In the Belly of the Beast
(A Collaborative Story)
[The following chapters are the beginning of a story that you must complete. Use your imagination and your best story writing abilities to make a lively ending to this funny and sad tale. If your story is among the better ones, it will be published on the Golden Thread page. --E.M.-L.]
It was near the end of 2001. Godzilla needed to see a doctor for his yearly checkup, but he was having trouble getting any Tokyo doctor to make an appointment for him.
"He will destroy the whole hospital!" one Tokyo doctor said. "Remember what happened last year in Nagoya? We've got to get him away from here. The sooner the better."
"But he won't leave!" the nurse said.
"Then make some excuse," the doctor said. "Anything to get him away!"
"But what can I say?" the nurse asked.
"Let me think a minute," the doctor said. "There's got to be a way!"
In the background could be heard Godzilla's heavy growl echoing down the hospital halls.
"I know!" the doctor said finally. "Tell him we here in Japan just aren't good with reptiles. Tell him the doctors down in Taipei are better. Try to get him to leave Japan--that's the important thing. You'll be a national hero!"
Godzilla was waiting out in the parking lot. Using a loudspeaker, the nurse passed him the excuse. Hearing of the "better" doctors in Taipei, and seeing that the Tokyo doctor was unwilling to see him in any case, the giant monster turned and walked toward the sea to swim to Taiwan.
Only hours later Godzilla was crashing his way over the ridge of mountains that separates Taipei from the sea. The local medical associations had already been informed that Godzilla was coming and that he needed a checkup. What to do? None of Taiwan's doctors were willing to see him. They were all too afraid.
Dr. Lin stood at the head of a conference table of representatives from each of the Taipei hospitals.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he said. "We have a serious problem. Our Japanese colleagues have foisted on us a responsibility that should be entirely their own, and we must decide on--"
"Let him see Genius Mike," a voice interrupted from down the table.
A murmur spread round the room.
"Excuse me," Dr. Lin said. "What did you say there?"
The face of a young adolescent leaned forward over the conference table. He was around thirteen.
"My name is Benjamin," the boy said. "I'm a patient at the Tien Mu Mental Hospital, and my friend Mike here is a genius. He's really a genius!"
"A genius?" Dr. Lin said.
"Genius. That's me," said the smaller boy sitting next to Benjamin. "I'm a genius."
"Mike lives in the hospital with me," Benjamin explained. "He owns a gun shop that sells AK-47s."
"I see," Dr. Lin said. "But what does this have to do with the problem we have here today? Are you and this boy Mike.... I mean--why are you here at this meeting?"
Dr. Lin looked to the others around the conference table as if for some explanation.
"None of the doctors here want to see Godzilla. Isn't that right?" Benjamin said. "They're all too scared."
"Yes, that's true. But I still don't see--"
"So you can let Godzilla see Genius Mike," Benjamin said. "That's our plan."
"And you... You mean your friend Mike here will then shoot Godzilla with an AK-47? Is that what you mean?"
"No. Let me explain. Genius Mike is very brave. He's braver than anyone. Last month he even wanted to go to Afghanistan to fight against Osama Bin Laden, but his mother wouldn't let him."
Another murmur rose around the room.
"If my Mom had let me go to Afghanistan," Mike said, "this war would be over already."
"All you have to do," Benjamin went on, "is teach Mike how to act like a doctor, and then he can meet with Godzilla and give him a checkup. Mike won't be afraid at all. He isn't afraid of anything!"
"I'll take care of it," Mike said. "No problem."
Dr. Lin was clearly puzzled. He fixed his gaze on the doctor sitting next to Mike.
"And you, sir?" he asked. "Do you perhaps know anything about this?"
"My name's Dr. Chen," the man began, "and everything Benjamin here says is true. He is, of course, a patient in our mental hospital, but he speaks the truth. As for Genius Mike, I can assure you he is crazy enought to examine Godzilla without fear."
"And... Genius Mike--is he really a genius too?" Dr. Lin asked.
"I'm not sure that's really important right now," Dr. Chen said. "What we need is someone who can meet with Godzilla. We need someone who won't be too afraid to go through with a complete checkup. If one of us here starts the checkup, and then becomes afraid and starts screaming and trying to run away... Well, that would be a disaster, wouldn't it? So maybe Mike could help us with this. Whether he's a genius or not is immaterial. I'm sure my colleagues here will all agree."
After this short speech it was soon decided that Genius Mike might actually be a way to solve the terrible problem faced by the doctors of Taipei. If only Godzilla could be convinced that Mike was really a doctor, then the plan might really work. But was Mike really a genius?
