The Bolt

This is by Lee Daniel Quinn. It was posted on egroup’s Shaggy dog listserv.

On day, in a Lumberville, a small town deep in the heart of the midwest, the pregnant wife of a local farmer was delivered of a beautiful baby boy. However, the obstetrician immediately whisked the baby off to the intensive care section of the hospital and warned the nurse in attendance not to tell anyone — even the mother — the reason for moving the child.

The doctor (Oliver B. Natinsky, known as Nat to his colleagues) got on the phone and called many of his associates in the field to come to Lumberville General (LG) for a conference. Nat, in an attempt to keep the press out of the situation, refused to tell his colleagues the reason for his request except to say that it had to do with a newborn he had just delivered.

Later that day, seven top obstetricians met at LG and examined the newborn. After about 3 hours of intensive examination and another 3 hours of heated discussion, they went as a group to visit the distraught mother.

Nat explained in the most scientific of terms that her son (who was to be named Howard after her husband’s rich uncle in Tracton, Utah, who struck it rich by selling supplies to local silver miners) had an most unusual birth defect — he was born with a silver bolt in his navel!

To calm down the horrified mother, the doctors explained that — while they could not find (after hours of testing) any reason for the existence of the bolt — Mother Nature never did *anything* without a reason. While, at this moment, the scientists could find nothing to account for this unusual birth, medical science was advancing at such a rapid pace that it was most likely that some researcher would come up with an answer. However, he said quite firmly, *until the time came* when medical science could find a reason for the bolt, they would do nothing.

The mother was told that each year she should bring Howard to the Midwest University (MU) and he would be examined using the latest diagnostic tools.

[Here, dear reader, I have cut out the narrative that went with each year’s examination. No, no — don’t thank me! It was very rich with the fruits of the author’s imagination. However, you are free to embellish this story at this point if you have the narrative skills.]

When Howard was 21, he decided to marry. He went to Doc Nat and explained that he was ashamed of the silver bolt in his navel — the boys kidded him through his school life — and he begged the doctor to remove the bolt. “Besides,” he said, “it might scratch my new bride.”

Nothing the boy said could convince Dr. Nat. He said, as he did each year, “there must be some reason for that bolt and, until we find that reason, it cannot be removed.”

Howard was so distraught that he went to a local watering hole and sought the freedom of the bottle. Unfortunately, this led him to gradually become an alcoholic and Howard soon went rapidly downhill.

[Again, at this point, the narrative is cut. However, in summary, it lead to Howard drifting to a waterfront bar in New Your City]

Sitting on a barstool in this smoke-filled and dimly lit room, the head of the silver bolt rubbing against the beer-soaked rim of the bar, Howard looked up in his alcoholic haze and noticed a strange dark-complexioned fellow sitting next to him. His head was swathed in a dirty turban, he had a prominent hooked nose, and his left eye was covered with a ratty- looking patch.

As was his wont in a situation such as this, Howard began to tell his tale of woe and loathing to this strange looking man. Abdool just listened patiently to the young man’s tale and remarked that his story was not so unusual. In India, where he came from, there are many such strange things that happen every day. Abdool said, “come with me, young gentleman, and I will take you to my guru who, I’m sure, can provide you with a cure for your ailment.”

[Another opportunity for embellishment while they seek out the guru]

Guru Watabanabe Narombaa listened to Howard’s sad odyssey and immediately offered to help relieve him of this navel burden. “Here,” he said offering Howard a curiously shaped glass phial, “drink this potion before you go to sleep tonight, and I guarantee you will be cured in the morning.”

Howard stumbled off into the night and to the run-down rooming house where he was able to get a bed for a buck a night. He drank the fiery liquid down in one gulp, tumbled into bed, and went to sleep immediately.

Almost at once he began to dream. In his dream, a crack in the ceiling opened up and a pale moonbeam came shining through. Soon the moonbeam solidified and became a golden slide. Then, a beautiful fairy, holding a crystal wand, slid down the slide. She waved the wand three times and the wand turned into a pair of golden tongs. She danced over to the bed where Howard lay watching in amazement and quickly drew the silver bolt from his navel, clasped it to her bosom, and took it back with her to Nirvana.

The next morning Howard woke up with a terrific hangover. He remembered the vivid dream and looked down at his torso. The silver bolt was GONE!!!!

Howard leapt from the bed — and his ass fell off.

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