The Evolutionary MAG

June 1, 2010
By dontwannabehere BRONZE, Granger, Indiana
dontwannabehere BRONZE, Granger, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I hated animals. I had always hated animals. I would never not hate animals, and I had told my biology teacher, Mr. Winalt, a thousand times I wanted to drop his class and yet here I was on this damn field trip to the zoo. Before we left, my teacher confronted me personally. “Josh, I know you don't share my affinity for nature, but if you allow me, I guarantee you my class will offer plenty to learn about biology. Who knows, you may even discover a thing or two about yourself.” I don't know if he meant to capture my interest or earn respect, or whatever the purpose of his little heart-to-heart was, but he sure didn't accomplish it. I'm not one to be swayed by some teacher's corny speech coated with theatrical empathy.

Now Mr. Winalt was leading us through each exhibit in some sick state of euphoria he was thrust into by the animals, insects, and other creatures here. “Fascinating, aren't they?” he said with child-like enthusiasm as he gazed dreamily at the herd of horses we had stopped to study. One student was switching songs on his iPod. Another was texting on her phone using only enough discretion to fool our entranced teacher. After what should have been a disheartening silence from the class, Mr. Winalt continued, “Okay, who can tell me what biological similarities exist between these horses and us?”

I turned to see the milky, dark eyes of a brown horse and a white horse with black patches by the feeder as they absent-mindedly chowed down lunch. A few beige horses with their knees folded into their stomachs were either resting or straight-up asleep. And some muscular dark ones were galloping aimlessly making their sleek tails and smooth manes fly in the wind.

I compared their features to my own. I have brown hair that isn't straight but isn't quite curly. It goes past my ears but isn't long enough to make me look like a girl. My eyes are a soft brown, and I have a wide jaw with a white scar on my chin. I'm 5Ƌ" and Caucasian with tan skin. Now, granted I am short, but nobody was half the size of the horses. They have four legs; I have two with arms. And finally, I've got leg and arm hair but nothing compared to the full coats of the horses.

I leaned over to my friend Jake and whispered, “If, on a scale of one to ten, one is thrilled and ten is bored to the point of death, I'd say I'm about a 9.5.” The corners of his mouth curved into a smile that said he was too tired to laugh.

Finally, after a good 30 awkward seconds of Mr. Winalt roving his gaze over the class with no answer, I decided I'd have to at least say something.

“I don't really see much in common between the horses and me; I mean … they have hooves!”

After some murmurs of agreement, Mr. Winalt said knowingly, “True, true. But take a look at your fingernails. The same dense material is actually found in that horse's hoof!” This drew some intrigued whispers from classmates as they looked back and forth between their nails and the horses' feet. “As a matter of fact,” said Mr. Winalt, “you will find there are deep-rooted genetic similarities between several animals and us. These commonalities are some of the strongest evidence that pointed scientists to the theory of evolution. Did you know that 99 percent of chimpanzees' genetic makeup is exactly the same as humans'?”

Despite more oohs and aahs, for me this field trip was every bit as dreadful as I had expected, and required every drop of will power from the tips of my toes and fingers to the strands of hair on my head not to ditch everyone when we moved on to the chimpanzees.

I can't explain why, but when the rest of the class found this field trip as dull and meaningless as I did, it gave me some sort of satisfaction. But now that Mr. Winalt had earned their undivided attention, the part of my brain that had previously been spamming “I-don't-want-to-freaking-be-here-right-now” had me overloaded and into the realm of “your-mom-just-walked-in-on-you-and-a-girl-kissing” restless jittering. Even Jake had given up trying to sleep and was paying attention. As my class was soaking in Mr. Winalt's teachings like sponges of biological knowledge, I drifted off to the other end of the chimpanzees exhibit in order to get Mr. Winalt out of my sight – and earshot.

The chimpanzees were at least slightly more interesting than horses. Instead of just eating and sleeping, they were more active. One was picking bugs from another's head and eating them, which was gross but funny. And another sat in a corner away from the others scratching its butt, which was also gross but really funny.

I thought about Mr. Winalt's question back at the horse display – about having stuff in common. I looked at the furry creatures through the Plexiglas wall and decided I could accept the fact that we shared some genes, but 99 percent seemed a little far-fetched. Still, the chimps had hands and I had hands, even though theirs were black. They had two eyes on the front of their face and two ears, and they seemed to interact with each other in a human way. What I mean is, they recognized each other as individuals, whereas the horses just came off as a herd. I was still ready to get the hell out of the zoo at the first opportunity, but pretending to be vaguely interested in biology was at least curbing my boredom.

