In the Belly of the Beast
by Class S139
[This is the second half of a story. The first half is at:
All the students in class S139 helped in writing the following chapters. Chapters are made up of pieces taken from different students’ homework, which I’ve edited and worked into one narrative. The students who wrote the different parts of Chapter 10 are indicated by name. Class S139 is Benjamin, Patty, James, Jeff, Henry, Rita, Melody, Jenny, and Mijo Tanaka. Genius Mike himself was part of the class, but stopped attending just as we began to write his story. I suggested the students illustrate the story, but they were so exhausted by the writing they didn’t want to. The above drawing is my own. –E.M.-L.]
As Mike walked along, he noticed Godzillaville was a nice city in some ways, but in fact the people there weren’t well. The city had many problems. The first problem was the environment. There wasn’t enough clean air and daylight. The health of anyone living in such a place would get weaker and weaker every day. Also it was obvious that food and fresh water were insufficient. Godzilla swallowed mostly ocean water, so there was little fresh water for people to drink. As for food, Mike learned from a boy on the sidewalk that most of their food was taken from restaurants or supermarkets that Godzilla ate.
“But sometimes the fire destroys a lot of the food before we can get it,” the boy said.
Such fire disasters were a serious problem too. Innumerable explosions were caused by the cars and other machines Godzilla swallowed. The smoke from all the fires polluted the city, and when the fires spread beyond the wreckage field people suffered heavy casualties.
Mike was very surprised to learn of these strange problems. He decided to question a man on the sidewalk.
“Excuse me,” Mike said.
“Yeah?” the man asked.
“I just got here, and I… Well, I can’t believe you all continue to live in such a terrible place! Why don’t you try to escape?”
“Escape? Huh! We’ve tried it many times,” the man said, shaking his head. “But after many failures we’ve given up. Everyone wants to escape from here, believe me, but it’s impossible!”
“I see,” Mike said.
“This city is like a battlefield,” the man said. “You’ll have to learn to worry about yourself. It’s the only way to survive!”
After these words the man stepped away.
Mike talked to some more people. He learned that most of the city’s inhabitants were Japanese, but that there were also Taiwanese, Americans, and others too.
“I’m Sally,” one girl said. “I’m from China.”
“My name’s Tony,” a man said. “I’m from Canada. I have a KFC that Godzilla swallowed about two years ago. You should come have lunch some time.”
He handed Mike a discount coupon for the KFC.
Once at the registration office, Mike told the woman his name and age and told her also that he was a genius. He asked about AK-47s, but the woman said the only AK-47s in Godzillaville were kept at the police station.
“That’s too bad,” Mike said. “It’s not fair. All people should have the right to have an AK-47. Even people in the mental hospital!”
The woman took a picture of Mike to make an ID card and gave him the address of his apartment.
“I’m a genius,” Mike said finally. “Maybe I can help this city somehow.”
“We’ll see,” the woman said. “First you need to learn how to take care of yourself here. Living in Godzillaville is not as safe as living in Chicago or Taipei.”
“Oh, my God,” Mike said. “Is it really that dangerous?”
Within a week Mike had learned a lot about living in the city. And he decided if he had to live there more than a month, he would become completely crazy, even more crazy than before. He might even become crazier than his friend Benjamin. He knew he had to escape.
One thing Mike couldn’t stand about the city was the laws. The laws there were very strict. Mike went to the mayor’s office to complain about this. The mayor was an old Japanese man with a samurai sword in his office.
“Everything is too strict here,” Mike said. “Why are students required to take exams every week? That is ridiculous!”
“If people don’t study hard, our economy will become bad,” the mayor said.
“Who cares about the economy when you’re all living in a monster’s belly? Who do you trade with anyway? People in the kidneys?”
“Knowledge is power,” the mayor said. “And besides, our city’s laws aren’t so strict. We even allow people to swim.”
“But the people don’t want to swim,” Mike said. “The water’s too dirty. And people should be allowed to get married. Why can’t anyone get married here?”
“If people married in Godzillaville, they’d have children and it would soon be very crowded,” the mayor said. “We already have a population problem here. You yourself can see that.”
