Thursday, March 24, 2011

This is the English version of the story.
The Latvian version follows right after it.

© Eso Anton Benjamins
Story originates at

Issue 1: Wormeling Beginnings 1


The appearance of ļife
in a warm refrigerator
in the White House basement


Not so long ago a light bulb burned out in a White House. The refrigerator stood in the kitchen in an important place—not far from the kitchen stove.

The cook had the door of the refrigerator always at hand. It was important that the White House Staff, including the President, had their favorite munchies at hand. As it happened, often such munchies (as, for example, ice cream) needed to be stored in the refrigerator.

When the cook noticed that the refrigerator light bulb no longer worked, he asked the kitchen supply clerk to buy a new one. The clerk said he would do so.

Nevertheless, the supply clerk, whose name was Tom, had certain ideas of his own.

The White House kitchen was one of the few places where the government worked perfectly, which is why sometimes there was little to do. This explains why, when Tom was told to get a new light bulb, he decided he would “make work”.

What Tom understood by “make work” was that he would not buy a new light bulb, but buy an entirely new refrigerator. It was no great matter that a refrigerator cost more than a light bulb. The White House had more than enough money for household expenses.

Everything went as Tom planned.

While the cook went into the White House garden to cut a few stalks of onion greens, Tom wheeled the old refrigerator out and replaced it with the new one.

Tom was also smart: the new refrigerator was the exact model of the previous one. Thus, the cook, always a busy man, never noticed that the next time he opened the door of the refrigerator, it was not the same one as had stood there before.

Tom had his good reasons why he was doing all this. He knew that in the basement of the White House there was a cubby space, a long forgotten small room. Tom was planning to turn this room into his resting place during lunch hours and other opportune times. This is why Tom put the old refrigerator into this White House basement room.

Further plans for outfitting his “resting room” included filling the refrigerator with all kinds of items from the delicatessen store, not to mention ice cream and cookies of various kinds. One goodie that Tom liked especially was custard pudding with vanilla sauce on top.

Everything was going ahead nicely. Tom managed to furnish his little hideaway with a sofa and a big screen television set, which was, of course, also hooked up to his computer. Then something unexpected happened.

It happened during the time when a high official of China visited the White House and stayed for dinner. As usual, the White House dinner was an affair done to perfection. Except this time there was one glitch. When the time came for desert and one of the Chinese guests ordered a custard pudding with vanilla sauce, there was no custard pudding to be had. White House runners drove all over Washington, D.C., went to the SE Market, even rushed to Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, which is just across the Potomac River. However, as fate would have it, everyone was out of custard pudding.

Tom was not only fired from his job on the spot, but told that he could not expect a White House recommendation. This was because for the lack custard pudding, there occurred an incident that but for some fast thinking could have turned into an international scandal.

While the guests waited for the custard pudding, the official thought he would tell what he thought was a joke. So, he said (Ha, ha!): “The imperfections of the neo-capitalist system are showing through.”

To which the American high official, not quite understanding the joke, replied, “What about civil rights? You are fifty years behind us.”

Be that as it may, this is why the refrigerator in the White House basement was forgotten.

No one knows just how much time went by. The refrigerator stood in the forgotten room in the White House basement just as all forgotten things so stand. As for the custard pudding that was on the shelf of the refrigerator, things never could have been better.

Tom had not plugged the refrigerator to electricity, its door was closed, and it was warm inside. The refrigerator and the custard pudding presented no danger to the White House. Best of all, the pudding was in no danger of being eaten by anyone.

Nevertheless, things do not stay still for ever. One day the custard pudding sprouted a green mold. The mold spread over the top of the pudding dish, and soon the dish looked as if it had sprouted a beard.

This small event, noticed at first by no one, was destined to become a historical moment of great importance.

You see, such a beard of mold is as natural to a dish filled with custard and vanilla sauce on top as it is for a forest to grow in a swamp. This is where the wild things have their opportunity to grow and develop. In the case of an abandoned custard pudding, when the weather is favorable, all kinds of wild molecules run between the stems of mushrooms (which is what a mold is about).

So it happened that on an especially warm day, the wild molecules running about the top of the custard pudding arranged themselves in such a way that they created a Wormeling .

The first Wormeling born was round and bald, that is to say, naked.

The Wormeling lay where it appeared. It had no thoughts of moving. Why should it, given that its stomach was directly connected to custard pudding?

Soon another Wormeling was born. He lay right beside the first one.

The circumstances now changed a little. Lying next to each other gave the Wormelings opportunity to give each other a nudge once in a while. Of course, this was not any great event; nevertheless, it was better than nothing.

Then a third Wormeling was born.

This surprised all the Wormelings, because they discovered that they all could count to three. Still, this, too, was no great event. They all were still round, bald, and naked in the green grass of the mold, could count to three, and give each other a nudge once in a while.

Then a fourth Wormeling was born. Now he was different.

