A Very Cellular Story – by Will Brooks, D.C.

A chiropractic short story by Will Brooks, D.C.

Life started to leave the farmer’s body the day the fish fell from the sky.

It was on a hot, muggy August day that the strong circular winds from the Pacific Ocean began the annual lifting of the water along with its fish to carry them 4 miles inland to Yora in Honduras. It had been an especially dry summer to that point so the farmer was very needy.

In spite of his being the wealthiest farmer in Yora, the farmer felt needy. Needy because his corn crop had provided fewer ears of corn per row than usual. Needy because his livestock consisting of a few chickens, one cow, and a couple of goats had been producing fewer eggs and less milk than was necessary to feed his family of a wife and two boys.

The whole village had also been looking forward to the day when the fish would rain down. The sky had begun to darken the afternoon before the torrent of rains began the next morning. The rain continued to fall throughout the morning and afternoon. The effect that the prolonged period of drought had had on the coastal waters was to increase the speed at which the whirlpool spun at the confluence of the two rivers that flowed together directly offshore from Yora.

Eventually, as the whirlpool picked up speed, a small waterspout began to form. The waterspout became more massive, which gave it the power necessary to lift the fish skyward from the shoals surrounding the whirlpool. The heat energy that was stored in the shallow water caused the waterspout to gain in size and speed until the inverted funnel of a tornado was formed. Then the tornado carrying the fish moved slowly toward the Yora valley. When the tornado reached the steep cliffs on the eastern side of the valley, the fish suddenly began to fall.

It had always been like this in Yora. As soon as the tornado would glance against the sides of the mountain, it was neither able to rise above the mountain, nor carry the weight of the fish any longer.

Long-time experience with the Day of the Fishes had taught the people in the valley to wait with patience until the anger of the storm was spent before they would tentatively leave the safety of their small homes. The villagers knew that the fish would begin to fall when the worst that the storm had to offer was past. The farmer, his wife and both of the boys were standing in the center of their one-room house as the fish began to fall. Slowly at first they fell. Then, they fell with more insistence in a blur of silver, blue and pink. The sound of the thuds of the fishes’ bodies as they hit the ground and the out buildings of the farm was deafening.

As the fish landed, the farmer and his family would set about the hurried tasks that were necessary to gather the fish. The family had practiced this routine every year to the point of smooth efficiency. The farmer and his wife would run around the fields in the front as well as the back of the house picking up the fish as they landed. Then they would hand off the fish to the two boys whose job it was to place them in the baskets to keep them moist until they could be cleaned. In this way, the family was usually able to gather 5 or 6 baskets altogether before the rain stopped.

This year, the rains had been very generous. The farmer and his family had already gathered 8 baskets full while the rain was still falling and the storm was not anywhere near to its end. The farmer noticed that the area of the field on the side of the little coop for the chickens had about 6 or 7 fish lying on the ground. The fish were sometimes easy to miss because the force of hitting the ground would kill them and the fish made no movement that would make it easier to see them.

It happened as the farmer was walking over to pick up these fish. This was the point in the storm where the sky would let go of the largest fish. As he was bending over the group of fish that he had discovered, a very large fish hit him with great force on the back of his head. It hit him with enough speed and intensity to actually knock him face down against the ground. Consciousness ebbed away from the farmer for a few moments until he woke up again. It was several minutes before he was able to stand again with enough of his senses to realize that he still needed to gather more fish.

The farmer continued gathering the fish more slowly until well after the storm had ended. Once all of the fish that the family had found were cleaned and salted, they were stored away. Then, the farmer and his family began to get ready to attend the evening’s service in the village’s small Christian church where the entire village would gather to give thanks to the Creator, his Son, and the Great Spirit for being so generous and merciful to them.

As the farmer readied himself for the service, he did notice the pain in his head. It was impossible for him not to notice this pain because of its terrible severity. He had never felt anything like this before. He was not able to feel any of the delight that he usually received from the spectacular late afternoon rainbow that signaled the end of the storm. He also noticed the blurred vision as well as the disturbance in his stomach that made him feel as though he was about to vomit.

The farmer failed to notice all that was happening to me, as well as all of the other cells in his body.

I’m a cell that is located in the big toe of the farmer’s right foot. Actually, I’m one of the thousands of cells in a group that is the rank and file of a very tiny part of the muscle tendon attaching to the tip of the farmer’s big toe, just under his toenail. It is our job to work together to lift the farmer’s toe as he walks. Because we are never seen and we do our job so well, the farmer is not aware that we exist except for the occasion when something falls on us or if he unexpectedly kicks something unseen in the dark.

