Time for Work: A Very Short Story

Time for Work: A Very Short Story

She didn’t think it would hurt at first, and after awhile it didn’t. In fact, once she numbed herself to it, it became normal. Some nights were harder than others. Sometimes she had a lot of business, and other times she didn’t. It depended on the day. Holidays and weekends would usually draw more customers. It was something she always dreaded, but she needed the money.

Late at night she would come home tired and weary, her body and mind spent. Angry and disgusting faces played through her mind as she reached for the alcohol in an attempt to drown them out. The relief was temporary, but it did the job. TV was also a nice distraction. She could think about other people’s lives for a change.

Before bed she had a ritual. She would sit on the porch of her apartment and smoke a cigarette while she watched the sun set. Sometimes she would play a game and count how many drags she took before she started to see the hazy orange glow disappear, drawing her moment of serenity to a close.

Sometimes she liked to pretend the sun was and old friend waving goodbye that cared about her, though deep down she knew it wasn’t true. She knew the sun was warm but indifferent, just like her boss – at least when he was in a good mood.

One night after her usual ritual she walked into the living room of her small apartment and stopped at the TV before making her way to the bedroom. There was some show on about migrant day-laborers. She noticed their hunched-over bodies and the contorted look on their faces as they toiled in the sun. Their hands moved with impeccable speed as they filled large bushels with one crop or another. She thought they looked like little machines, and she began to feel sorry for them. She flipped the channel to the news.

There was a headline flashing about an illegal prostitution ring in a wealthy suburban community. Girls as young as 15 were made to be sex slaves for cash. The anchor was doing her best to look somber while images of faceless women walking down dark street corners played in the background. People were interviewed with looks of shock and disbelief on their faces. A few voiced angry condemnations of the men involved. She flipped the channel again.

Two political pundits were discussing how government regulation was killing the economy. She noticed the loudest one was also the largest, richest-looking of the bunch. His face and tone of voice filled the room, his finger wagging at the host as his expensive watch shook on his flabby wrist. He seemed to be more interested in controlling the conversation than debating. Annoyed, she turned off TV. There was something too familiar about all of it.

As she made her way to her bedroom and fell into a slumber, she dreamed that she was a day-laborer, her brown face contorting under the hot sun. Her hands were moving incredibly fast, but the bushels seemed to empty as soon as she’d filled them. Suddenly she felt a presence behind her and a pain on her back.

She was being whipped by the fat rich man on the political talk show, only he had her boss’s face. He was screaming at her. “Faster! Faster! FASTER!” But when she looked down at her hands she noticed they were tied together and she was being raped. The pain was unimaginable and caused her to scream out, but her voice was muffled by the wad of money being stuffed down her throat. She couldn’t breathe. She was suffocating.

The woman awoke with a start, her alarm clock sounding loudly in her ears. She turned off the alarm and wiped the cold sweat from her face. For a time she lay motionless in her bed as she tried to clear her head of the nightmare. After a few minutes had passed, she rose from her bed walked mechanically to the shower. It was time for work.

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The Trial: A Brief Dialogue

The Trial: A Brief Dialogue

A group of highly intelligent alien beings are congregated in an alien courtroom. A human is seated across from the judge’s bench with another alien beside him. Across from them sits an alien prosecutor. The atmosphere of the courtroom is tense as everyone whispers quietly. Suddenly a loud voice is heard.

OFFICER: Will the people of the court please rise?

Everyone rises from their seats as the alien judge comes in and takes his seat. The clerk hands him a piece of paper.

JUDGE: This court is now in session. The people will be seated.

Everyone sits as the judge looks over the piece of paper. He then looks down at the desk where the human and alien are both seated.

JUDGE: Will the defense please rise?

The alien rises but the human remains seated. The man looks bewildered, almost as if he didn’t hear.

JUDGE: Will the defendant please rise?

The man looks around confused, but the fiery look in the judge’s eyes compels him to stand.

JUDGE: Mr. Hominis, you stand accused of the crimes of kidnapping, assault, mental, physical, and sexual abuse, slavery, torture, and wanton murder. How do you plead?

HOMINIS: I…I don’t understand.

JUDGE: Did you or did you not commit these crimes against your fellow-creatures?

HOMINIS: I’m not a murderer! I didn’t kill anybody!

JUDGE: Then you plead not guilty?

HOMINIS: Yes.

JUDGE: Very well, then. Mr. Hominus, you may approach the stand.

The man walks to the box beside the judge’s desk.

JUDGE: Will the prosecution please rise?

An alien lawyer rises.

JUDGE: You may proceed.

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Hominis, did you kidnap, assault, enslave, torture, and kill any of your fellow-creatures?

