Tom felt terribly sick, as if he had swallowed glass, just like that man he saw on That’s Incredible! He wondered if that man ever felt this way? Did his stomach feel hard, like a rock, on the outside, and sharp, like fire, on the inside; like hell’s gumball?
Tom sat there staring at the wall that was spotted with antique silhouettes of his ancestors, their profiles rigid and stern looking, wondering if they ever felt this way? Did he inherit this gene from one of those silhouettes? Could he see, in one of those cut pieces of black paper – a mere shadow of his relative – the same expression of pain that besieged his face and caused lines to form where there had been none before?
Tom had a notion to rise and cross the room to get a closer look at the silhouettes, to see if he could discern any sign of pain in the cutouts of his ancestors, but the slight press of his hand against the arm of the chair caused his stomach to spew daggers in all directions and he let out a howl that could have woke the silent silhouettes, and did indeed wake the neighbor’s dog.
It was just after that moment, that moment of unspeakable pain, that Tom decided to become a vegetarian and resolved to have his picture taken, in full color, with an expression on his face that would tell his descendants, undeniably, that yes, one of their ancestors felt their pain.