Few people worked in snow country, America. Few worked because the snow started a long time ago. The day after Alphus turned eleven there was a snow day, and no one had to go to school or work. The same thing happened the day after that and every day since. If anyone needed work to be done, they hired someone from the next town over. It snowed there too, but only when it was seasonally appropriate.
Snow country was a snow-locked snow-infested snow-clad snow country. And in the next town over, Alphus’s sister was heavy with child. The prepostery! The nerve! Alphus thought upon his discovery of the human reproductive system. It was too messy and otherworldly, and who had the right, really, to come crawling out of anyone else?
Once, when Alphus was eating an apple, he did not stop at the delicious sticky rubbing-alcohol cool flesh of the fruit, but continued to eat through the pale and sour core until the stem was all that was left.
Oh no. He thought. He imagined the accidentally consumed seeds germinating and enlarging in his stomach. A sapling would start growing out of the top of his head; a pond with tiny goldfish would form beside it. In the spring, with its first blossom, people would come have picnics under it. In the desolation of night, couples would make love.
One night, he had a dream that his stomach was ballooning as if he had gorged for days or as if a person from another dimension was trying to use his intestines as a portal into this world. He grew and grew in pain, his skin not sufficiently elastic. He struggled to a mirror. Through the hole of his gaping belly button he saw the hard shiny green of a granny smith apple. (This perplexed him as he had swallowed the seeds of a red delicious.) You can imagine his dismay when he saw his sister in a similar condition.
How could the world be so deviant, he wondered. And to my sister!
“I have a baby growing inside of me, Alphus.” Suzan had told him. “A little person.”
Alphus imagined the cramped up little person supposedly inhabiting the skin of his sister. Something comprised of mostly limbs with gigantic elbows and knees. Two protruding eyes sat atop one of the bony stake-like arms. A parasite, an intruder.
Life inside of life, Alphus thought. How disgusting.