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Cures for Hiccups

Rachel Rodman--at rachelrodman.com--is the author of the food-themed collection Exotic Meats and Inedible Objects Madness Heart Press. This is her fifth appearance in Daily Science Fiction.

1.Breathe: In. Out.
2. Breathe backwards: Out. In.
3. Retrieve a loved one from the underworld. But this time:
Don't look back.
4. Retrieve a loved one from the underworld. But this time, really--really, really--don't look back.
5. Don't look back!
6. Rip out your throat, dramatically, as if you have made a discovery bearing upon some horrific transgression; rip out your throat, the way that Oedipus ripped out his eyes.
7. Drink a glass of water: Slurp. Swallow.
8. Drink a glass of water backwards: Swallow. Slurp.
9. Have sex, semi-unwittingly, with one of Oedipus' close relatives.
10. Suspend time.
11. Go back in time to the early stages of the vertebrate respiratory system, and make some directed modifications which, later in evolutionary time, will bear upon the human propensity to hiccup. And which, hopefully, will reduce the length of this particular bout, without (beware of paradoxes! beware of time loops!) preventing it altogether.
12. Restart time.
13. Run through a time loop. Fast as you can.
14. Run through a time loop--backwards.
15. Gargle salt water.
16. Gargle seltzer water.
17. Both hiccup and do not hiccup.
18. Half hiccup, and then one-quarter hiccup, and then one-eighth hiccup... until?
19. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and pop a balloon--Bang!
20. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and sketch the latest climate change predictions, together with a steep graph of rising sea levels. Then, in a gray, hopeless tone, have your friend ask: "What now?"
21. Solve the Sphinx's riddle.
22. Solve the Sphinx's riddle--backwards.
23. Be that barber from Russell's Paradox, who--between hiccups--both shaves and does not shave himself.
24. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and shoot you--Bang!
25. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and shoot you--backwards. Gnab!
26. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and both shave you and not shave you.
27. Say to the Sphinx, cannily, flirtily, and between hiccups: "I have a riddle for you."
28. Get mauled by the Sphinx.
29. Retrieve a loved one from the underworld, backwards. But this time: Be sure to look back.
30. Look back!
31. Kiss a dragon, smoky and sweet--first kiss.
32. Kiss a dragon, toothy and tonguey and with third-degree burns--bad kiss.
33. Count to three.
34. Count to a million.
35. Have sex with a dragon. (Good sex!)
36. Have dissatisfying sex with a dragon. Where the dragon comes way before you and then goes immediately to sleep, exhaling smoke as he snores. And you're like, "Um...?" and you poke him questioningly, amid your hiccups, between his bejeweled ribs, until he finally opens one baleful, bleary eye, and says, "What?"
37. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and bring you back from the underworld (forwards or backwards).
38. Marry the good dragon.
39. Marry the bad dragon.
40. Have sex with one of Oedipus' distant relatives--backwards.
41. Retrieve Schrodinger's cat from the underworld. But this time: Don't open the box.
42. Don't open the box!
43. Allow a vampire to turn you.
44. Turn a vampire to the Dark side.
45. Have sex with a distant vampire relative who has been turned to the Dark Side.
46. Get Christopher Robin to sneak up behind you and call you a "silly old bear."
47. Bewilder your hiccups with reverse psychology--That is what Tiggers do best.
48. Bewilder your hiccups with reverse psychology--backwards.
49. Invite Christoper Robin to a tea party.
50. Invite Christoper Robin to your 111th birthday party. As a prank, place the One Ring of Sauron on your finger, and attempt to sneak away, while forgetting (somehow!) that invisibility is not going to render your persistent hiccups any less noticeable. And when (inevitably!) your hiccups out you anyway, have Christopher Robin waggle his finger in your direction, then snatch you up playfully (if a little awkwardly; remember: he can't see you), tickle your plump, honey-filled tummy, and call you a "silly old hobbit."
51. Use the Force.
52. Count all the grains of sand in all the beaches in all the world--backwards.
53. Fail to invite the Nozgul to your 111th birthday party...then suffer the Nozgul's curse.
54. Sleep for 100 years--That is what Tiggers do best.
55. Make out with Prince Charming, sweet and slow. Hiccup, kiss. Hiccup, kiss.
56. Make a pilgrimage to the Oracle of Delphi.
57. Make out with Prince Charming, fast. Hiccup. Tongue, tongue, tongue. Hiccup.
58. Rip out your malfunctioning, persistently hiccuping diaphragm and cast it into the depths of Mt. Doom, where it was forged.
59. Write an earnest letter to Santa Claus in which you explain that all you'd really like for Christmas this year is to stop hiccuping.
60. Capture a Heffalump.
61. Summon the dead and exchange your malfunctioning, persistently hiccuping diaphragm with them. (But don't look back!)
62. Summon the Unborn and the Not-Yet-Conceived and exchange your malfunctioning, persistently hiccuping diaphragm with them. (But don't look forward!)
63. Summon the Never-Weres and the Never-Will-Bes and exchange your malfunctioning, persistently hiccuping diaphragm with them. (Don't look at all!)
64. Shoot your friend--Bang!
65. Divorce a dragon. That is what Tiggers do best.
66. Gargle mercury.
67. Gargle lead.
68. Gargle arsenic.
69. Gargle the periodic table.
70. Get mugged by a roving band of the Not-Yet-Conceived and the Never-Will-Bes, who weren't satisfied--little punks--with your diaphragm, but who also took your wallet and your phone.
71. Tell the hiccups that you are actually their father.
72. Tell the hiccups that you are actually Luke's father.
73. Open the Door to Narnia--hiccup bouts pass faster there.
74. Open the Door to Heaven to all those who believe in You--hiccup bouts are deintensified, if they are shared.
75. Get a friend to sneak up behind you and tell your hiccups that they are actually Luke's father.
76. Inform your hiccups that your name is Inigo Montoya, and that they should prepare to die.
77. Write an earnest letter to the Oracle of Delphi in which you explain that all you'd really like for Christmas this year is to stop hiccuping.
78. Shoot a Heffalump--Bang!
79. Answer the Sphinx's newest riddle: What hiccups--on four legs, on two, on three? And what, for whatever else about the situation is altered, never ceases to hiccup?
"Humankind," you say, too quickly, too confidently.
But, as the Sphinx smiles and backs you farther down the path--and as you beg for time--and the cliff face crumbles beneath you, and you spin through the air, then collide with the water; as you are drawn down into the raging whirlpool of that terrible sea beneath and the Sphinx's distant smile fades forever from view, you realize that the correct answer is far more specific than that-
It's you.
80. Hold your breath.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, January 7th, 2022


Author Comments

#50 always works for me.

- Rachel Rodman
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