As I compared myself with the butt-scratching bug-eaters, I noticed certain differences they had that actually seemed … better. One chimp extended its leg, and then using its foot, picked up a banana and reeled it back into his hand. Instead of just pinching the fruit between its toes, which any human can do, the thing curled its toes around the banana and trapped it against the base of its foot. It was as though the chimp had two extra hands. Considering the time I had wasted trying and failing to pick things up with my toes to avoid wasting energy bending over, I was sold on the idea that the chimpanzee had outdone us on this particular evolution. And, the chimp was now happily peeling his banana.

As the chimpanzee munched, I was looking down at my shoe and testing to see what maneuverability I did have with my foot. I curled my toes one way as far as I could and then flexed them the other way, but never reached quite the same flexibility as my genetic cousin. Giving up, I looked back at the chimp. He'd beaten me to it.

As soon as I picked my head up I realized I had become the exhibit. The chimp was staring straight at me – no, straight at my right foot. He then started curling his toes in the same way I had just failed to. But he wasn't reaching for anything, just repeating the motion and looking straight at my foot. It was almost like … like he was showing me. He then made some chimp noises at me, looked directly into my eyes, and pointed straight at his foot not once but twice. He was showing me.

First I was disturbed. A chimpanzee at a zoo was interacting with me – no, reacting to me. I wasn't sure chimpanzees were supposed to be capable of this level of communication. Even more unsettling was that under my shoe nobody could tell I had just been trying to pull off the chimpanzee flexible foot stunt. The chimp certainly didn't see me trying to mimic him; he seemed to literally have read my mind. After processing this I was fairly disturbed. There's no better way to put it than I was scared.

I wondered if I was dreaming when a sensation like I'd never felt or heard described ran from nerves in my brain down my spine and through the back of my right leg, finishing at the arch of my right foot. I wouldn't call it pain, but it was close enough to confirm that I was not in a dream. After having had the most intense feeling of my life, I expected to feel more below my ankle. Instead I just became more aware of all the bones in my foot.

A lot happened in the next few seconds. First I felt the marrow in my bone become warm. In the latter half of that second, the same warmth spread to the rest of my bones and my actual marrow's temperature was flaming. By about the end of the next second my entire foot was searing with heat and I could feel an enormous pressure as if every joint and bone in my foot was being pulled apart, stretched, and flattened at once. ­Between the heat and pressure, I was sure my bones from my ankle down were undergoing a change and melting to liquid.

Somewhere in the midst of one or two seconds passing, I had opened my mouth to tell the whole world my agony but found I had no breath or energy for any conscious bodily function. I was just a fraction of mental sanity away from full-blown comatose, unaware of anything but the hell that had been unleashed in my foot. This I would call pain.

The entire event took barely five seconds but felt like an eternity. I was on the ground in a pool of sweat in front of the chimpanzees. My foot continued to pulse with pain and felt constricted. I limped with difficulty, focusing on each breath and willing myself not to pass out. I reached the closest restroom and locked myself inside a stall.

When I tore off my shoes and socks I only found a moment's relief. My foot no longer felt excruciating pain. As a matter of fact my foot didn't feel anything. My foot was gone. And in place of it, connected to my ankle in bone and flesh, was a hairy black foot with an opposable big toe.

The author's comments:
This is the first chapter (or at least part of it) to a book i am writing.

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This article has 13 comments.


on Mar. 3 2015 at 9:27 am
SupremeAwesomeness, Pensby, Wirral, Other
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
I can be weirder.

More please. I've been reading the other comments about how the beginning took too long and I have just one thing to say to that: don't be discouraged. You need that background to get into the proper mind frame and about half a page is nowhere near too long. People are just impatient. Keep at it, I want to see how this ends and don't forget- it took about 290 pages for the hobbits to meet Strider in the Lord of the Rings and we all know how popular that is!

D.K.Artmond said...
on Jun. 2 2013 at 5:38 pm
D.K.Artmond, Jaco, Other
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Writing is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all"
Amelia Afterthought, (one of my characters)

I like the way you have us waiting for something to happen, to be a little annoyed at the story and then tell us what happened and stop.... making the reader want more. Also the monkey foot was very unique. I've never thought of that before. Loved it!

on Oct. 26 2012 at 10:53 am
MasteroftheTroll, Goose Creek, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hell is other people." Jean-Paul Sartre