HOMINIS: Of course not.

PROSECUTOR: You didn’t pay someone else to commit these crimes for you?

HOMINIS: I did not.

JUDGE: Didn’t you own a restaurant, Mr. Hominis?

PRISONER: I did.

PROSECUTOR: And what did you serve in that restaurant?

HOMINIS: What restaurants usually serve. Steak, burgers, mutton, pork, veal. Is this relevant?

PROSECUTOR: And do you know where your food comes from, Mr. Hominis?

HOMINIS: From farms?

PROSECUTOR: And do you know what happens to the creatures on these farms?

HOMINIS: I think so…why does this matter?

PROSECUTOR: They kill them, Mr. Hominus. They confine, torture, and murder them so they can be delivered to your restaurant, isn’t that so?

HOMINiS: I wouldn’t call it that…

PROSECUTOR: And did you or did you not directly pay for these atrocities to be done on your behalf?

HOMINIS: I wouldn’t call them atrocities…

PROSECUTOR: Yes or no, Mr. Hominis!

A brief silence.

JUDGE: Answer the question.

HOMINIS: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: Nothing further.

The prosecutor returns to his seat while the defense attorney rises to take the floor. He looks at the defendant, then looks over at the jury.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do we hold our children legally accountable for their actions?

HOMINIS: No.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And why not?

HOMINIS: They don’t know any better.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY to the jury: You see? Like children, Mr. Hominis simply didn’t know what he was doing. He was simply a victim of his time and his culture, and what are clearly crimes to us seemed so normal to him that he didn’t bother question the consequences of his actions. Can we really blame this human for not realizing what he was doing any more than we could blame one of our own children?

The attorney walks back to the desk as the prosecutor rises and approaches the man again.

PROSECUTOR: Are you a child, Mr. Hominis?

HOMINIS: No.

PROSECUTOR: Nothing further.

The prosecutor retreats back to his desk as the defense attorney approaches.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I understand you have a family, Mr. Hominis?

HOMINIS: Yes. Two boys and a girl.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And would you say that you love your family?

HOMINIS: More than anything.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So, could you say that these alleged crimes that you unknowingly committed were for done the good of your family?

HOMINIS: Yes.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So, you wouldn’t need your restaurant if you didn’t need to support your family, would you?

HOMINIS: No.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there you have it. Mr. Hominis was doing what he felt was right for his family. His intentions good, even if the consequences were not. Clearly, Mr. Hominis is a good man that was merely mislead by culture and circumstance into making the wrong decision. He can therefore not be held accountable for his crimes any more than a child misled by their parents.

The prosecutor marches to the front of the courtroom before the defense attorney is seated.

PROSECUTOR: Are there other ways to make a living, Mr. Hominis?

HOMINIS: I suppose.

PROSECUTOR: Yes or no.

HOMINIS: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: And are there other ways of making a living available to you which don’t involve the torture, abuse, and deaths of your fellow-creatures?

HOMINIS: Sure, but I –

PROSECUTOR: Nothing further.

The prosecutor walks away as the defense lawyer approaches.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mr. Hominis, would you say you are a religious man?

HOMINIS: Yes, I would.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And would you say your religion prescribes that you value certain things more than others?

HOMINIS: Yeah, I’d say so.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And what are some of those values?

HOMINIS: Faith, hope, and love.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And do you believe you are living according to those values?

HOMINIS: I do.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And does your religious text place the value of human beings above other creatures?

HOMINIS: Yes. Human beings have souls. Animals don’t.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And could you say that you are living the best life you can according to your religion and your values?

HOMINIS: Yes, I believe I am. Genesis tells us to be stewards of the land and rule over nature.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nothing further.

The defense attorney walks away as the prosecutor approaches.

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Hominis, you said that your faith prescribes love, correct?

HOMINIS: Correct.

PROSECUTOR: So where was the love for the animals you had enslaved, tortured, and killed?

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Objection!

JUDGE: Sustained. Rephrase the question.

A brief pause.

PROSECUTOR: Mr. Hominus, is all of God’s creation good?

HOMINIS: Yes, it is.

PROSECUTOR: And do you consider yourself as part of God’s creation?

HOMINIS: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: And do you believe that animals are also a part of God’s creation?

HOMINIS: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: And do you believe that God loves animals as well as humans?

HOMINIS: Yes.

PROSECUTOR: And do you believe you should also show love for God’s creation?

HOMINIS: Of course.

PROSECUTOR: Then what reason, Mr. Hominis, could you possibly have for destroying it? What possible reason could you have for destroying other beings? You’re not a child, so you knew full well what you were doing. You could have found another job at any time which didn’t involve torture and killing, but you chose not to of your own free will. Even your own religion which you profess to believe in compels you to love and care for all of God’s creation – especially the weak and the vulnerable.

