Psychically Transferred Phantom Pains

By Wes Parish

sfgenreIt happened on April 1st this year, the most sacred day of the calendar for both the LaLaLanders and the occupying nation, the San Serrifeans. My younger brother Rex had joined the International Volunteers who were organised to fight alongside the LaLaLander Liberation Front against the Royal Democratic San Serrifean People’s Republican Army. The LaLaLanders wanted their prophesied liberator, Donald Frump — a LaLalander by birth and an American extreme patriot by trade born on that most holy day — to return and rule LaLaland. But he wouldn't until they liberated it.

By the way, Donald Frump is viewed as unusually sacred by LaLaLanders on account of having "yesterday" registered as the date of his birth in his Birth Certificate and on his passport. Explains a lot, don’t you think?

You know, I've read about phantom pains. It was part of the curriculum at the Waikato Institute of Technology Medical Department where I studied nursing, specialising in accident and emergency. I've also read up on psychic transference, where someone feels the pain of someone close to them, although that’s not strictly part of the curriculum. Don't tell my best friend Kim — I'll get called Silly Sally, or some such pleasantry...

Anyway, sitting chatting that fool’s day with some friends at lunch, I passed out. My friends told me later I'd gripped my left arm and screamed.

Rex, it seems, had been caught in an ambush. Hiding behind some rubbish bins, he'd raised his left arm to throw something at a San Serrifean patrol, when a San Serrifean soldier had spotted him and quite literally — and bloodily — shot his arm off. Chewed it off with automatic rifle slugs, in fact.

A brief truce was called and the "esteemed foreign guest" surrendered into San Serrifean custody, rushed to hospital and repatriated to New Zealand.

Some time later we were reunited with Rex at home. I mentioned my psychic transference theory, and told him how I'd passed out from the pain of his left arm being shot off.

Mum nodded, and added, "My left arm aches at times, too. I think I must be feeling your phantom pains ..."

My older sister Adel also nodded, and said, "So that's why I've suddenly got these pains in my left arm! I don't like them. But it must be so."

Rex had the grace to look ashamed. Then we all looked to Dad, to see if he had anything to add. He nodded too.

We all sighed.

Without hesitation — poker-faced — Dad said, "So that's the explanation! I've been feeling phantom pains in my wallet."

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About The Author

Wes Parish

Wesley Parish is an SF fan from early childhood. Born in PNG, he enjoys reading about humans in strange cultures and circumstances; his favourite SF authors include Ursula Le Guin, Fritz Lieber, Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Frank Herbert. He lives in Christchurch, NZ, is an unemployed Java and C programmer, and has recently decided to become a mad ukuleleist, flautist and trombonist, and would love to revert to being the mad fiddler and pedal steel guitarist..  "Where oh where has my little pedal steel got to ... ?"

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