...with their spleens. Why do you think they have three of them?"
Jade felt her breakfast trying to come up for air. "But... spleens are... How is that..."
"Oh, right, of course." Sara lightly cuffed her own forehead. "You wouldn't know this. Only one of their spleens is an internal organ. The other two are on the outside, about where a primate's arms and hands would be, and they have opposable--"
Jade was turning green. "I... think I get the idea, thanks. Why don't we cut this convo short so you don't have to shower after I've just used the bathroom to...y'know. Urp.
Sara cringed. "Sorry. And you're right; I'd better get ready."
That afternoon, Sara had her first 3Bad class, Introduction to Eukaryotean
"From my experience," said Professor Ellen DeGenus, "there are different reasons that some of you are taking this course. For some, it may be a simple reading error, and you thought you'd enrolled in Intro to European
"...Damn it," said a handful of students, who gathered their belongings and headed out.
DeGenus smiled patiently. "Nothing to be ashamed of. Happens every time this course is offered. --For rather more of you, the reason you're here is simple curiosity. 'Aren't all humans eukaryotes?' you may ask. 'And what eukaryotes besides
humans have ever written anything?' Anyone care to take a guess?"
Sara raised her hand.
"Yes? Please introduce yourself."
"I'm Sara Kim. And in fact, I know of a few eukaryotes back in my hometown who've written some noteworthy literature. (Well, noteworthy to their own species, at least.) Like Charles Levac, for instance, author of Cat's Cree-Wri Dull
The instructor beamed. "Yes! Good! Not to be confused, of course, with Cat's Cradle
by the human author Kurt Vonnegut. Where are you from, Ms. Kim?"
"Why am I not surprised! There are so many non-human eukaryotes of letters in Belleville, that you come to this course with a definite advantage. I'll be keeping my eye on you."
Sara grinned. I had no idea our hometown was that well-regarded,
"Now," said DeGenus, "another common question that brings people to this course is, 'Well, sure, other organisms besides humans can, and have, produced works of lasting literary quality. But why group these all together as eukaryotean
literature? Of course
sufficiently intelligent eukaryotes can think abstractly and creatively, and somehow get their ideas down on paper, computer, or rock slime. I mean, their cells have nuclei! Duh.'" The class laughed. "Most people wouldn't expect an infinite number of pro
karyotes at a typewriter, given infinite time, to produce Hamlet
. How could they, most people would ask you. They're nearly all unicellular and lack a nucleus or other membrane-bound organelles. The most they're good for is living inside our intestines and helping with digestion, right?" More laughter.
"Well, folks, most people are wrong. The fact is that more than a few particularly gifted bacteria and archaea have produced notable works of Earth literature. In fact, some were doing so over a billion years before the Epic of Gilgamesh
. Although we won't be covering it in this class, to be sure, one such belatedly-recognized classic is the epic bacterial love story known as...