Mike went over to the wall and started to feel the blade on the samurai sword.
“Don’t touch that,” the mayor said. “If it fell off the wall, I’d have to kill you.”
Mike turned back to the mayor.
“You say that knowledge is power. Alright, maybe I agree with you. But if you have so much knowledge in this city, why can’t you think of a plan to escape? Tell me that.”
The mayor had no reply. He stepped over to the window of his office and looked outside. Finally he turned round.
“Trying to escape will just end up killing a lot of people,” he said. “It’s been tried many times before. There’s never been a good idea yet.”
“Why don’t we create a problem in the stomach, so that Godzilla becomes sick and vomits? Then we’ll all be sent out through the throat.”
“It won’t work.”
“Why don’t we somehow make the fire go up to Godzilla’s throat,” Mike continued. “Then he’ll get a sore throat and cough.”
“That might be a good idea,” the mayor said. “But still I can’t see how it will help us to get out.”
“Do you have any planes down here?” Mike asked.
“No, no planes. We only have one broken helicopter in the city.”
“A helicopter?” Mike said. “That might help us a lot! That might be a way for at least some people to get out.”
“The helicopter is broken,” the mayor said. “I’m not even sure anyone here can fix it.”
“We have to try,” Mike answered. “It’s worth trying. Anything is better than living like this!”
“You are a newcomer,” the mayor said. “Newcomers are always like this.”
“Just help me to fix that helicopter and I’m sure I can come up with a plan to save this city. I’m a genius, you know.”
Six days later the helicopter was fixed. Mike and the mayor organized a team to try the escape. There was a pilot to fly the helicopter, there were two Godzillaville policemen, and finally there was Mike himself. The mayor had agreed to allow Mike to take the city’s seven AK-47s on board with him.
“I need AK-47s,” Mike said. “Without them my plan can’t work.”
On the day of the mission Mike and the policemen loaded boxes of ammunition onto the helicopter while the pilot warmed up the engine. There was a crowd of people gathered around cheering for Genius Mike and his attempted escape. But Mike noticed that not all the city’s people were there.
“Where is everyone?” he asked one of the policemen.
“Some people are at home watching on TV,” the policeman said. “But others don’t care about our mission. They think it will be a failure. They think we can’t survive.”
The helicopter took off with no problem. After flying once over the city, they came to the wreckage field. Godzilla had just swallowed a gas station and the fire on the wreckage field was even larger than usual. They had trouble seeing through the smoke.
“Maybe we should try another day!” the pilot yelled out. “The smoke is too thick!”
“No!” Mike replied. “Turn on the fire hoses!”
The pilot started to spray the fire, but still they couldn’t put out much of it.
“We just have to fly through the smoke!” Mike yelled. “Go on!”
Luckily they made it over the wreckage field without hitting the walls of the stomach. Next they had to begin the climb up through the esophagus.
The esophagus was narrow in places. It was hard to fly the helicopter through. But then it became wider again. Soon they came up into the throat.
“Hey! What are those lights?” the pilot called out.
Through the smoke Mike could see lines of lights along the walls of Godzilla’s throat.
“Go closer!” he yelled.
When they came closer, they could see that some areas of the throat had apartments built into it. People were coming to the windows to see the helicopter.
“Hey! What are you doing here?” Mike yelled out through the open door of the helicopter.
“This city is called Throat Culture,” a man yelled back. “We’ve been here for years. What about you? What are you doing here?”
Mike pointed down.
“The stomach?” the man yelled. “You’re from the stomach!”
“Good God!” the man yelled. “How can people live down there?”
“We’re escaping!” Mike yelled. “Maybe later we’ll come back to get you out too.”
“Don’t bother!” the man yelled. “We’re fine here!”
The pilot then flew further up. He had to turn sharply to avoid hitting a big apple tree that was growing out of the side of the throat.
“How did that get here?” Mike yelled.
“Who knows?” the pilot yelled. “Maybe it got stuck.”
Finally they came to the part of the throat just before the base of Godzilla’s tongue.
“Alright,” Mike yelled. “Hold the helicopter steady!”
Mike and the two policemen took up three of the AK-47s and began shooting into the side of the throat at a place about two blocks below Godzilla’s tongue. The idea was to make the throat itchy so that Godzilla would cough.
