There was only one thing left to do.
Shelly unscrewed the lid and swallowed two mouthfuls of cherry wine. She’d chosen that particular bottle, hoping it would taste like kool-aid. It didn’t. Her entire face puckered and Shelly set the bottle on the counter so her hands would be free to flap at her face as if she were a southern belle with a sudden case of the vapours. The moment passed, and Shelly couldn’t help but wonder why anybody would ingest alcohol voluntarily, let alone to excess.
She eyed the wine. She’d consumed less than a quarter of the bottle. She frowned. Shelly had been instructed to consume at least half a bottle that evening, working her way up to two bottles a night over the course of a week. It seemed an impossible task. Shelly gagged down an additional three mouthfuls. It was like any medicine, choke it down and get it over with.
The alcohol was a supernova in her belly, propelling waves of heat through miles of soft tissue. Shelly took the remaining wine, wove her way into the living room and sat down beside a pile of books in front of the fire. She picked up a medical pamphlet and giggled. It wasn’t funny, but the neurotoxin was making her giddy. Shelly read the pamphlet for probably the hundredth time that day.
Malignant Cerebral Hypertrophy, commonly known as Hyperintellectualism, is a rare pathologic state of knowledge acquisition in which affected individuals compulsively amass knowledge such that their brain assumes the phenotype of a tumor. The pseudotumor preferentially utilizes body energy stores resulting in symptoms typically associated with malignancy ie: fatigue, weight loss, and night sweats.
First line treatment consists of behavioral modification, including withdrawal of stimulating activities (ie: cessation of reading) and substituting less intense undertakings. Video games and movies are both safe, effective alternatives. In more advanced cases, medical intervention may be necessary, requiring administration of alcohol, marijuana or other medications previously considered “recreational.” Rarely, surgery may be required.
If left untreated, MCH is universally fatal.
Shelly let the pamphlet flutter to the floor. Live dumb or die smart. What kind of choice was that? She swallowed another mouthful of cherry wine. It didn’t taste as awful as it had half an hour ago. She grabbed a book from the pile. The Collected Works of William Shakespeare.
“Sorry, Bill. But it’s either you or me. You understand.” Shelly tossed the book into the fire. She wept as pages curled and all the bard’s magnificent wordsmithery was reduced to ash. He was followed by Chaucer. Sagan. Poe. And Darwin. Shelly fed books into the fire until the wine bottle and bookshelves were empty.
Just after ten, as she watched the last traces of Grey’s Anatomy transforming into black carbon, Shelly’s phone vibrated. A text message from her mother read: How’d it go at the doctor’s this afternoon?
Shelly typed back: Remember when you said I was too smart for my own good?