The Cure for Cancer – Ryan Fitzpatrick

The cure for cancer exists. It can be found in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, an intertropical convergence zone in the heart of the country. Due to the minerals and nutrients blown in from both the North and the South Sea, the area is covered in a thick blanket of rainforest, making the region rich in a biodiversity that extends not only to flora and fauna, but to other, harder to classify biota. The…

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A question for Ryan Fitzpatrick

Q: What would your animal totem be?

A: Totem
noun
a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.
(Thanks, the Oxford English Dictionary Online!)

I’m not sure about spiritual significance, but I can tell you that I have a bit of a thing about sloths. Three-toed or two-toed, brown-throated or pale-throated, I love ‘em all, and if you read my short piece “The Cure for Cancer”, you’ll notice that the slow-moving, moss-covered bradypus makes an appearance right there amongst the foliage, brushing up against the eponymous mushroom itself.

A couple of years ago, when I released my first few solo pieces of music into the world (spoiler: I’m not very good), I chose a cartoon picture of a sloth as the track’s ‘album art’. When I should be writing but I begin to doodle instead, it’s a sloth I draw. And, when I worked in Peru, for a few short minutes I was elated to finally see one in the flesh; a disappointingly shapeless brown blob at the top of a distant tree.

Oh well.

I don’t know what it is about them. I love animals in general, and can barely fall asleep without the soothing tones of a nature documentary somewhere in the background. Learning about the natural world is bad ass, and I suppose I could have chosen any animal to rub up against the cure for cancer in my story. But I didn’t.

I chose a sloth. And maybe that’s enough to make it my totem.


Ryan Fitzpatrick’s story “The Cure for Cancer” was published on Friday, 1 December 2017.
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December 2017

MetaphorosisTable of Contents

Cover art by Melissa Kojima.

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