After they’d fired about four-hundred rounds into the side of the throat, Mike could see Godzilla’s muscles starting to move.
“He’s getting itchy!” Mike yelled. “It’s working!”
Finally the monster coughed, and just as the air of the cough rose up the pilot flew the helicopter up to the back of the mouth. Then, just as suddenly, he turned around a flew back down.
“The cough wasn’t big enough!” the pilot yelled. “I could never have gotten the helicopter through the teeth.”
Mike and the policemen started firing the AK-47s again, shooting in the same place. After around a minute came another powerful blast of air from below.
This time the pilot made it most of the way over the tongue, but still couldn’t get past the teeth in time.
“You’re going to get us killed!” one of the policemen cried. “That was too close!”
“I’m doing the best I can!” the pilot yelled. “I’ve never had to fly in a monster’s mouth before.”
“We try again!” Mike yelled. “There’s no going back!”
After firing another five- or six-hundred rounds, Godzilla coughed for a third time. Catching the blast of wind, the pilot flew up and over the tongue and the helicopter shot out through the monster’s wide open mouth. The helicopter flooded with daylight. They were flying in the open air, under a sunny sky. All four were cheering their success.
“Where are we?” the pilot said finally.
“Let’s land quickly,” yelled Mike.
“This is Pingtung County!” one of the policemen yelled. “I recognize it! I grew up here!”
After flying as far away from Godzilla as they could, the pilot finally landed the helicopter in an open field.
Seven hours later Genius Mike was in Taipei, having a meeting with President Chen about Godzilla. The president had agreed with Mike’s basic plan. They would have to convince Godzilla to have a stomach operation. It was the only way to save all the Taiwanese people who were trapped in his belly. But President Chen wasn’t sure whom he should send to meet the monster.
“Of course you should send me,” Mike said. “I’m a genius. I’m the only one who can convince him.”
“I’m not sure,” the president said. “I think maybe I should send someone in my government—one of my officials.”
“Your government?” Mike answered. “They are mostly fools! Look what they’ve done with Taiwan!”
“Hmm,” the president said. “You’re maybe right. But I can send the Nobel Laureate, Mr.—”
“He will be too scared,” Mike interrupted. “He will try to run and then Godzilla will eat him.”
“But Godzilla ate you too,” President Chen said. “Why should I trust you?”
“I am Genius Mike. I can do anything.”
“Alright,” the president said. “I trust you.”
The meeting between Godzilla and Genius Mike happened on the coast in Pingtung County, in the little town of Kenting. Godzilla was relaxing by throwing hotels out into the ocean and watching the big splashes they made. Mike landed by helicopter on the beach nearby and talked to Godzilla through a loudspeaker.
And what happened in that famous conversation? What did Mike say to convince the monster? What did Godzilla say in reply? We can’t be quite sure. There weren’t any real Taiwanese journalists brave enough to go to the meeting. The only people there were sent by the Taipei Times, an English newspaper in Taiwan. And even their normal journalists weren’t brave enough to go. But the Taipei Times editor had a solution. Since no one was willing to go to the meeting, the editor decided to send some of Genius Mike’s friends from the Tien Mu Mental Hospital. There was a small group of patients there who studied English. They told the Taipei Time editor they could write the story in good English “no problem”. After talking with Mike, the editor decided to trust them.
In fact the patients’ English was okay—for most of them—but the real problem was that they all gave different versions of what was said in the meeting between Mike and Godzilla, so we might never really know what really happened. Following are three of the reports handed in by the group of patients.
Mike tells Godzilla, he says: “When I was in your body I saw a very big tumor. Don’t you know if you don’t take out the tumor you will die?”
Godzilla asks: “Is it true? How can I trust you?”
Mike says: “Don’t you remember me? I was the doctor you saw in Taipei. But I’m really a god.”
Godzilla says: “A god? You’re a god?”
Mike: “Yes. Because you swallowed me, but I came back out of your stomach. Only a god could do it. So you must trust me.”
Godzilla says: “I could swallow you again. Aren’t you afraid?”