Four hours had passed. Under the direction of Dr. Lin and Dr. Chen, Mike's doctor training had been completed. In the meantime Godzilla had destroyed much of the Shih-Lin area and was walking toward the Sung-Shan Airport. The monster had put the Grand Hotel on his head as a kind of hat. Police in helicopters delivered the message to Godzilla that Taiwan's best doctor--"a genius in fact"--was ready to see him at the Taipei Adventist Hospital.
Genius Mike waited in a white doctor's coat for Godzilla to arrive. When, led by helicopters, Godzilla finally reached the hospital, Mike met the monster without fear. The "doctor" even had the cheek to make Godzilla fill out a small pile of forms before the exam could begin. After all the necessary forms were complete, he had Godzilla get into a light green hospital gown. Then he carefully measured Godzilla's height and weight, and examined his eyes and throat.
"Hmm," said Genius Mike, pretending to notice something significant in the monster's throat.
Next Mike listened to Godzilla's heart with a stethoscope and he took his blood pressure, each time entering the numbers in a little book. Finally he drew some blood and did a chest X-ray. After all this was finished, he pretended to think for a moment. Looking serious, Genius Mike turned to Godzilla and told the monster that he would be frank with him.
"You're a little overweight," he said. "We're going to have to put you on a special diet."
Godzilla growled pensively.
"In the future," Mike said, "you're goint to have to eat fewer buses, fewer airports, and fewer fat people. Also you're going to have to drink less ocean water."
Godzilla made no reply to this.
"To stay healthy, you'll need to eat more thin people, more bicycles, and more trees," Mike went on. "And a little daily exercise might really help. I recommend a brisk morning swim between Japan and Korea, followed by an hour of fasting, then a light lunch of trees, thin people, and bicycles."
But Godzilla didn't seem to like this plan. Genius Mike could see that the monster was becoming angrier and angrier.
"Of course," he said, "if you want to substitute a sushi restaurant now and then for the trees, I don't think there will be any problems. The main thing is to cut down on the fat people and airports."
Grabbing Genius Mike with his right paw, Godzilla downed him with the ease most people down a vitamin pill. After that Godzilla proceeded to eat the Taipei Adventist Hospital. When the hospital had been completely demolished and swallowed, Godzilla headed northward. He had the Sung-Shan Airport for dessert before once more crossing the mountains that separate Taipei from the seashore. Godzilla entered the ocean to cool down after his long day.
Most people assumed that Genius Mike died that day. He was, after all, eaten by one of the world's most fearsome monsters. But the truth is quite different. After sliding down Godzilla's gooey esophagous, Mike freefell into the large cavity of the monster's stomach, landing finally on the hood of a taxi which was stuck in a large, burning pile of city rubble and mangled buses. All around him he could hear the screams of victims tangled in the wreckage. The smoke half blinded him as he climbed down through the twisted metal and concrete. Making it to the bottom, Mike crossed an open space of about twenty meters, limped over a pile of broken slabs of concrete, and came finally to a small, smoky park. Three children in dirty clothes were playing with a ball.
"Hey!" Genius Mike cried out to them.
One of the boys came up to him.
"What are you doing here?" Genius Mike asked in surprise.
"We're playing basketball," the boy said. "Can't you see?"
The boy pointed at a basketball hoop in the small park.
"But... But we're in Godzilla's belly!" Genius Mike cried. "How can you be playing basketball?"
"Don't be so surprised," the boy said. "And welcome. You can register down the street over there."
The boy pointed to an intersection that glowed somewhat in the foggy darkness.
"Take a left at that corner, then walk until you see the clinic. Right next to the clinic is the registration office. We're going to continue with our basketball, okay? Welcome to Godzillaville."
With this the boy walked away.
* * *
1) If you want to write an ending to this story, the most important thing is NOT TO READ THE ENDINGS LINKED BELOW. First write your own ending, then you can see what others have done.
2) The story must be finished in four or more chapters.
3) Genius Mike will spend three or more days with the people of Godzillaville, learning about their city and their history.
4) Finally Genius Mike will think of a plan of escape. He will escape Godzillaville and (perhaps) help many of the people escape too.
5) Godzilla must not be killed.
Special problems to think about:
A) Are the people in Godzillaville happy or unhappy to be living there? Why? What are the disadvantages of living in Godzillaville? Are there any advantages?
B) How long have they been in there? Are they mostly Japanese, or are they from other countries too?
C) Where does their food come from?
D) How do the people in Godzillaville provide electricity for their city?
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