To begin with, the story started off slow and ended entirely too fast.  The beginning was uninteresting and felt drawn out by unnecessary and vague details, in the statements of Mr. Winalt and the descriptions of the horses, for instance “some muscular dark ones.”  Most of the descriptions were redundant and took up most of the story thereby leaving no room for character development. The character Josh himself came off as detached and somewhat unemotional it made it hard for readers to not be bored during the entirety of the piece. When interacting with the chimpanzee the character, Josh did not bring the audience into the experience with him saying, “first I was disturbed” and “there's no better way to put it than I was scared” it was a cop out as writer, it blocked the reader off from gathering any real emotions or images into the literal scene being described. The window of opportunity was closed for the reader to feel anything during the lesson of being showed the flexible foot stunt, which I presume was supposed to be the basis behind his physical change. The transformation came too fast and was weirdly described.  When giving account for his change you said “a lot happened in the next few seconds” which was the worst way possible in leading into such a dramatic change as the one Josh went through. Again, the reader was left bewildered and bored because the best you could do in describing what was going on in his body was “I felt the marrow in my bone become warm [and] . . . the same warmth spread to the rest of my bones”. Are we, as readers supposed to make up for lack of imagination and conjure up the transformation ourselves? Overall, the piece was very flawed. The idea of evolution is a good one but was gone about all the wrong way. Science- Fiction is based on the facts merged with the creativity of the author, and they did not blend well in your story. You said “The entire event took barely five seconds” . . . species do not evolve that fast and it certainly does not happen without a reason.  For revision I suggest you take your time do some research and evaluate the effect you want your work to have on others.

on Oct. 26 2012 at 10:18 am
notquitesoquaint, Moncks Corner, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"How dare you sitdown to write when you have not stood up to live."

When writing a fiction piece, it is particularly important to be consistent with the passage of time. You didn’t establish this technique properly. The audience got lost within the transition between the transformation of human to ape. You wrote: “A lot happened in the next few seconds. First I felt the marrow in my bone become warm. In the latter half of that second, the same warmth spread to the rest of my bones…by about the end of the next second my entire foot was searing with heat.” Although you elaborated a little bit more after this quote, it still wasn’t enough to lead the reader into the next part of the story, the transformation. It was clear that you wanted to establish suspension of disbelief, but you didn’t use this literary technique properly. There wasn’t any build up to the “gotcha moment” at the end. You wrote: ”I wondered if I was dreaming when a sensation like I’d never felt or heard described ran from my nerves in my brain, down my spine and through the right of my back leg…” You used a lot of description in this part of your story, rather than building the suspense needed to keep the readers interest. Perhaps you should have included the emotional feelings your character felt during the transformation instead of the physical feelings felt. This would’ve helped the reader experience the change with Josh. Also the audience couldn’t build a connection with Josh because we only experienced a physical change with him, and not a psychological. His character didn’t seem fully developed. You did have some elements of mood, but they were mild. For example: “’If on a scale from one to ten, one is thrilled and ten is bored to the point of death, I’d say I’m about a 9.5.’” With this quote, you included elements of characterization and established mood by allowing the audience to feel Josh’s pain. Overall the piece has potential. By the way evolution doesn’t take five seconds it takes hundreds of years. 

somrics said...
on Oct. 26 2012 at 10:18 am
somrics, Goose Creek, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
First of all, I like that your character has a definitive personality, but has a very stereotypical name. You used sarcasm well when he said “I don't know if he meant to capture my interest or earn respect, or whatever the purpose of his little heart-to-heart was, but he sure didn't accomplish it.” It really shows the characters disdain for animals, and Biology. There was an extremely strange typo in the description of the main character when describing his size, “I'm 5Ƌ” and I’m not sure anybody really knows what that means.                 There was a lot of really similar description, and overuse of details on the main character, instead of the horses, which weren’t really described at all, or the other animals. Also, when the main character was speaking to his friend; “If, on a scale of one to ten, one is thrilled and ten is bored to the point of death, I'd say I'm about a 9.5.” It seemed rather forced, and cliché.  Most of the jokes that the main character made were cliché and boring. The part of the story with the main character and the horses was unnecessary. It felt like you were using it to make the story longer. And when you alluded to the similarities of the students in the story and the horses and you stated, “I don't really see much in common between the horses and me; I mean … they have hooves!” It was predictable and cheesy. It seemed like you tried too hard to make the character seem like a genius. For someone who doesn’t like Biology and wanted to get out of that class, the main character knows a lot about animals and biology.                 The part of the story when Josh stated, ‘“I-don't-want-to-freaking-be-here-right-now” had me overloaded and into the realm of “your-mom-just-walked-in-on-you-and-a-girl-kissing” restless jittering.’ Was slap stick and was trying too hard to be funny making it unfunny. Like when he was comparing himself to the chimpanzees he referred to them as, “the butt-scratching bug-eaters” it was clear comedy is not your thing. The conflict was like a drop off at the end of the piece; he saw the chimpanzee’s foot, he tried to mimic a chimp, and then got a new foot, ending the story. The ending was predictable and was forced. If this is supposed to be part of a book your writing, “When I tore off my shoes and socks I only found a moment's relief. My foot no longer felt excruciating pain. As a matter of fact my foot didn't feel anything. My foot was gone. And in place of it, connected to my ankle in bone and flesh, was a hairy black foot with an opposable big toe.” Shouldn’t be used so soon in the story, where you placed it. You need to have more of a build up for the story to earn its ending. The story was rushed and bland and at points stray completely away from the story.