In spite of the farmer’s lack of awareness of us in his big toe, we are very aware of the farmer’s moment to moment existence. At every moment, each of us is aware of what is happening to all of the other cells in the farmer’s body. Since the moment of the farmer’s conception, each of us contained a complete memory of all that ever happened to any of the cells in the bodies of the farmer’s many Grandfathers and Grandmothers. Our memories extend all the way back to the time when the earth was still young.

Although we are located in a part of the farmer’s body that he tends to forget, we feel as though we are very important to the farmer’s comfortable existence. Without us, he would not be able to walk with balance. The farmer cannot even do so much as chew his food without us having to move into a slightly different position to help him accomplish this and thousands of other tiny, seemingly unimportant yet nevertheless vital movements that make up the farmer’s movements through life and across the landscape in and around Yora.

A horrible and great shock wave had gone through every cell in the farmer’s body the moment that the fish struck the back of his head. Because of this shock wave, all of the other cells in the tendon of the farmer’s big toe had had to instantly shift slightly away from our usual alignment. Accordingly, each time the farmer’s foot landed on the ground after that, it was with greater velocity and less balance.

Because the farmer was no longer walking in balance, the effort of walking to church that evening began a slow, subtle process of causing each of us in the tendon of the farmer’s big toe to change shape. We work together best when we are in the shape of a very long teardrop. Because of the effect of the shock wave and the loss of balance, each of us had been forced to shrivel up at our ends somewhat to correctly carry the farmer around as he walked. On the farmer’s right side, this process was happening to every cell from his toes to his head. We had all become slightly swollen in the middle part of each cell.

At the same time, the cells on the left side of the farmer’s body had changed shape as well. They had all become rather elongated, flaccid and weak in response to the shock wave and the farmer’s new and unbalanced way of walking.

As a further result of the pounding that we were getting with each step the farmer took, the outside wall of each cell in the tendon in the big toe of the farmer became somewhat tougher and thicker. To provide the energy necessary to perform our normal activities of working, we each need to take in the air and food from the blood cells as they passed nearby to kiss us. During the kiss, we receive the oxygen and sweetness from them and give them the carbon dioxide and sour acid that is then carried from us back to the cells in the liver, lungs and heart of the farmer. Because of the thickening that each one of us in the tendon in the big toe of the farmer had experienced, we were no longer able to kiss the blood cells as completely as we usually did. Less oxygen and sweetness were getting into us. More carbon dioxide and sour acid was staying around for a longer amount of time in me and all of the other cells in the tendon of the big toe of the farmer.

This began to happen to more and more of the cells in the farmer’s body as the time passed in the farmer’s life. Because the cells became elongated, weak and flaccid in the stomach of the farmer, they were unable to properly digest the fish that fell from the sky as well as they would have liked to; the blood cells then had less and less sweetness to carry. Because of that, all of the cells in the farmer’s body were beginning to slowly starve.

The cells in the farmer’s body began to slowly revolt as a result of the shock wave. We continually were asking the cells in the brain to do something to correct all of the things that were no longer working properly. But, our more and more urgent requests weren’t being heard and responded to by the brain in its usual fashion, since the information wasn’t getting to it completely ever since the fish hit the farmer in the back of his head.

Among the many things in the farmer’s body that the shock wave had caused to go out of balance was the way that the bones in the neck of the farmer were now having to carry the farmer’s head atop his shoulders. The force of the fish striking the farmer had actually been severe enough to twist the first bone in the farmer’s neck around to the right side, which caused it to jam tightly against the bottom of the farmer’s skull. As a result of that, the second bone in the neck of the farmer had tipped up on the left side and was now wedged too tightly against the bottom of the first bone in the neck of the farmer. Then, in an effort to carry the weight of the farmer’s head, the other 5 bones in the neck of the farmer asked the muscles that were attached to their outside edges to become shorter. This caused the bones to move out of their usually smooth, curved placement to balance the mess at the top of the farmer’s neck in an unorganized, and stiff, straight line.

This would have been serious enough by itself, but unfortunately this strange new position of the bones in the neck of the farmer jammed them around so severely that they were now actually pressing against the cells in the stem of the farmer’s brain! Because of this pressure, the cells in the stem of the farmer’s brain were no longer able to do the job of passing along all of the requests for help that the cells in the body of the farmer were desperately attempting to convey up to the brain.

Even though the pain in the farmer’s head had passed during the Thanksgiving services in the village church on the night of the day the fish fell from the sky, the situation that was affecting all of the cells in the farmer’s body continued unabated every second of his life. Because of the twisting of the bones at the top of the farmer’s neck, each of the cells in the body of the farmer became possessed of an awareness that increased with every passing moment. This was the sure knowledge of each of us that the moment we would be taken by the Great Spirit to join Creator and his Son was approaching with greater and greater speed.

