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A Human Jelly-fish Goes Missing – David X. Lewis

The name jellyfish, in use since 1796, is traditionally applied to medusae and all similar animals.

The new girl in our class is very fat. I mean very fat. She’s always eating. We poke her in the changing rooms before PE. Her body is pink and wobbly, like that slimy gunge they serve for afters at school dinners. Her name is Linda, but we decide to call her Jelly.

Nomura Jellyfish (Nemopilema nomurai) are found in the Pacific near Japan and China. They have ten mouths each side of their bell.

After learning in Nature Studies that giant Nomura Jellyfish have many mouths but no blood, bones, or brain, and that they can weigh up to 200 kilos, we agree that Nomura is a far better name for Linda than Jelly.

True jellyfish have an umbrella-shaped bell which in natural conditions is so transparent that they are nearly invisible.

Linda-Jelly-Nomura tries not to be seen. She wears tent-like dresses and drifts about alone at playtime eating buns and sweets. When the school takes us swimming, she changes in the toilets and slips into the pool from a huge towel before anyone can see her body. Then she floats around by herself and gets out last.

Since jellyfish have no hard parts, fossils are rare.

At our first school assembly after Easter, the headmistress says we should pray for Linda. She has gone missing while on holiday at the seaside with her parents. Some of us feel guilty for a while.

Jellyfish washed up on beaches are consumed by foxes, other terrestrial mammals, and birds.