MSBCBB said...
on Oct. 26 2012 at 10:10 am
MSBCBB, Goose Creek, South Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
              The author started out by stating, “I hated animals. I had always hated animals. I would never not hate animals…”. He repeats this twice after he had already established he hated animals, making this redundant. Hate is a strong word in itself we, the readers, most likely understand he has a strong disliking for our furry friends. He instantly shows interest in the horses, which goes against him hating animals. He describes the horses’ coats and actions. I believe a person that despises animals would not pay so much attention to these details.             Approaching the belief in Darwinism animals are supposed to evolve overtime. I am not able to suspend my disbelief in the fact that he could change so abruptly. Also, mutations are passed through genes, so if something like that was to happen it would be acquired at birth.  There are ways to make people believe that this could happen. I think he did not make us believe that this was possible. The story would not survive without the twist. If you took the twist out this would be a dull story about a young boy that hates animals, that somehow admires everything about them.             This story has decent character development. Out of the gate, the narrator tells us he hates animals and provides no backstory. Maybe, a short flashback describing a scene that concluded his admiration towards all of God’s creatures would do the trick. Obviously he has some interests in them. So why does he hate them? The character was a little relatable in the fact that, he was a high school student that didn’t like biology.               Overall, this story was mediocre and had a predictable twist. The author seemed to try to make a sometimes serious topic comedic, unsuccessfully. The author “made fun” not “funny.”  

on Oct. 25 2012 at 10:50 am
NoMercy666 BRONZE, Goose Creek, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It aint no sin to be glad you're alive." -Springsteen

Dear Teen Ink editor, My comment was supposed to be indented and formated correctly in paragraphs but it didn't allow me to do so. ~~~

on Oct. 25 2012 at 10:47 am
NoMercy666 BRONZE, Goose Creek, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It aint no sin to be glad you're alive." -Springsteen

     To begin, it took almost over half of the story before it got to actual conflict; I wanted to stop reading after the second paragraph. I won’t say you weren’t descriptive but you described all the wrong things. For instance, “I have brown hair that isn’t straight but isn’t quite curly… I’m Caucasian with tan skin,” in this part you’re trying to find similarities between humans and horses. I’m aware of what people look like and the description was unnecessary, you should have put emphasis on the details of the horse instead of poorly describing the character.      When you finally did get to the conflict it was uninteresting and greatly expected. You used a filler to get to the changing of the characters foot with, “The chimp certainly didn’t see me trying to mimic him; he seemed to have literally read my mind,” and it didn’t contribute to the story nor did you elaborate on it. It was a pointless part I assume you had inserted only to make the piece seem more interesting and you have failed.  Also, after the section, “I wondered if I was dreaming when a sensation I had never felt or heard described ran from nerves in my brain…” it was terribly obvious as to what was going to happen next.      Lastly, it’s apparent you didn’t re-read your work to edit or revise. There were grammatical errors, lacking of punctuation, excessive repetition and the tense is inconsistent. It is unclear to me if you’re trying to be conversational or tell the story in present tense and it makes the story have a choppy feel. Better luck next time. :)

on Dec. 17 2011 at 5:54 pm
Eliahumandoglover SILVER, San Francisco, California
5 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream." --Mark Twain "Being tactful is saying someone is open-minded when they have a hole in their head."by???

I loved it. (although the beginning was a bit boring) Please write more. What happens next?

on May. 28 2011 at 2:25 pm
dolphinportkey7 GOLD, D, Other
12 articles 0 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good" AND "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all"

AAAAHHHHHHH IT WAS SO GOOD WRITE MORE MORE MORE!!!!!!!!!!!! please :) Whereas some stories I have seen seem like they'd be better suited as a short story than an actualy novel, this should definitely be a whole novel. I honestly cannot wait to find out what happens next. There are so many questions, and ways that this can be expanded upon, and I can't wait to see what path you choose to take the story down.

on Apr. 5 2011 at 12:51 pm
Chaday1911 BRONZE, West Point, Mississippi
1 article 30 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Better to have loved, than not have loved at all." Ginuwine

Wow!  I honestly see the irony in this!!  I can't believe that they hated animals (I love animals) and now there turning into into one is peotic justice.  Please write more!! Thank You!!

on Mar. 31 2011 at 8:28 pm
i love it!! for once somebody actually has an original idea!!!!!!!!!!! ru planning on posting the other chapters on the website?

on Mar. 30 2011 at 9:29 pm
RainyWriter GOLD, Redmond, Washington
14 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
Only the smart, talented, amazing, and insane are remembered in history.

Was not expecting that ending! The stuff in the middle was a little tedious, but other than that it's great.


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