Months passed slowly in Yora. The farmer became dimly aware that he no longer quite enjoyed his life as he once did. He no longer had as great a capacity to perform his usual work. The condition of both his land and livestock had steadily deteriorated. The happiness that he had had with his wife and two sons had slowly evaporated due to the shortness of his temper that he had been regularly exhibiting since the day the fish rained from the sky. All he seemed to do now was to find fault where there was none to be found. The joy that he had experienced during the worship services in the small church in the village was no longer evident and had, in fact become no more than an onerous chore for him.

The farmer had considered not going to the village church for its weekly services. He would rather simply stay home and not share his sour mood with the other people who lived in the village. He and his wife quarreled weekly and with increasing meanness the evening before each Service was to occur.

On one Sunday morning, his wife convinced the farmer that he must attend the day’s services in the village church because of the visit from a pastor from the United States. The village pastor had arranged that his small church be included in the circuit of the missionary group visiting from the United States. Reluctantly, the farmer had agreed to attend just this one last time; not because of any strong desire on his part to participate in anything that was happening at the church, but just to keep a little peace at home with his wife and two sons.

The walk to the village church had been painful for the farmer. With each step he took on the dirt path, his body (and all of the cells in it) was subjected to a wrenching pain. He was also filled with feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness to receive any of the message of love and salvation given during the services.

The farmer managed to find a seat in the back of the church without having to look in the eyes of any of his friends and neighbors. Since the Day of the Fishes, the farmer’s shows of anger and hostility toward his fellow villagers had managed to alienate nearly all of those that had formerly loved him. Their attitude toward him had changed from love and respect to one of universal resentment.

The service began with the usual hymns and prayers. The village pastor introduced the visiting missionary minister. Even though he now lived in the United States, the minister was originally from Puerto Rico, so the Spanish words that the minister spoke fell strangely in the farmer’s ears.

In spite of the minister’s different way of talking, the farmer did understand what he was saying as he introduced the other members of the group of people who were visiting from the United States. The group included a couple of other ministers, a barber, and a Doctor of Chiropractic.

The farmer understood the work that the minister was there to do in his church. He also understood when the minister explained that the barber had come to give haircuts to any that wished to receive them. But, the farmer failed to understand the minister when he explained that the Doctor of Chiropractic was there to adjust all of the people in the church.

As the service progressed, the ushers in the church would lead the other villagers out to the front of the church to be adjusted by the doctor. These adjustments would require that the villager be seated in one of the small, wooden, folding chairs that had been taken from the sanctuary of the church. At that point, the doctor, who the villagers had begun to refer to as “Dr. Short and Wide,” would hold a villager’s head in his hands for a moment and then would turn the head to the side quickly.

As the farmer waited his turn, he noticed that the other villagers would smile happily after this had been done. The farmer then observed that they would have a certain sparkle in their eyes that no longer looked at him with the same judgment and malice that he had become accustomed to seeing over the course of the past months.

Dr. Will Brooks On Mission

The farmer sat in the chair. He watched intently as Dr. Short and Wide would lay his hands on the heads of the villagers in the other chairs. After a few moments, Dr. Short and Wide was standing next to the farmer. As he placed his hands at the base of the farmer’s skull, he whispered “Relax, Brother” to the farmer in rather garbled Spanish. He lifted up the farmer’s chin just a little and turned his head quickly to the left side.

The farmer was amazed to hear the noise that this had made. The fear that the farmer felt at the moment he heard the noise passed quickly. The farmer was unable to be afraid because of the joy he was feeling again as an indefinable shimmering cascade of lightness went through his body from above down to all of the cells in his body.

In due time the service in the church ended. The missionaries traveled on to the next village and the routine of Yora returned to a certain comfortable sameness. The shape of all of the cells, and mine, in the tendon of the big toe of the farmer returned to our long, teardrop shape. The pounding that the farmer was causing all of the cells in his body to endure as he walked stopped, as he now walked again in balance. The cells in the muscles of the farmer’s neck were finally able to relax because the first bone in the farmer’s neck was no longer jammed so tightly against the bottom of the farmer’s skull. The air that the farmer breathed was able to kiss me and the other cells in the tendon of the big toe of the farmer deeply again. The sweetness of life had returned to the farmer.

The other villagers came to regard the farmer with respect for the first time in many months. The joy that his family had brought him once more entered his life, as the cells in their bodies felt the pure energy from all of the cells in the body of the farmer wishing them well.

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