Uncle Alex

“Yes, dear.”
“How come we never see Uncle Alex anymore?”
“He’s a very busy man, Henry.”
“Too busy for us, my boy.”
“Oh, don’t be that way, Charles.”
“Well, it’s true, isn’t it? Alex hasn’t made time for us since God knows when.”
“It doesn’t take God to know when, and you know why too.”
“Language, Charles! And stop giggling, Henry.”
“Good lord, Mary, you can’t ask the child to stop laughing. Next you’ll tell him to stop breathing. And your darling brother hasn’t invented a cure for that.”
“The way that he talks about it, you’d have thought that he had already.”
“Maybe if we were to take another family vacation, we’d come back and there it would be, sitting in his lap, the cure for death itself!”
“He didn’t ask for this to happen.”
“No. Some people just get all the luck.”
“We’re lucky too. In our own way.”
“And what way would that be?”
“We’ve got each other, and Henry, and our wonderful little family.”
“I suppose.”
“And we’re not exactly out on the street.”
“No, we’re not.”
“Precisely! We get by. And even if we didn’t…”
“Don’t you dare.”
“I’m sure that he wouldn’t mind lending a helping hand if we were to find ourselves a little down on our luck.”
“As though I would ever ask.”
“No. You wouldn’t. Alex is right about you.”
“And what does that mean?”
“Oh, nothing.”
“You can’t just go saying something like that and not explain it.”
“Go on.”
“He did always think you were a little too… proud… for your own good.”
“That egotistical…”
“He didn’t mean in an awful way.”
“Is there another way to mean an awful thing?”
“He only wanted the best for me. He always has.”
“And he didn’t think that I was the best for you?”
“He didn’t know you very well back then.”
“As though he knows me any better now. He spends next to no time with his family anymore.”
“Perhaps I should invite him over for dinner.”
“I’m sure he’ll be far too busy. Accepting awards for best scientist ever to exist.”
“He always finds time for us when we ask.”
“Perhaps we should stop asking, then.”
“Oh, darling, please don’t take it to heart. You know that I was always his favourite sister.”
“So he told you.”
“And what does that mean?”
“Well, I’m sure that he told Jane and Grace just the same.”
“Now you’re just being petty.”
“Yes, dear?”
Can we have Uncle Alex over for dinner?”
“Of course we can, Henry. Your father will ring him up immediately, I’m sure.”
“I’ll do no such thing.”
“Please. Charles.”
“Please, Dad?”
“Oh, don’t give me those faces. Fine. But I’m not to blame when he says no.”
“He wouldn’t dare say no to you, darling.”
“We’ll see shortly. It’s ringing.”
“Dr. Alexander Fleming, inventor of Penicillin and Nobel Prize winner, speaking. How can I help you?”
“Oh Christ, here we go again.”


Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was a Scottish biologist that changed the course of medicine with his discovery of penicillin. It’s now one of the most common anti-bacterial treatments used around the world.
Write at least 500 words, either from the perspective of this historical figure, or someone observing them from the outside. You could focus on their character, their work, their achievements, or the perceptions that others had about them.



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