Mike says: “I’m not afraid. Because I can come out again. And if you eat me, and I don’t help you, nobody can take out the tumor, and you will die.”
Finally Godzilla trusted Mike.
Mike: “Dear Godzilla. You will have an operation.”
Godzilla: “Why? I don’t want to have one.”
Mike: “You have to have an operation. Because… because your bottom has some problems. So you will have it.”
Godzilla: “My bottom?”
Mike: “Yes. Your bottom has a city. There are many people living there. Many buildings and many cars.”
Godzilla: “What? A city?”
Godzilla: “Can’t I take drugs for it?”
Mike: “No, drugs won’t help you. The people in the city will just take the drugs and start to sell them to each other. So you will have an operation.”
M: Do you remember me?
G: Yes, aren’t you in my abdomen?
M: Yes, but I came out.
G: Oh, my God.
M: I discovered there’s some calculus in your abdomen.
G: How do you know?
M: I went to your belly and I came out to tell you to have an operation.
G: It’s a wrinkle.
Which of these reports is the most accurate? We can’t be sure. But it seems clear that in the end Godzilla decided to have the operation. You can read about it in the next chapter.
The operation was going to happen on the wide plain near Hualien. It was decided that that was one of the best places for Godzilla to lie down flat.
Mike told the doctors: “Now we must begin the operation. But we have some serious problems to think about. First, we need a scalpel large enough to make an incision in Godzilla’s side.”
A team was arranged to provide enough steel to make the scalpel and engineers were put in charge of designing it.
“Second, after we make the incision we will have to lift up the fold of Godzilla’s skin. This won’t be easy. We will need cranes to do it.”
A team was arranged to design and construct the cranes. Both the cranes and the scalpel had to be prepared as soon as possible, because Godzilla was waiting to have the operation, and if he became angry he’d probably eat all of them and they’d be back in Godzilla’s stomach. As it turned out, they prepared everything very well. [Jenny]
But still Godzilla was very scared. He knew that if the doctors made any errors his life might be finished. Mike could see the monster was almost ready to change his mind.
“There is no danger,” Mike told Godzilla. “Just eat these three trucks and you will feel fine.”
In fact the three trucks were full of drugs to make Godzilla sleep. Twenty minutes after swallowing them, he slipped into narcosis. [Patty]
Mike and the doctors assembled at Godzilla’s side. Pointing huge lamps at the stomach, they used the special cranes to lift the scalpel into place.
After seeing that everything was ready, they made the incision. Lifting the giant fold of skin with other cranes, they saw a house, some crushed buildings, and a destroyed park. A broken KFC fell out and landed on the ground with a crash. In this part of the stomach there were still no people.
The doctors saw many problems too. On the side where they were cutting, Godzilla’s stomach had many ulcers in it. Some doctors set to work sewing them up.
Cutting further into the stomach, they found it everywhere very messy and polluted. The doctors used fire hoses to wash out chemicals and garbage.
“Oh, my God!” one doctor said.
“This is terrible!” another said as they worked. “How can the monster live?”
Primarily it was like a Xanadu there.
Then they found many foods and sweet water, and finally they came to a corner of the real city, where the people lived. [Rita]
“Hey!” Mike shouted into the hole they had made. “Is anybody in there?”
“Hey!” he shouted again. “Fool mayor! Can’t you hear me? This is Genius Mike here. I’m back to save you all. Where are you?”
Mike stepped into Godzilla’s belly and walked a little way down an alley. He could see the buildings and parks. But where were all the people?
“Hey!” he shouted. “This is Genius Mike here! Where is everybody?”
Finally a boy stuck his head out a window.
“Are you Genius Mike?”
“Yes,” Mike said. “What is going on? Where is everyone?”
“We saw the light come in,” the boy said. “We didn’t know what it was. The mayor sounded the emergency sirens and we all had to go into our houses.”
“I see,” Mike said. “But it’s not an emergency. We’re doing an operation on Godzilla’s belly to save you all. You can finally leave the city. We are here to save you.”
“Is it true?” the boy’s mother said, coming to the window.
“Yes, it’s true,” Mike said. “Get ready to leave.”
