“Hey,” complained George from the puddle in which he had been deposited. “What’s the meaning of this?”
“Sorry,” said the leg, sounding contrite. “Wasn’t my idea. Just following the message.”
“What message?” demanded George, heaving himself up using a passing old-age pensioner for purchase. “Actually, never mind! I’m going to be late as it is!”
George had just made it to his office, when his arms spasmed outwards, lodging him in the doorway.
“Ow!” said George. “You know, this really is most tiresome!”
“Sorry,” muttered his arms. “We wouldn’t have done it, only the message really was
“Insistent, was it!” growled George through gritted teeth. “Well, I’ve no time for it! Can’t you see I’m late?”
George did a Very Important Job. Everyone said so. He earned ever so much money, and drove a fancy car.
George was sitting in his office crunching numbers, when his gut leapt out through his mouth and tied itself in a knot.
“Can’t you see I’m working here?” shouted George, in an angry (if rather muffled) voice.
“I’m very sorry,” said his small intestine, words dripping regret. “But the message really is most insistent.”
George sighed heavily. He could see he was going to get nowhere today without listening to his damned body, no matter how busy he was.
“Well?” he snapped. “What’s the message?”
“It’s more of a beacon, really,” said his caecum, in a rich, oily voice.
“A beacon? What do you mean?” said George tersely.
“A distress beacon,” put in his colon, helpfully. “Can’t you hear it? The whole body is ringing with it.”
“I don’t have time for such nonsense!” snapped George. “Can’t you see I’m a Very Important Person? I do a Very Important Job,” he added, reproachfully.
“Well...that’s sort of the problem,” said his appendix, in a shrill, worried voice. “The thing is...you’re miserable.”
“Miserable?” said George, genuinely perplexed. “I’m not! I’m a Very Important...”
“Person, yes we know, love,” Said the antrum of his stomach, not unkindly. “But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re unhappy.”
“But...but look at my clothes! Look at my car!” protested George. “Aren’t they fine? And see at the way people look at me? They all know I’m Important!”
“Look mate,” chipped in his right elbow, who had been listening to the conversation unfold with increasing frustration, “Can’t you see that none of that actually MATTERS? You’re not bloody happy!”
George looked blankly from his duodenum to his rectum and back again. A strange feeling was starting to overtake him, an odd, uncomfortable, unsettled feeling, a feeling he had not let himself feel for so long he had almost forgotten how it felt.
It was sadness.
“Not...not actually happy?” he echoed weakly.
“Not at all,” said his liver. “Not for the longest time.”
“But...but everything I’ve worked for...” he said, casting an eye desperately around his expensively-appointed office. “Everything I’ve given my life for...”
“It wasn’t what you wanted,” said his nose mournfully. “When you - when we - were a boy, I mean.”
George blinked. An image filled his mind. Himself as a small boy, playing with his toys, and telling everyone who would listen all the things he was going to do when he grew up. His eyes were suddenly full of tears.
“I...I’d forgotten...” he said huskily.
“No you hadn’t,” said his eyes, gurgling slightly. “Not really. Not deep down.”
“Just on the surface,” whispered his facial hair. “But the surface was just going on, regardless. Not caring how much it hurt.”
“Which is why we had to get the message to you,” said his leg.
“Beacon,” corrected his arms gently. “Distress beacon.”
“But...this is horrible,” said George. Suddenly his mouth felt as dry as dust. He looked about his splendidly appointed office, as if seeing it for the first time. There were lots of straight lines, he noticed. Lots of hard edges, and cold surfaces, and metal, and lots of glass.
“The good news is, you listened,” said his skin softly, wrapping him in a warm, kind embrace. “At last, I mean.”
“Some people never do,” fluttered his alveoli, like a flock of tiny, perfect birds. “Not ever. Not even at the end.”
He felt better for his tears.
Somehow, they seemed to give him hope.
“Thank you,” he said to his body.
“Pray don’t mention it,” squeaked his bladder. “Any body would have done the same.”
Then, as his gut slipped back into place, as his knees and elbows and arms and legs all wobbled awkwardly - joyfully - as if being used somehow for the first time, George walked out of his office and carefully shut the door.