The Sad Story of a Lonely White Blood Cell

Sorry for not posting in a while, but I’m really focused on winning Camp Nanowrimo. I would be two days ahead of ultimate goal right now if I hadn’t had to write this short story for extra credit (for biology, which I’m not doing so good in). Basically I had to write a story that told the life of a white blood cell, while also telling the reader about HIV, vaccines, viruses and other science-y stuff. Since I’m drained out in imagination and slightly sleep deprived, I put this as a post. Enjoy.

Once upon a time there was a white blood cell named Loser. Loser was always made fun of by his peers for being, well, a loser. Loser’s mother, who was intoxicated at the time of giving birth (pro tip: alcohol consumption during pregnancy is rarely a good idea), had given her son a surprisingly accurate name.

Loser’s only real friend was another ill-named white blood cell named, “Lamehead McGee,” who never made fun of his stupid name because his own name was just as bad. The two of them had the worst names in all of the immune system. The problem was, Lamehead McGee was a lymphocyte cell, meaning that he mostly fought B-cells, T-cells and virus-infected cells, while Loser was a neutrophil cell, meaning he targeted mostly bacteria and fungi, so they rarely got to see each other.

One day, when Loser was taking a leisurely stroll down the femoral artery, he was attacked by a bunch of mischievous teenage hoodlums. They were also lymphocyte white blood cells, so they had been messing with him from the moment Loser was born (about seventeen minutes ago).

“Hey Loser!” One of them shouted. It was John, who thought he was so cool for having a normal name.

“Yeah?” Loser, who had been in deep thought, turned around in confusion. When he saw who was talking to him, he fled the artery as fast he could. In the end they caught up to him, due to the fact that he had no legs (it was a birth defect caused by his mother’s severe alcoholism. Also, he was a blood cell, and blood cells don’t have legs.)

They beat him up so badly he punctured his cell wall and almost died. When he regained consciousness he was alone. There were red blood cells everywhere, but no sign of white ones.

“Where’d everyone go?” he asked no one in particular.

“There’s been an invasion in the Brachial Artery!” said a nearby red blood cell as he flew by him.

“Jinkies!” Loser shouted. “I hope it’s not HIV.” According to some legends, there was a virus known as a “Human Immunodeficiency Disorder,” which there was no cure for. The virus infected the macrophages and microglial white blood cells without anyone knowing, and used those white blood cells to replicate more of the virus, up until there wasn’t enough healthy white blood cells left to fight viruses or unwanted bacteria. It had a latency period of up to eight years.

With haste he journeyed up to the Brachial Artery, feeling the rush he always felt before going into battle with unkindly foes such as salmonella or the mumps.

When he got to the Brachial Artery he was stopped by General Stephens and his advisors.

“Where have you been, soldier?” he asked.

“I was knocked out unconscious, sir!” Loser said, then asked, “What type of invasion is it?”

“It’s viral!” shouted his advisor, showing him the video they made earlier of them doing the Harlem Shake. “Forty-four million views!” Everyone clapped.

“Congratulations, but what about the invasion?” said Loser.

“Oh yeah. It’s a viral invasion, alright. Appears to be influenza.”

“Didn’t we get a vaccine for this two days ago?” he asked. Loser had aced his history classes in High School, and mysterious ‘vaccines’ that were injected into the bloodstream from who-knows-where had always interested him. None of the immune cells knew what they did either, but everyone did know they helped them build immunity to whatever dangerous substances were injected. After they destroyed those substances, they remembered them for long periods afterwards, even weeks!

“It appears to be a variation of some sort. We’ve already launched operation Phagocytosis. They must have adapted!”he said, and then he ordered Loser to join the battle.

He shouted his warcry and attacked the virus with all his strength. He ingested several mutated cells until he felt sick and worn out. He continued to fight the virus, but no side seemed to be winning. Eventually he tired out and took a quick break.

As he was resting he watched the battle from afar. There were white blood cells from all over the body. Even immune cells that didn’t mainly attack viruses joined in. Macrophages, monocytes, dendritic cells, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, you name it.

A bunch of lymphocyte immune cells entered the battle. He recognized one of them as Lamehead McGee.

Lamehead McGee entered the battle, engulfing virions as fast as he could. Loser watched in horror as a virion snuck up behind him and attached itself to Lamehead McGee’s backside of his membrane.

“NOOO!!” he screamed, and without thinking got back up to try and help him out. The moment he back into the battle range he was bombarded by a group of virions. They attached themselves to his membrane and he collapsed to the floor of the Brachial Artery. He screamed in pain as the virus penetrated his plasma membrane and slowly took over his insides. It was a horrible way to die.

Before the world turned to white, he wished for one last chance to be with his best friend. Lamehead McGee had been the only person who was nice to him, the only leukocyte that cared, and now he was suffering the same fate as him; after death, their cells would still be used by the virus to replicate itself.

Loser died a sad and lonely death.

The end.

Sad endings are cool.

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9 thoughts on “The Sad Story of a Lonely White Blood Cell

  1. This was a thousand times better than my biology textbook. I’m considering this my biology lesson for today. The story was strangely hilarious. 🙂

    1. Thanks. I always argued that textbooks shouldn’t just list facts you need to know. They should have short stories about stuff like noble gases and their relationship issues, etc. (I can’t really think of any other examples), it would help students remember stuff, while being a lot more entertaining at the same time.

      1. That’s a great idea. I like the way you think. I only wish that our educators would agree.

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