Dedicated to my blonde author friend, Lucy, this post was inspired by a friend commented that I was rather phlegmatic in my approach to the new baby. I wasn’t sure what she meant, as, in fact, I feel ecstatic about it. So, I looked it up.
The word comes from Hippocrates, the ancient Greek Father of Medicine. This first doctor believed that our bodies consist of four substances. According to which one prevailed, we could be classified in any of four types, each with its own characteristics.
According to the Internet, this is what each type entails. As we all know, the Internet never lies, so it has to be true. Besides, it’s based on the observation made by Hippocrates himself. So, there.
I’ll bet my friend didn’t mean I’m calm and reliable, though. Probably controlled had more to do with it. Which made me wonder. What might happen when a true Mr. Phlegmatic meets a baby for the first time? Something along these lines, I’d wager.
Mister Phlegmatic Meets the Baby
“So, what can you do?” Mister Phlegmatic asks the baby lying in the wicker Moses’ basket in front of him. He fishes his pipe from his pocket and inserts some tobacco, never lighting it.
The baby coos.
Mister Phlegmatic raises a skeptical eyebrow. “Not impressed so far,” he mumbles to himself.
The baby lets out a startling cry. It continues for over a minute, increasing in volume with each passing second. The glass pane behind Mister Phlegmatic starts to shake, then the glass shatters in a million pieces. This amuses the baby, who stops screaming to stare at the night sky outside.
“Not too bad,” Mister Phlegmatic says as he pries a large piece of glass embedded in his forearm. Blood gushes out, but he ignores it. “Just a flesh wound,” he mutters. He flicks the stained piece outside the broken window. “That the best you can do?”
The baby scrunches up its face, then lets out a relieved sigh as a horrid stench fills the small room.
Mister Phlegmatic raises a hand to his face and takes a step back, towards the shattered window. His brow creases. “I thought the Geneva Convention had banned chemical weapons.” The words come out an incomprehensible mumble, as his fingers pinch his nose. He waits until the cool night breeze from the window dispels the foul cloud hanging in the air like a mummy’s fart. Then, he releases his nose and takes a couple of apprehensive whiffs. Satisfied that the stench is gone, he sucks defiantly at the end of his pipe. “That all, then?”
A second cry causes his ears to pop out of their sockets and land on the floor with a soft plop. “They’ll grow back, no doubt.”
A stream of pale yellow liquid shoots upwards into the air. It splashes against the ceiling, like a mini fountain. It lasts for a minute or two, then the pressure diminishes and the fountain disappears.
“Sorry, old bean,” Mister Phlegmatic says. “There is a statue in Belgium that can do that for far longer.” He shakes his head. “Not terribly impressed so far, I have to say. Looks like all this baby malarkey is nothing more than the usual hype.”
The baby’s lips break into a toothless grin. Silver and gold light fills the room and surrounds them. The sun and the stars play on the ceiling and in the baby’s eyes. A chorus of singing angels descends from above. They play on their harps a melody that almost draws a single tear to Mister Phlegmatic’s eyes, for the first time in decades.
“Not bad,” he says, munching the end of his pipe. “Not bad indeed.”
Exhausted, the baby coos and falls asleep.
Mister Phlegmatic picks it up and heads into the bathroom, while an army of flying monkeys storms into the room. Half of them hold buckets; the rest carry a new window. “Maybe there is something to you after all,” Mister Phlegmatic says, surprise lacing his voice. “Who knew?”
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