128: Chameleons At The Hamburger Stand

My Mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. -Lana Del Rey

This is not a story about underrated pop icon Lana Del Rey, this is a story about Imogene. Imogene was a normal teenage girl who was a little nerdy and lived in a very normal city.

It is also a story about Frank.

One of the slightly nerdy things that Imogene loved was magic. She spent hours in her room learning how to make handkerchiefs disappear and pulling quarters from behind her ears. She was beside herself with glee when she received a hat big enough to pull rabbits out of one Christmas.

Imogene’s parents were very supportive of her pursuit of magic. They wanted to do everything they could to help her, so they decided to send her to a summer camp for young magicians.

This is where Frank comes in.

Frank was an amateur magician who had been practicing for some years, and always felt like he was on the cusp of making it big time. The summer Imogene went to Magic camp Frank’s application to serve as a magic instructor was finally accepted. Out of deference for Frank we will not discuss how long he had been applying.

Frank dived into teaching with gusto and exuberance. He taught the magic students all of the basics; the sleight of hand, the distractions, how to get people to look where you wanted them to look. Then he moved on to the more exciting things; the finer points of magic, incantations, potions, spells. The Fact that Frank had never been more than passably okay at any of these finer points did not slow him down, but that’s not to say that it didn’t present any problems.

Frank was especially proud of his instructions regarding spells. As everyone knows, proper spells must be spoken in Latin. Frank knew nothing of Latin, but he had been taught a couple spells, and he proceeded to teach them to the students at his summer camp.

Once he began teaching them the latin phrases slipped easily off of Franks tongue. “carpe deim” “dulce periculum” “et tu brute” every word was music to his ears.

“Tu es enim propter cibum.” 

Frank had no idea what that meant, but he was getting so carried away with all of the Latin that he didn’t really care anymore. It just felt good to say.

Imogene sat in rapt attention as Frank expounded on the finer points of magic. It was music to her ears. She carefully wrote down everything he said in her little magic camp notebook.

When she got back home Imogene continue to practice her magic every day. Her parents were still supportive, but they insisted that she needed to do something other than magic that summer. So, to the delight of her parents, Imogene got a job at a local fast food establishment.

It’s nice when teenagers get a chance learn the value of hard work.

Every day,  as she flipped burgers and swept floors, Imogene’s mind never strayed far from magic and the exciting world that she had gotten a taste of at summer camp. One day as she was flipping burgers she looked up and saw her magic instructor, Frank, at the front counter. Imogene had been lost in her mind, and was startled and happy to see the person who had been so central in one of the greatest experiences of her life.

Jarred out of her head for an instance Imogene mumbled aloud the magical phrase she had been thinking, “tu es enim propter cibum”. 

If Imogene had known what this means she would have been more cautious of uttering this phrase in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant. But she can’t be blamed for her ignorance on this subject, as the individual who had taught her the phrase did not know the meaning himself.

Roughly translated tu es enim propter cibum means “you are what you eat”.

Frank took his hamburger and walked across the street to the park, where he sat down to eat his food. As soon as he took a bite Frank found that he couldn’t take another one for a very simple reason.

He was now a hamburger.


Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com


14 thoughts on “128: Chameleons At The Hamburger Stand

  1. Ah, the curse and blessing of turning into a beloved food item and wanting to eat yourself, but being unable to. I also wonder about the nature of Chameleons souls. I think they would be quite cautious and deliberate, and change colors to express emotion, like a mood ring.

  2. My daughter asked me the other day, “Daddy, will you make me a sandwich?” So I said, “Abracadabra, you’re a sandwich!” She was very unhappy with me.

  3. It’s 55 years since I read George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss under the desk in Latin class but I managed to pass your Latin without the aid of Google (I’m telling you this because I’m feeling pleased).. Your story was spellbinding and explains why in my youth I was a hot cross bum.

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