DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything you ever heard of in this story.

NOTE: Okay, I just spent 2 weeks in a hospital and all of a sudden this little story popped out of my little head and bit me on the butt. Hehe. Okay, and again, I'm no doctor-scientist-person. So even if bad appendixes aren't hereditary, I'm saying it is. Come on, it's hard to injure an Animorph. They keep remorphing good as new.

Marco –

Jake set up for a very crappy jumpshot. I leaped up and blocked it easily, even though my height was "less than average".

"Come on, Jakey-boy! No wonder you were cut from the team!" I crowed.

"Shut up." He growled. I saw him take a quick glance at Cassie, his "secret" girlfriend. We were at the park court, having a little one-on-one while Rachel and Cassie sat at a nearby picnic table talking all girly.

"Marco is soo hot, I'm just not brave enough to say it." Rachel whispered.

"Ohh yeah, forget Jake, Marco is the man for me!" Cassie agreed.

Okay, maybe they weren't saying that, exactly. I didn't know what they were saying, but in my little world, they were saying THAT. Actually I doubted they were engaging in girl talk, because Tobias and Ax were sitting with them.

"Check." Jake said as he bounced the ball to me. I checked it back to him and he quickly crossed me and sunk an easy lay-up.

Suddenly I started to feel a little queasy. The right side of my stomach was starting to ache a little. I ran my hand over the skin. No bump or anything. But it hurt.

"Marco?" Jake asked. He retrieved his ball and walked towards me.

"What? It's nothing. I just need a little breather." I insisted and sat on the pavement.

"Is Marco okay?" Cassie joined us.

"I think he's hurt." Jake said.

"Nah, I'm great. I'm ready to kick your butt some more, Jakey-boy." I struggled to get up, but a sudden sharp pain caused me to double over on the ground. "Owww!"

"What's wrong with the little dork?" Rachel said, bringing Ax and Tobias along to complete our little "humiliate Marco" circle.

"My stomach. It kind of hurts." I croaked. "Ahhh! Okay, okay, it hurts a lot." I clutched my stomach and squeezed in effort to stop the pain. It just made it worse.

"Where does it hurt?" Cassie leaned in to look.

"Don't get too close, don't want Captain I-Suck-At-Basketball to get jealous." I managed to joke. Rachel rolled her eyes.

"I say we leave the shrimp and go get us some Burger King."

I pointed to the lower right part of my stomach. "It's almost exclusively there. Probably just disagreeing with the mountain of burritos I had for breakfast." I groaned and curled up into a smaller ball.

"Maybe. Or you're having an appendix issue."

"A what?"

"You might need appendectomy." Cassie said simply.

My mouth dropped open. "As in surgery? No one is cutting me open, thank you." I got enough of that from dealing with Hork-Bajir, cutting people open shouldn't happen outside the war, in my opinion.

"Perhaps morphing will rid you of the pain?" Ax suggested.

"It probably will." Cassie nodded. "But sometimes these things are hereditary. It might just happen again. It might actually just be better to just get it removed without any further problem. Appendix surgery isn't as complicated as it used to be."

Leave it to Cassie to be all sensible. I didn't want to go through this again, so I had no choice. Damn genes.

"Okay then. Rach, whip out that cell phone of yours and call 911 before my appendix blows up." I gasped.

"What if they see all the animal DNA in his blood?" Tobias asked.

"I doubt your primitive human technology is specialized enough to detect the morphing technology." Ax huffed.

"Then it's settled. Still, we should send someone over with Marco. Just in case." Jake crossed his arms, losing the goofy kid-look and regaining his leader-look.

It turned out Jake and Cassie had separate family things later that afternoon. That left me with Ax, Rachel, and Tobias as my bodyguards. Ax and Rachel went to find a private place to morph flies, so no one would notice them. Tobias was going to stay human and accompany me.

A half hour later I was lying on a stretcher inside an ambulance. Two small flies were nestled somewhere in my well-conditioned hair. Tobias was ogling at all the medical junk hanging in the back of the ambulance. The paramedic was doing all sort of things to me, none of which were making me feel any better.

"Okay, you relax there, son." The paramedic said, patting my shoulder. I decided to play the role of innocent kid.

"What about my dad?" I asked in a small voice. Tobias concealed a snicker.

"I'll call him when we get to the hospital."

The ambulance ride took a few minutes, so Rachel entertained us by giving way-off impressions of me.

