Friday, May 12, 2017

Short story – “Dad”



The other day, It’s Okay To Be Smart posted a video asking Are We All Related?  It talks about our ancestors and how, if we could accurately trace all of our family trees back thousands of years, we’d find that all people now living share a common ancestor from about three thousand years ago.  This is nothing new.  I heard about this just over ten years ago, and I wrote a story about it.  The story was published on a friend’s website, which I don’t think has been updated in about five years.  I figured, what the hell, I should revise the story and repost it.  So here is the revised version of “Dad.”


“Dad”

The girl tied to the overturned cart screamed and called out to gods who did not respond.  Whether she cried more for her father – whose cooling body lay before her – what the ragged stranger was doing to her older sister, or the fear of her own fate, could not be determined.

Two men in flowing robes, unseen to the girls and the stranger, stood in their stealth bubble watching the scene with disgust.  The younger man, pointing to the man raping the girl, turned to his companion and asked, “Havol, are you sure it’s him?”

“Yes Seriton, the genetic scan is conclusive.” After a short pause Havol continued, “What did you expect?  A scholar?”

“No.”  Seriton looked to the ground.  “I figured we would just find an illiterate farmer.  Not this.”

The stranger finished with the girl and left her, bloody and crying, lying beside the road.  He ran back to the cart and began jumping around and screaming obscenities.  The younger girl cringed away from him and tried to hide behind her arms.  The stranger picked up the body of the father and began swinging it around.  Whether he was trying to dance with it or have sex with it, the watchers could not tell.

Seriton shook his head, “I know we can’t do anything, but…”

“You’ve answered your own question,” Havol said.  “We can’t do anything.  Nearly a tenth of the world, and you yourself, are descendant from the son,” here he gestured at the crumpled form of the oldest sister, “she will bear in nine months.”

“It’s…” Clenching his fist, Seriton said, “To travel back four thousand years, searching for the last man from whom all humans alive are descendant from, only to find he is a killer and a rapist, it’s ….”

Havol held his chin in his hand for several seconds.  “To be completely dispassionate and objective, being a rapist was probably the way he managed to have so many children.”

Seriton turned and stared at the older man.  “That is a very depressing and disturbing thought.”

“The truth often is.” Turning away from the depraved scene, Havol continued, “Come, we have everything we came for.  It is time we returned.  Everyone will want to know how our search for ‘The Father of Humanity’ has gone.”

“And what will we tell them?”

Without answering Havol activated the machine, and the two time traveling researchers returned home.

The stranger had dropped the body of the father, and grabbed a jug of wine that was unbroken.  He drank deeply, although a large portion missed his mouth, washing a minuscule part of the grime from his face.  Once fortified, he grabbed the second girl.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Register to vote



I saw a post the other day saying that only 14% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.  Which begs the question, what the hell are those 14% smoking?  I know, I know, bitching about Congress is nothing new.  Hell, one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain is, “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

Every election we hear people cry, “Vote the schmucks out!” But in order to do that, you first have to be registered to vote.  Now there are registration drives every election year, but why wait?  If you’re just turning eighteen, or never bothered to register before, or are unsure if you’re registered, do it now and beat the rush.  There are places like RegistertoVote.org and the League of Women Voters that can help you register.  Or, if you’re uneasy using a third party website, you can also use your state website, which is usually your state name.gov.

There are various state elections this year, but next year the entirety of the House of Representatives and about a third of the Senate will be up for reelection.  If you think we’d be better off voting the schmucks out, start preparing now.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Possible Futures – Plastic plants



Something that I am a huge supporter of is 3D printing.  For those who don’t know, 3D printing is where three dimensional objects are made by “printing” thin layers of material on top of each other.  Right now most printers are small and use a type of plastic, but the various companies building them are working on making them bigger, faster, cheaper, and using more types of materials to make more complex objects.

I strongly believe that 3D printers will lead to a convulsion in the economy as people print things at home instead of going to a store to buy them.  Instead of focusing so much on producing items in factories, our economy will be more about procuring resources to feed into the 3D printers in our homes.  Which is where this idea comes from.

It may be possible to genetically modify something like a tomato plant to produce a plastic fruit instead of something edible.  But instead of being cheap ornamentation, you’d pick one of these plastic fruits and feed it into your printer whenever you wanted to print out a new chew toy for your dog.  People may have a food garden to feed their family, and a plastic one to supply the material to build things for them.

***

An earlier version of this post appeared on Persona Paper in December 2014.