The Palisadian-Post is running a selection of winning pieces from the 2020 Pacific Palisades Library Association’s Summer Creative Writing Contest, which featured the theme “Surprise Us!” The following piece was penned by James Marks, who was awarded third place in the Scrawlers category (grades five and six).
“What the heck!” I yelled as I saw that my brother Bob had grown ear worms again, which are little worms that go in and out of the ears. It was disgusting! My parents decided to take Bob to the Witch Doctor to get Bob cured.
My parents know the witch doctor because in this day and age ear worms and other weird medical issues are very common, so each family is assigned a witch doctor to help them.
After the long drive, we finally arrived. The witch doctor’s office was very clean and tidy. Bob sat in front of the witch doctor. She put a worm charm in his ear and told him that in one hour it will fall out with the worms attached. She sat down and said, “since Bob gets ear worms so much you can have the doctoring bell. It makes it so that you ring it and I will arrive immediately. I am warning you, if you ring it when you don’t need me the ringer will be cursed.” Of course, the witch doctor asked about paperwork and past medical history but that is irrelevant now.
In the car ride home, Bob and I got into an argument about where to keep the doctoring bell. Bob said that he should keep the doctoring bell in his room because he was injured, but I said that he was always crying about the tiniest injuries so he would keep getting cursed.
When we got home, we kept fighting and pulled on it. The whole time, we were trying to make sure the other person didn’t ring it. When my dad came to break up the fight, he accidentally rang it while we were holding it. “This can’t be good,” I said. Nothing happened so I thought that we would be fine, and the witch doctor was just playing with us but, how wrong I was.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” I screamed when I realized I woke up in my father’s body. I stared at myself in the mirror, and I thought to myself “I WAS MY DAD!” A moment later, I heard my dad scream as he realized he was in my body. When I went to put on my clothes, I remembered that they wouldn’t fit, so I went to dad’s room to get some clothes. I looked down at my hands and saw how huge they were. My vision was blurry, so I stumbled my way to his room to find his glasses. I realized how horrible this would be. I was so unused to this body that I tripped and stumbled all the way to breakfast. It was uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to be free of my dad’s body.
Luckily, we were still quarantined due to coronavirus, so dad went to my zoom. He only answered questions directed to me. He helped me run his conference calls. He just told me what to do and say. I did my schoolwork and he worked on his slide show. We told mom and Bob that we switched bodies. Bob and mom were very scared and worried but tried to help. The rest of the day went as normal. Later that day, Sheela, my neighbor, asked me to drive her to the market like dad does every Thursday. I had to think quickly because I didn’t know how to drive a car! I said that I had an important meeting and that I’d call her an uber.
We were very scared we wouldn’t switch back and would have to go to the witch doctor. Before we went to bed we decided if we didn’t switch back in the morning, we would go to the witch doctor. We went to bed at our normal times though falling asleep was not an easy thing to do because I had the stress of not switching back weighing heavily on my mind. We finally got tired and fell asleep.
The next morning, I immediately ran to the bathroom mirror and was so thankful when I saw I was in my own body. I gave a sigh of relief and I went to my bedroom drawer to get my own clothes. Dad and I each realized that the other person had more work than each of us thought and we had to have more sympathy for each other. We all put it aside as a bad dream. Being an adult was not easy!
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