This leaves us with one possible explanation: you did it because you could! You did it because it gave you pleasure! Did it make you feel like more of a man to strip another being of its life, its liberty, and its happiness? Tell me, Mr. Hominis, would you do the same to your wife and children?

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Objection!

JUDGE: Watch it.

PROSECUTOR continuing: Religion is not a weapon you can use to justify your behavior, Mr. Hominis. You know perfectly well what you did, and no amount of spiritual invocation can save your soul from the consequences or bring back the innocent lives you stole from others. I hereby rest my case.

The defense attorney rises and gives his closing remarks. The jury deliberates for a half hour and returns to the court. A member of the jury then hold up a piece of paper.

JUDGE: How do you find the defendant? Guilty or not guilty?

JURY MEMBER: Your honor, we the jury find the defendant guilty on all counts.

JUDGE: Mr. Hominis, for your crimes, I hereby sentence you to life in prison without parole.

As the man hears the guilty verdict, he begins to feel the room swirl around him. Suddenly he is mute. He feels his body go numb and sees the courtroom dissolve before him in a haze. “What have I done?” the man says aloud to himself. “What have we done? God help us all…”

As the officer comes to take him away, the man cries as he exits the courtroom, powerless, voiceless, and soon to be nameless – marked with a number and confined to a cell to live out a tortured existence: a life he unwittingly gave so many powerless, voiceless, and nameless others.

The Heist: A Brief Dialogue

The Heist: A Brief Dialogue

It is night. Two people are standing in a vault. The safe is open. They gaze at the pile of crisp dollar bills. They are neatly stacked and wrapped. The two begin to salivate.

Reggie: “I want all of it.”

Adira: “But you can’t.”

Reggie: “Just watch me.”

Reggie walks over to the mountain of money starts stuffing his bag.

Reggie: “It won’t fit!”

Adira: “I told you.”

Reggie: “Is there another way?”

Adira pulls out another empty bag.

Reggie: “I don’t like it.”

Adira: “Too bad.”

Reggie: “Too bad you’re not strong enough.”

Adira: “I’m strong enough.”

Reggie laughs.

Reggie: “If you say so.”

Adira: “Watch me.”

Adira fills her bag halfway and zips it shut.

Reggie: “You sure I couldn’t –

Adira: “No, you couldn’t.”

Reggie: “Fine. What should we do with the rest of it?”

Adira: “Give it to the others.”

Reggie: “No way!”

Adira: “Others like us.”

Reggie: “You mean others like you. Not happening.”

Adira: “If you don’t they’ll come after you.”

Reggie: “No they won’t. Besides, I’ll stop them if they do.”

Adira: “You sure about that?”

 

Reggie: “If they want it, they can go after them; not me.”

Adira: “Alright, but you’ll regret it later.”

Reggie: “How’s that?”

Adira: “The past has a way of catching up to a man.”

Reggie: “Is that a threat?”

Adira: “Just stating a fact.”

Reggie: “Yeah, well my bag’s bigger. How do you like that fact?”

Adira rolls her eyes

Reggie: “Jealous.”

Adira: “We should probably get out of here before they notice.”

Reggie: “The cops or the others?”

Adira: “We own the cops, remember? We paid them off.”

Reggie: “Oh, yeah…I forgot.”

Adira: “Figures.”

Reggie: “Don’t be a bitch.”

Adira: “If I’m a bitch it’s because you’ve made me one. Cause and effect.”

Reggie: “I wish I didn’t need you.”

Adira: “The feeling’s mutual.”

Reggie: “You know if you spent less time arguing –

Adira covers his mouth: “Sshh! I think I heard something.”

They are both silent. They listen for a moment but don’t hear anything. Reggie takes Adira’s hand away from his mouth.

Reggie: “Get off me!”

Adira: “Like I said, you made me do it. Hope that didn’t emasculate you.”

Reggie: “Shut up.”

Adira: “I think I know the best route out of here.”

Reggie: “Oh yeah?”

Adira: “Yeah, so the others won’t know.”

Reggie: “What if we run into them?”

Adira: “We them we couldn’t find it.”

Reggie: “What about the bags?”

Adira: “We’ll hide them.”

Reggie: “Genius. I knew there was a reason I kept you around.”

Adira rolls her eyes

Adira: “Let’s get moving. Follow my lead.”

Reggie: “Bullshit. I’ve got more to carry. I’ll do the leading.”

Adira: “That doesn’t make sense.”

Reggie: “It doesn’t have to, I’m stronger than you.”

Adira: “Fine. Do it your way.”

