Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Heads Aren't Better Than One - #FridayFlash

My thesis was due in two days and I still hadn’t picked a suitable animal to study. I ran down the list of extinct animals, wondering which might pique my interest.

My finger landed on one that I hadn’t noticed before: the two-headed dragon. Funny that. Being a pragmatic sort, I hadn’t realized they’d ever existed at all, and yet the list clearly pointed out my error.

Setting my portable time machine to a date midway in their timeline, I traveled back to interview one. Traveling through time always gave me a sick stomach but I put on a brave face in the name of science.

What extraordinary luck. There, right in front of me was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen. The iridescent blues and greens of its scales shimmered as they marched up the sleek body, expanding into all shades of gold on two supple necks. One head was slightly darker than the other was. I wondered if that was significant.

It would have been an interesting question to ask but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. The rapid-fire conversation didn’t allow for a third party. After several minutes of endless argument, I grew restless. There was a blank thesis paper with my name on it back home.

“Excuse me. Might I cut in?”

They didn’t notice me, as I was quite a bit shorter than they were. I walked over to a front leg and climbed upon a knee. That got their attention.

“Who are you?” said one head.

“What are you?” said the other.

They argued amongst themselves as to which was the more relevant question. I whistled, which stopped them cold. Apparently, they don’t like sharp noises.

“I am here to interview you. Do you realize that soon you will be extinct?”

“How could that happen?”

“Why did that happen?”

I thought I already saw the problem. “What were you two arguing about when I arrived?”

“What to have for dinner.”

“Why we have to eat now.”

“How could one of you be hungry but the other one not? You share one body.” Most puzzling.

“Because we don’t share a stomach.”

“Because we have two stomachs.”

I tried to look them both in the eye from my perch on their knee while I thought.

“If you each have your own stomach, then why don’t you each eat when you want?”

I was met with stunned silence, perhaps the first time they’d experienced that. Maybe they each only had half a brain, but I didn’t mention that out of politeness.

“Why, what a grand idea.”

“Why, that’s a perfect idea.”

I said my goodbyes and traveled back home. After glancing out my window, however, I realized I’d changed the timeline. Two-headed dragons jostled for space amongst the people going to and fro, still arguing with each other.

Sighing, I picked up the list to find another extinct animal for my thesis.

©2009 Laura Eno


My inspiration for this story came from the last two comments on this post, over at Miscellaneous Yammering. I originally said 'fuck off' and her library circle complained, so she asked me to re-post. I had to dip into my dwindling bucket of stars to comply.