A Romance

It was a bright, brisk, and sunny morning in Birmingham, Alabama. The sun had just peeked over the horizon, painting the sky in a beautiful pallet of oranges, pinks, and reds. The wind rustled gently through the trees. Flowers stretched open. It was truly a scene of breathtaking beauty—a testament to the daily miracles provided to the world by the powers that be—and it was all completely lost on an earthworm burrowing some three feet underground.

This very same earthworm, our hero, suddenly and unexpectedly encountered a rather large chicken bone buried in its path. The second character in our story had been implanted there several minutes earlier by a kleptomaniacal little dog. At present, our protagonist mistook it for a rock.  

“Oy!” exclaimed the worm. “Watch where you’re going, ya dumb rock.” (Why the earthworm expected this particular chicken bone (which it mistook for a rock) to respond, or watch where it was going, or indeed, why this particular earthworm had the ability to speak the modern English language is not in the author’s jurisdiction to explain).

The chicken bone remained silent.

“Typical rock,” muttered the earthworm, and it burrowed away.

Intrigued by the chicken bone’s nonchalant muteness to its outburst, the earthworm returned some thirteen minutes later to see if it could strike up a conversation. To its surprise and delight, it found the chicken bone at the very same location of their previous encounter.

“Hey,” said the earthworm.

”Silence.”

“Look, sorry ‘bout calling you stupid. I was way out of line. If it makes you feel any better, you don’t look stupid at all. You actually seem to be a rather intellectual rock.”

“Silence.”

“I’ll make it up to you. What do you say ‘bout getting some topsoil? I heard there’s some new decomposing dung not far from here.”

“Silence.”

“I’ll take that for a yes. Come on! If we don’t get there soon the beetles are going to cart it all off.”

The chicken bone stubbornly refused to move.

“OK. I understand. You don’t like dung. Doesn’t sit well with the stomachs.”

The rest of the conversation went pretty well, although a little one-sidedly for the earthworm. It went away, thinking to itself that the chicken bone seemed to be a very nice rock, and appeared to be a very good listener. The earthworm decided that it was in love.

It returned several times during the next twenty-six minutes and found itself falling progressively harder for its “slightly porous igneous beauty,” as it now called the chicken bone.

Unfortunately, this love was not meant to be. Forty-eight minutes after their first meeting, the kleptomaniacal dog remembered where it had hidden its bone, dug it out, chewed it up for a few minutes, got bored, and decided to see exactly what all the hubbub was about the new fire hydrant. Devastated with the loss of its lover, the earthworm wandered about aimlessly until it was eaten by a sparrow.