Character Development, Cryptozoology, For Kids, Magical Realism, Short Story, Writerly Tips

The Cyclops boy – A short story

When a young Cyclops medical student from the Cryptid College of Medicine interviewed for the job at the human Children’s Hospital, the interviewer looked down his nose at him. The boy was a young genius.
“Mr. Coral- here at the Children’s Hospital, we accept only the best in the field. We are ranked 3rd in the nation and we are not about to hire someone for this internship who can’t keep up with the rigor of the program. I’m sorry but you simply aren’t a good fit for us. You literally don’t possess one of the major requirements…of being human to enter this program. You also are way too young.”

“I don’t look like much, but I assure you that I have passed every test and I excel in all of my classes. I want to learn everything there is to know about human pediatric medicine.”

“Is there not an internship for your kind at your school?” The interviewer asked.”

“I want to work with human children, Dr. Jeffries, not monsters. It’s been a passion of mine since I was a little kid.”

“You are a little kid.” Said Dr. Jeffries, unimpressed. “Well then, Mr. Coral, you must know everything there is to know about the human body.”

“Yes, and even some parts of the human body that most humans themselves don’t know.”

“Try me,” said Dr. Jeffries, intrigued. He was a renowned Physician. He was annoyed that he had recently been assigned the task of overseeing the internship interviews. Like most highly intelligent people, he wanted to use his skills for things he found important and these interviews were a waste of his valuable time. Part of him wanted to let this kid into the program out of spite. He did appreciate passion though and Coral seemed to have enough to keep Jeffries’ interest for the moment. The doctor waited.

“I will name ten parts of the body that most humans have never heard of.” Coral repeated awkwardly. Dr. Jeffries looked at his watch.

“I’m waiting, Mr. Coral, but my patience is growing thin.”

Coral went to the white board and tested the marker to make sure that it was working. “It’s fresh…this must be new.” Coral said nervously. He cleared his throat and then wrote the first word on the board. He continued to explain each just like he had memorized from the human Oxford Dictionary.

1. hallux

“This is the technical word for your ‘big toe’. It stems from Latin and began to be commonly used in the mid-19 century. On the opposite side (of the foot), the little toe is called the minimus.” Coral said, but Dr. Jeffries looked bored.

2. purlicue

“Although a rare word, purlicue is a term for the space between the forefinger and thumb, originally used in the North of England. It’s thought to derive from the Scots term pirlie, meaning ‘curly’ or ‘twisted’, and is also used as a synonym for curlicue: a term in calligraphy to describe curls in a person’s writing.” Coral said. Dr. Jeffries looked at the purlicue of his dominant hand.

“Interesting.” Dr. Jeffries said. Coral felt encouraged so he went on.

3. fraenum

“A fraenum is a small ligament that restricts movement between body parts. The most obvious example is the fraenum which attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, or the lip to the gum. It comes from the Latin fraenum which means ‘bridle’ – that same idea of restrained movement. It is also spelled frenum, and the more common term is frenulum.” Coral said, waiting for a reaction.

“Well, go on Mr. Coral. I promise you, that you won’t tell me anything that I haven’t already studied myself. Though I am curious to see what else is on your list.”

4. gowpen

“This is the hollow that is formed when the two hands are placed together to create a bowl shape. It originates from the Old Norse gaupn.”

“YA-aawn….” said Dr. Jeffries.

5. uvula

“The uvula is the fleshy extension that hangs at the back of the mouth above the opening of the throat. This is a body part that we share with some other primates; for instance, baboons have small, underdeveloped uvulae. You might wonder whether it actually has any purpose but actually, it has a few! The uvula helps to close the nasopharynx during swallowing, so that no food can enter the nasal passage. It also causes the initiation of the gag reflex if stimulated, and is also used to articulate a range of sounds in speech, such as the guttural R used in French.”

Dr. Jeffries stood up from his desk, pushed in his chair and left the room without a word. Coral didn’t know if he should proceed, but no one immediately came in, so he wrote out the rest of the list with explanations. I will not let him scare me off. He said to himself.

6. philtrum

“…This term refers to the vertical groove between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip. Interestingly, it comes from the Latin word philtrum which initially means love-potion’ or ‘love-charm’ and only started being used in English for the body part in the 17 century. In most mammals, such as dogs, the philtrum is used to carry moisture from the mouth through capillaries to the nose, in order to keep it wet – a wet nose traps odor particles better than a dry one, and so this enhances smell. Of course, this function isn’t necessary in humans.” Coral wrote.

7. gynaecomastia

“The condition that causes the swelling of a man’s chest tissue, usually caused by hormone therapy or imbalance.” Coral laughed to himself about this one because his best friend Blue had gynaecomastia and was teased endlessly about it.

8. canthus

“Stemming from Latin, and from the Greek word kanthos, this word refers to the point in the inner or outer corner of the eye where the upper and lower eyelids meet. It was first used in the mid-17th century.” Coral touched the area called the canthus on the inner part of his one eye and it stung a little from the muck on his fingers.

9. gnathion

“This is the lowest point of the jawbone, so the most outward pointing part of the chin. It comes from the Greek word for ‘jaw’ with the –ion suffix added to it, and only came into usage in the late 19th century.” Coral sighed.

“Okay, last one…”

10. glabella

He looked around the room and saw that no one had come in yet… “The glabella is the smooth part of the forehead, between and directly above the eyebrows. The term comes from the Latin glaber, meaning ‘without hair, smooth, bald’. It is used medically to test for dehydration, as the skin becomes wrinkled and shrivelled when dehydrated.”

Coral wiped at his sweaty glabella with his forearm. Marker was on his fingers and on his face. He left the room, turning off the lights as he left. He saw Dr. Jeffries as he moved through the busy hallway of the hospital. Jeffries didn’t even look in his direction.

Two weeks later, Coral received an email that told him he had been accepted into the program. ‘SHOWS PROMISE,’ the notes section read. It was signed by Dr. Jeffries. Coral couldn’t believe it.

“I did it, Blue!” Coral said to his best friend and roommate.

“Good Job man, I wish I could have gotten that internship. Dude, it’s not going to be easy- but you know everything there is to know about the humans. This program was made for you.”

“Thanks man, I’ll see you later. I have to study. Wanna come?”

“Are you going to the human hospital again to study? I have no idea why you ‘people watch,’ in your free time. What can you learn about their bodies from just watching them walk, talk and interact.”

“You can tell ALOT about a person just by observing them. Then I read about them and interact with them too. It’s the trifecta of learning.”

“You buying lunch? It’s your turn. What do you observe about me?” Blue said.

“Yes, I’m buying lunch. I observe that you are cheap and always hungry!” Coral said.

Coral let Blue go out of the dorm room first and then he leaned in and turned off the lights and shut the door behind them.


If you find this article fun, interesting and informative, let me know in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

8 thoughts on “The Cyclops boy – A short story”

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