn’t!”
            Luke was bored.  All the TV cartoons were reruns. He’d seen all the movies on the Kids Channel hundreds of times.  No matter how much he begged, the family’s corgi, Belle, preferred following his mother around the house instead of staying with him. 
            “I wish I wasn’t sick, stuck on this stupid sofa!” Just then, Luke sneezed, a great big explosion of a sneeze. “KERCHOO!”
           Everyone closes their eyes when they sneeze and when Luke opened his, he wasn’t on the sofa anymore. He was standing on a white sand beach. Tall palm trees rustled in a light breeze. High waves rushed towards shore and he saw several surfers riding the waves.
            “Hey, want to try?” a tanned teenager asked Luke.
            Luke waded into the water. All of a sudden, he sneezed. “KERCHOO!”
            Luke opened his eyes found himself on a baseball diamond in the middle of a game. Not just any game— the last game in the World Series.  The stadium was filled to capacity. Luke looked at the scoreboard: seventh inning and the score was tied at 5-5.  Bases were loaded with two outs.
            “Get your glove, kid. You’re playing third base.”
            “Me?” It was an awful lot of pressure for his first professional game. Luke slipped on a glove, but it felt too big. The pitcher wound up to pitch and everyone heard a loud “KERCHOO!”
            Kangaroos? Koala bears? “Am I in Australia? “ Luke wondered. He didn’t wonder long.
            “Howdy, mate!”
            The man guided Luke to a eucalyptus tree and Luke pet a shy koala bear.  Luke was surprised by the size of the kangaroos and even more surprised by the ostriches which weren’t exactly friendly.  He turned his back and heard the thump, thump, thump of something running towards him. The ostrich!
          Never had a sneeze been so well timed. Luke opened his eyes and the Great Pyramid of Egypt stood before him. Ever since he’d read about the pyramids, Luke wanted to see them. He stood, awed by their magnificence.
            “Perhaps you would like a boat ride along the Nile?”
            “Oh yes, please!”
            Luke followed the man to the water’s edge. The boat looked small to Luke and on the far bank, he saw a huge crocodile. As Luke got into the boat, the crocodile slipped into the water and started swimming towards the boat.
            “I’m not sure this is a good idea,” Luke started to say as the croc drew closer.
            Luke stood at the counter in his favorite ice cream shop.  “At least I’m getting closer to home,” he thought.  He wanted a cone, but with over 100 flavors to choose from, the decision was hard. He was just about to say, “Triple dip, black cherry, chocolate raspberry and coconut,” when his mother appeared.
            “Not before dinner!”
            Luke was surprised. “How did you get here?”
            “I sneezed,” she said.  “I must have caught your cold.”
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Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be reproduced, distributed or copied without permission from the author.
Published April 20, 2019 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).


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