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A Bananadventure

Author: Science Stories for Grown-Ups
Year: Adventure

She was an isoamyl acetate, but her full name ISOAMYLACETATE823E10578 was far too long, so she went by Amy.

She had been floating around in a vat accompanied by her isoamyl acetate community for her entire existence; which felt like an eternity. Her vat was stamped with the words “BANANA FLAVOUR" but she had no idea what this meant. To her, her existence was meaningless. Running laps of the vat’s perimeter at a steady, average speed, occasionally she would collide with a fellow isoamyl acetate and there would be a brief interaction. Never meeting anyone in the right form for a long-lasting bond. She bumped against the side of the vat and the steel police, inert and impervious, would push her back.

The monotony was overwhelming.

Then one day there was a loud whirring sound. A sudden jerk. The vat was yanked to one side, then the other.

Amy buzzed. The steady oscillations shook her bonds. The possibility of a purpose in life seemed suddenly closer. The top of the vat gave an ominous creak. Brightness. Photons! Bright little balls of energy seeped their way past her isoamyl acetate brothers and sisters. Filling everyone in the vat with mild excitement.

Amy tasted the dizzying aroma of freedom. Would this be the window of opportunity to break free? She pushed with all her might, a cataclysmic convulsion, she free fell into the open air and plunged right to the bottom of a brand new home. A muddled mass of contorted bonds and atoms caught her, and she was trapped once more.

Yet, in terms of kinetic energy the situation seemed to improve. Amy swam around excited by the new-found speed as the colossal mixing hand rotated the entire molecule community around. She saw all kinds of new molecules from all over. In her dreams she would have spoken to them. Life had other plans. Amy was launched into a small shoot leading to a crowded molecule subway. Her next container was even smaller and more cramped than the last.

Over time the energy around her dissipated. A new kind of police patrolling their borders. Not steel but crystalline silicon oxides. They were translucent. Still inert but much more open than the steel had been. The occasional photon was allowed to pass through their barriers. Amy could glimpse shadows of the outside. Something was written on the perimeter that she could just about make out.

“Greenock Banana Beer”

Months and months passed, turning into a protracted period of lazy meandering. Their home was stored in an icy region, the temperature dropped to almost freezing. The frigid atmosphere chipped away at Amy’s resolve. Her dreams chilled. Amy was ready to stop moving, to give up.

Until Walter arrived. Walter was a water molecule and his oxygen and hydrogen aligned comfortably to her carbon-oxygen bond, so their charges paired. Huddled against each other, they developed a cautionary friendship. She confided her dreams with him. Of speeding and flying around the world. Of finding a purpose.

'Walter,' she sighed in her dismal state, 'We’re stuck. Lost in this icy prison. I don’t want to be trapped in this cold cramped place forever.'

Walter comforted her. 'Be patient, lass. Th' life o' a molecule, full a’ surprises.'
In his previous posting he recounted, 'I spent months 'n' months in shite sludge ye know! Was mingin’! Th' stench!' Walter sniffed at the memory. 'Thank goodness it wis taps aff weather; 'n' ah foun’ th' energy tae escape. I’m well chuffed tae be 'ere now. Th' reek is considerably better. '

Amy loved listening to his stories. They gave her hope. Hope that life could change.

'Th' life o' a molecule, full a’ surprises.' Walter was right.

There was movement. The bottle was opened. Photons flowed in and the effervescent carbon dioxides rushed to the surface. They said a loud hissing goodbye to everyone as they disappeared at the interface.

Amy could also feel herself being pulled to the surface. Her destiny felt close.

She heard Walter’s encouraging words below her, 'Fly wee molecule, fly!'

Amy clenched herself tight. His words gave her the courage to extricate herself from the interactions that held her down. Struggling, she broke the surface tension and whipping past the molecules around her, she catapulted into the air.

She was free! Flying! Carried by the winds. The fastest she had ever travelled! This freedom would give her purpose. Just as she had imagined in her dreams, she floated alone and weightless, surrounded by shadows she didn't recognise. This time, it wasn’t fantasy, or an unlikely distant memory. It was happening… the beginning of a journey.

Suction. Darkness.

Flesh, hair and mucus. A great sniff drew her into a darkened cave. Her journey was abruptly curtailed.

'Mate, that does smell like banana. Minging!'

Amy sighed. Banana scent. It was a purpose she supposed.