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The Terrifying Journey of a Cheese Sandwich

20 October 2014

Did you ever wonder about the long journey that each bite of food makes through our body?
Year 8 student Sung Eun very graphically explores this journey through the eyes of a cheese sandwich...Will you spare its siblings a similar journey next time you're tempted to take a bite?

It all began when I fell prey to the enemies. I was a happy little cheese slice with a cheesy grin who just wanted to live a happy life. I let my guard down for a moment then suddenly I started the journey of Digestia, which all nutrients of my kind feared as you might fear Satan, ghosts and evil. I fell into the very mouth of my enemy. I could only watch as the white blocks of calcium - once my family - but now my mortal enemy, the teeth, came down at my fragile body. My cheese body was soon in thousands of pieces. My family screamed in terror as they pulverized us with no mercy. The enemy revealed its wild card, the salivary amylase, which jumped upon my cousins (The Starches) and started tearing them apart slowly like acid. As the seemingly unending supply of saliva drenched us I was torn apart from my family forever. I lashed out in anger towards the dancing tongue of doom, only to be whipped, flattened and thrown into a chute. All I wanted was to avoid helping the enemy by letting them digest me and use my digested remains to keep themselves healthy. They would use my carbohydrate for energy, my protein for muscle structure, my fat for temperature control and energy store.

But it wasn’t just any chute. It was a pink chute that seemed to lead to the unbearable abyss called the stomach. I faintly remembered that this was the feared oesophagus that even the great Julius Caesarsalad had cowered away from. I was spared not one more thought as a torrent of saliva hit me like a bag of bricks, and then ultimately thrown down the oesophagus. It was longer than half a second before I hung suspended where I assumed was the upper part of the oesophagus. The huge chute that looked strong and mightily up at the mouth, was in reality a cylinder-like object which held you up until you died.

My thoughts were soon contradicted by the actions of the protein infused muscles which squeezed us slowly at first, then steadily increased in speed and power eventually pushing me down into a J shaped like object, which I quickly uncovered as The stomach of Torture. I remembered listening to the tales of Alexander the Protein as he screamed drinking Pepsi was a sin as pepsin destroyed his kind. (Pepsin is an enzyme. Enzymes break down food and it is affected by pH and temperature) Pepsin the monster that Alexander the Protein pleaded to stay away from, detected my entrance and trudged over to me. Hydrochloric acid, his best friend grinned in excitement and splashed onto my cut up cheese body. Pepsin also decided to join in the fun, as they beat me down. It was more than pain I felt then. The second pepsin and acid met together, they worked in perfect harmony to rip the protein side of me away from me.

As if It was taunting me, the broken down molecules and particles that used to be me, flowed down into the small intestine, where to this day I believe got digested into its original form, amino acids then absorbed into the bloodstream where it eventually helped build and repair muscles. The cells which would absorb the protein from the bloodstream would eventually transfer the potential chemical energy into kinetic or strain energy. Without the protein in me (cheese) the muscles would slowly breakdown, then finally your heart starts breaking down as it is muscle too.

The pathetic pieces of me (Potassium and Fat) tumbled down into the small intestine.

I looked up to see the pancreas rigorously pumping enzymes to destroy what was left of me. A strange greenish liquid drenched me. This was the feared bile. I deduced from the evidence I had (The pancreas pumping enzymes and bile from the gall bladder) that this was the duodenum, the entrance to the small intestine. The bile which is used to digest my fat was stored in the gallbladder. Bile was actually created in the liver and was stored in the gallbladder. I looked forward and what I saw in front of me was depressing. In front of me were 5 million villi, all ready to absorb me and use it to aid my enemy. The villi existed for 1 reason: to increase surface area. This allowed them to absorb the food quickly. I quickly flowed down onto a villus, which then started absorbing my fat. I screamed in agony as the villi took everything from me. The villus seemingly smiled, absorbed my fat, potassium and carbohydrate, and then took it away in the bloodstream. This carbohydrate would be a quick source of energy as it is digested quickly. This energy would be commonly used for kinetic usage.

Dizzily, I floated through the small gap between the villi, as I could not be digested any further. Eventually I was met to a strange pinkish tube, similar to the oesophagus but only curved and wider.  This was the large intestine which was made to absorb the water from the food.  I slid through the tube, slowly getting dryer and dryer as I went. Finally I reached the rectum. I smashed into a brown paste. The walls of the rectum started to vibrate and I flew out of the anus as cylinder like faeces.

By Sung Eun, Year 8