“You are our hero,” the woman said. “We didn’t believe you could do it, but you have really saved us!”
Soon people were out on the streets with their broken suitcases and bags. They were getting ready to follow Mike. But the mayor stayed in his office. For some reason, he refused to leave.
“I will stay in my city,” he said. “I’m too old to learn to live anywhere else.”
During the exodus, the people clapped and cheered for Mike.
“Genius! Genius! Genius!” they cried over and over.
“You’re right,” Mike said. “I’ve told you many times.” [Melody]
Godzillaville’s citizens came out of the stomach in a long line, covering their eyes. They couldn’t bear the daylight, which some of them hadn’t seen in decades. Dirty clothes, thin bodies, out of sorts… They looked very bad to the doctors and journalists waiting outside.
As they came out, the journalists began to crowd around them.
“How was it living for so many years in Godzilla’s stomach?”
“Excuse me. How did you manage to get food in there?”
“Sir, how long exactly have you lived in Godzillaville?”
But the Godzillaville citizens didn’t answer these questions. Instead they crowded around Mike, thanking him and trying to get a chance to shake his hand. And there were also family members of those who had been swallowed recently in Taiwan.
“Thank you for risking your life to save my son,” said one man, holding his son’s shoulders. “I’ll never forget your courage.”
People were excited to be together with their families again, while others were excited just to see the sky and green plants and other things that might look boring to us. [Mijo Tanaka]
“This air is so fresh,” one woman said to a camera. “I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it!”
After an hour had passed, buses were brought to take the Godzillaville citizens away from the scene of the operation. And the doctors began the difficult job of sewing up the incision. If the doctors were correct, Godzilla would begin to wake up again about four hours later. They had to hurry.
Many people had gathered in the park near the Tien Mu Mental Hospital. President Chen, Mayor Ma and all of Mike’s friends and relatives were there. They were all waiting for Mike’s speech. After being introduced by Mayor Ma, Mike stepped up to the podium.
“I’m a genius,” he began. “I have helped many people escape from a monster’s belly. And I have done it without even killing the monster.”
All the people from the hospital cheered.
“First, I want to thank my mother. She always cooks for me on weekends, and her food is much better than the hospital food.”
Mike’s mother cried; she’s very sentimental.
“I also want to thank my dog, River. He always plays with me when I’m bored.”
River was very happy. He barked and barked. The people clapped their hands.
Mayor Ma yelled out: “Let’s all shout Mike, you are a hero!” The crowd began to shout “Hero! Hero!” and Mike shook hands with the mayor and the people in the crowd.
After Mike’s short speech, President Chen came to the microphone.
“We know Mike likes AK-47s,” he said. “So we will give him a special new AK-47 as an award.” The president lifted the AK-47 out of a dark wood case. “But no ammunition,” the president continued. “Because Mike is… Well, Mike is a genius!”
The crowd cheered: “Genius! Genius!”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Mike said into the microphone.
“Well…” President Chen said. “Guns are illegal in Taiwan, even for heroes.”
“Thank you,” Mike said.
Following the meeting in the park, Mike and his friends from the Mental Hospital were invited along with some of the Godzillaville citizens to come to the Presidential Palace for an honorary dinner.
After waking up from his operation, Godzilla spent a week or so on the plain near Hualien recovering. Trucks brought him trees and sushi restaurants to eat during this difficult time. Finally Godzilla felt better and began to do little stretching exercises in the morning. After another week of physical therapy Godzilla slipped into the ocean and swam back to Japan.
In general Godzilla is very pleased with the results of the operation. And he’s not the only one. His mother has noticed that he’s roaring louder, more clearly, and more frighteningly than before. The Japanese have noticed that he destroys cities more swiftly than before. All his monster friends tell him he’s looking younger and more dangerous than before. And Godzilla himself has noticed that he jumps higher, swims faster, and swallows buses more easily than he used to.
Godzilla is feeling much better about himself recently. That’s why he’s now recommending Genius Mike to all the monsters he knows. Maybe soon monsters from all over the world will be coming to Taipei for their operations. Genius Mike thinks that would be interesting, but Mayor Ma isn’t sure it would be such a good thing.
Finished May, 2002,
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