The fourth Wormeling was born with what we now call a “wriggler”. This was something that none of the previous Wormelings had.

What is a wriggler? This is a case when a picture tells more quickly than words. To explain a wriggler in words is to say that it is like human legs stretched out and resembles a coiled spring. When a wriggler gets a vibration, it wriggles.

The first three Wormelings were envious of the wrigglers of the fourth Wormeling. Every evening when they said their prayers, they addressed the Great All with a request that come morning, they would all awaken with wrigglers for feet.

The prayers of the Wormelings were only half answered. What happened was that the fourth Wormeling overheard what the first three were praying for and made them an offer hard to refuse.

“Greetings, my Wormeling brethren,” said the fourth Wormeling. “I have an idea. I can make wrigglers at will. If you pay me $100 for each wriggler, your problems will be solved.”

This was indeed a brilliant idea, but for one thing. Where would the Wormelings find money? Money does not grow on trees, it cannot be found in trash, and it cannot be printed, because printing can be done only by the federal printing office, which is tied in red tape.

It seemed that the brilliant idea, too, would go to mold. The fourth Wormeling began to worry that his hopes to start a “Wriggler Shop” would go bankrupt before he ever got to founding the shop. Though he was willing to drop the price of a wriggler from $100 to $50, the problem was that no one had money; and wrigglers cannot be manufactured simply for nothing.

A dream came to the rescue.

Because the Wormelings spent most of their time lying in the grass, they had lots of time to dream. This is why one of the dreams that they dreamt brought them to a pile of gold. The pile of gold was at the bottom of a deep black hole, but this was no problem, because such a black hole exists inside everyone’s head.

Moreover, the Wormelings discovered that if they concentrated their minds on the gold and let their eyes roam freely, the eyes almost always found what they were looking for.

The next question was if the gold was real and how did it finds its way to the basement of the White House? Above all, could the Wormelings make use of it.

The short of the answer is: Yes! The gold was accessible. Interestingly, the buyer of wrigglers had to do no more than assure the seller that “the gold is in the cellar”. This made the gold as good as in one’s pocket.

The fourth Wormeling soon had his “Wriggler Shop”. Indeed, with wrigglers available at half price, the birthrate of Wormelings increased so much that the shop was soon renamed “Wriggler Super Chain Store”.

The entire refrigerator was seized by a feeling of great happiness.  Business was booming. Wormelings were having all kinds of Wormeling fun, which meant that many of them often stood on their heads.

Then a great big WHIZZ BANG! was heard. It was but a moment, and the great happiness and fun changed into misfortune.

While everyone had been happy, one too many happy events brought all happiness down to Earth. There were, plainly put, too many Wormelings inside the refrigerator. A great number of them let everyone else know their concern by shouting: “Let us out! Let us out!” Of course, no one had the slightest idea what “out” meant. The door of the refrigerator had been closed for who knows how many weeks or months. No one inside the refrigerator had any idea that it and they were in the basement of the White House.

Most Americans likely think that if they are unlucky, but are at the same time in the basement of the White House, in reality they are lucky. This is what the Wormelings thought, which is why they called for a conference of experts to solve their problem. The experts conferred and announced their solution: Let every Wormeling sell one of their wrigglers, because with only one leg, Wormelings will move by half slower. There was considerable logic to the advice, because during the glory of Sale! days at the “Wriggler Super Chain Store”, everyone had bought themselves at least two wrigglers, each its own color.

Unfortunately, the ‘experts’ solution was no solution. There were so many wrigglers up for sale that the price crashed. “Wriggler Super Chain Store” went bankrupt.

With the last of their savings, Wormelings called yet another conference, this time of their Smartest Heads. These put their heads together and thought so hard that the roof of the refrigerator threatened to catch fire. When still no results were forthcoming, one Wormeling exclaimed so all would hear: “Perhaps the real truth is that the Chinese are fifty years ahead of us!”

“No! No, no!” cried all the Smartest Heads. “The White House is at the centre of the world!” How the Smartest Heads suddenly knew that they were in the White House no one knows to this day. But they cried “The White House” for sure.

All this happened at the moment the President had come into the White House kitchen to get an ice cream. The cry of the Smartest heads inside the refrigerator carried up the stairs into the White House kitchen. When the President heard the words “The White House is at the centre of the world!” he got goose bumps.

“Who is singing that nice song?” the President asked the head cook.

“Frankly, I do not know,” answered the cook, “but it sounds like it is coming from the basement.”

“Well, then let us go and take a look,” said the President.

Thus it happened that the door to the refrigerator that had for so long been the home of the Wormelings was opened by the President himself. Let Freedom ring!

“We are out! We are out!” cried all the Wormelings as they rushed out of the refrigerator. Oh, free at last!

[This is where the first chapter of the story ends. The editor can perhaps ad that the cook of the White House got very angry at the Wormelings and shouted at them: “This is President Super John, his name is not ‘We are out!’” The next installment will have some news of what happened to the Wormelings next.]

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