“Final question, okay?” asked the clinical interviewer. She glanced at her clipboard. “What would you say you are most afraid of?”
Phil clicked his tongue. “That’s easy. A worm stampede.”
The interviewer rechecked her notes and frowned. “Is that really your answer?”
Phil noticed her displeasure. “Ever seen one?”
“I can’t say that I have.”
“Let me tell you, they’ll shake you down to your boots. Those wrigglin’ critters don’t miss a chance to make their own worm food. I work at a worm farm, so I know,” said Phil.
The interview paused for a second, then wrote something down.
“A buddy o’ mine died in one back in ’08. Left behind a wife and baby girl. I was the one who found his body. I still get nightmares,” shuddered Phil.
The shoulders of the interviewer shook, but she was able to hold it together. “How does that work exactly?”
Phil’s eyes drifted off into space. “It’s kinda like spaghetti coming alive. But much worse.”
“I can’t visualise that,” replied the interviewer. Shaking her head, she suppressed a laugh.
“There’s a lot of slime. And screaming. Oh, the screaming.”
“Who screams? The worms?”
Phil glared at the interviewer. “Worms can’t scream. Are you makin’ fun of me?”
“No,” stammered the interviewer.
“Then why are you laughin’?”
“It’s not that. It’s just, well, not exactly a common occurrence. I’ve never even heard of this before.”
Phil was visibly shaken. “Look, I know it’s not as glamourous as meal cricket farming, but it’s just as dangerous as farming cockroaches.”
“I’m sorry. It caught me off guard.”
“That’s how it happens. You take ‘em for granted one second, next thing you know it’s nightcrawler hell.”
The interviewer did her best to keep a straight face. “That certainly sounds terrifying.”
“Believe it, lady,” warned Phil. “Just ‘cause you never heard of it before doesn’t make it any less deadly.”
“That’s good advice,” admitted the interviewer.
Phil poked at the ground with his toe. “There’s danger everywhere.”
The interviewer gathered her notes, then started swatting at a passing bee. “I’m allergic to bee stings.”
Phil nodded his head. “Told ya.”