Owie! Oh, my tummy aches! Daddy! Waahh! Rachel mocked me. Please daddy, will you kiss my boo-boo? Waahhh! Tobias was trying desperately to hold in his laughter and the paramedic was staring at him like he was some kind of nutcase.

I had the urge to pluck her little fly body out of my hair and crush it between my fingers. I would have too, if my hands weren't busy clutching my stomach.

Soon we arrived at the E.R. and the automatic doors whooshed open, welcoming me into the crisp, chemical-heavy hospital air. One massive nurse woman with a unibrow and a beard shoved Tobias into a armchair in the lobby.

"You can't go. Stay here." Unibrow ordered him. "What's the boy's name and phone number? Where's his parents? And what's your relation to him?" Tobias was startled. He looked like a little kid who was being pounded for his lunch money.

"Uh - his name's Marco. I'm his close friend. I think his dad is home. His number is. . .is. . ." he stared at me desperately. I tried to mouth my number to him, because I was in too much pain to speak aloud. He didn't get it.

"Um. . .5. . .uh. . .3-no 8. . .um. . ."

Unibrow raised her, well, eyebrow. "You're his friend and you don't know his number? Only friends and family are allowed in here, kid."

Hey what's going on out there? Rachel asked from my hair.

I don't know Marco's number! And the huge hairy nurse is glaring at me! Tobias cried in thought-speak. He was in human morph, after all.

586-2332 Rachel said.

Tobias looked surprised. I did too.

Hey, I memorized EVERYONE'S number, for emergency reasons. Rachel said defensively, sensing that we were surprised. Don't think you're special, Marco.

I decided to remove that last comment from my memory and just enjoy the fact that a pretty girl memorized my phone number. Tobias repeated the number to the nurse and she picked up the phone.

"Hello, is this Mr. . ." I didn't hear the rest of what was said because some paramedics were wheeling me through some double doors and into a new hallway. Tobias tried to follow me.

"Nuh-uh, sonny. You stay right here and wait for your friend's dad." The paramedic said.

Okay Rachel, Ax, you and Marco are on your own. They won't let me through the doors. Maybe I'll morph and join you later. Tobias told them. He returned to the lobby where unibrow sat across from him, glaring. Tobias gulped.

They smashed my gurney through one set of push-open doors to another. Finally they settled me in your standard hospital room with an ugly picture of a flower and a 4-inch television set.

What was all that horrid noise? Ax wondered.

They were pushing Marco through push-open doors, Ax. Rachel told him.

I remember those from the television show E.R. Ax said. But what is the purpose of these easily opened doors? Would it not be more efficient to remove them entirely? They do not serve the purpose of keeping people out.

Because. . .um. . . Rachel tried to explain. She couldn't come up with anything that made sense. Hey Ax, remember how humans always make hotdogs in packs of 8, but buns in packs of 10?


Same reason.


I laughed out loud and the doctor guys looked at me strange. I think I heard one of them whisper "Check his head."

Alright Marco, me and Ax are going to do some flying around. We need to check out the area. Not to mention your scalp reeks of Herbal Essences and we can't breathe. Rachel told me. Don't do anything stupid.

I bit back the urge to say , "Thanks Rachel, I was planning on asking for a marker so I could write 'Hello I can turn into animals.' on the deviously ugly picture of a flower over there, but since you told me not to do anything STUPID, I think I'll just sit here writhing in agony." Oh yeah, and I do NOT use Herbal Essences.

I felt them leave my head, hopefully when the docs weren't looking. One turned to me and smiled. On his nametag read "Norman Penniswiggle". I suppressed a giggle, causing m stomach to feel as if it were imploding.

"Well Marco, it says here you're having stomach cramps?" Dr. Penniswiggle read off the chart.

Duh. Penniswiggly. I nodded. Suddenly Rachel's thought-speak voice filled my head.

Marco, we have a problem. she announced. I saw two flies land unsuspiciously on the frame of the ugly flower.

Marco, these men are controllers. We overheard a human doctor say that this floor was being tested as a new host-recruiting station. They want to make their first controller today. You. Ax summed it up nicely.

I was screwed.

- - -END. Just kidding. This story won't be long. Two chapters, three tops. Just a little thing inspired by my less than pleasant stay at the local hospital a.k.a hellhole. And yes, that ugly-as-sin flower I mentioned is real. It haunted me for 2 weeks at the hospital. . . .and so is Penniswiggle…hehehhehe. Uhm. . .yeah. . .I'll go back to reading my Harry Potter now. . .