Reggie leads them out into one of the halls. They manage to skirt by a few of the others without being spotted.

Reggie: “Phew! That was close!”

Adira: “Don’t count your money just yet.”

They have passed out of the hallway leading to the vault and approach the lobby. There are a few people leaning against the teller’s counter. Another one watches the front door.

Reggie, whispering to Adira: “Shit! What do we do now?”

Adira whispers back: “Follow my lead.”

Reggie nods in silent agreement. They both hide their bags in a dark corner of the lobby then walk into plain sight.

Reggie: “Sorry guys. No luck with the safe.”

Gideon: “What?! Seriously?! Then why are you here?”

Adira: “We tried everything. You can give it a go if you want.”

Gideon: “Shit…this is not good. Boss isn’t going to like it.”

Reggie: “Like I said, there’s nothing doing.”

Gideon becomes angry, slamming his fist down on the counter. He begins to swear loudly. The others look over at him, silent but anxious. After a moment, he calms down.

Gideon: “Alright. Alright…I’ll let him know, but it’s you two that are taking the fall.”

Adira: “We know that.”

Gideon: “Do you?!”

Reggie: “Yeah, we do.”

Gideon laughs

Gideon: “Your funeral.”

As he walks away to break the news to the others, Reggie and Adira silently collect their bags and head for the door. On the way, Reggie begins to feel he can no longer carry the heavy weight of his bag. Suddenly it slips from his hands and lands with a thud on the floor. The others turn around at the sound. Gideon rushes over.

Gideon: “What the?”

Reggie: “Shit!”

Adira: “We’re dead.”

Gideon: “You trying to screw us?!”

Gideon pulls his gun and points it at Reggie’s head.

Reggie: “No, we were just –

Gideon: “Seeing how stupid we were?!”

He pushes the barrel against Reggie’s skull.

Adira: “Gideon, don’t do it.”

Gideon: “Why not?”

Adira: “It was my idea.”

Gideon: “Don’t’ worry, you’ll get one too.”

As Reggie braces himself for death, suddenly the others grab Gideon from behind, stripping him of his gun and bringing him down hard on the marble floor.

Nico: “The boss said nobody gets killed.”

Gideon squirms on the ground as the others hold him.

Gideon: “You idiot! They tried to get away with the money!”

Nico, turning to Reggie and Adira: “That true?”

Adira: “Yeah…”

Reggie silently nods.

Nico eyes them both with an indignant expression.

Nico: “Why?”

Reggie: “I don’t know. I just saw it and…couldn’t help myself.”

Nico: “I’ve known you guys for a while now. You’re better than this.”

Adira: “I know…it was a moment of weakness.”

Nico: “Family comes first. Always. You don’t sell out your family.”

Reggie: “Nico –

Nico: “What, you think you’re better than us ‘cause you’ve got more?! The money doesn’t make the man; the man makes the money.”

He takes hold of both bags.

Adira: “Nico, wait!”

Nico: “You want the money?! Go get it!”

He unzips the bags and throws them into the middle of the lobby. The dollar bills topple out, scattering onto the polished marble floor. The others look on in shock. Reggie and Adira don’t move a muscle.

Nico: “How much did you guys take?”

Reggie responds anxiously: “Not sure.”

Nico: “Count it. Both of you.”

Reggie and Adira walk over to the pile of money and begin to count it. A few minutes pass.

Nico: “How much?”

Adira: “A few hundred thousand.”

Nico: “Now divide it up evenly.”

Reggie and Adira comply, separating the money into chunks on the floor. Nico points to the floor after they are done.

Nico: “What are these two piles for?”

Reggie: “I just thought…you know…”

Nico: “Think again. You don’t get what you don’t earn.”

They split the two remaining piles into the others. Nico gathers up one of the piles and puts the money in his bag.

Nico: “Gentleman, help yourselves.”

They all proceed to take their equal shares of the money.

Reggie: “Promise you won’t tell the boss.”

Nico laughs while Reggie and Adira both give him a concerned and puzzled look.

Nico: “What, you two don’t know?”

Adira: “Know what?”

Nico: “There is no boss.”

They both stare at him blankly.

Nico: “We’re the boss. All of us. I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out by now.”

As they all quietly exit the building with their shares of the money, the full moon shines down on them, illuminating the letters of the building written in large, gold font: “Universal Bank of Humanity. Give what you can, take only what you need.”

Existence: A Brief Dialogue

Existence: A Brief Dialogue

Two people sit alone in a white room. The florescent lights flicker above. The walls are soft and padded. There is no sound.

Person 1: “I think….I think…therefore…”

Person 2: “I am!”

Person 1: “Am I?”

Person 2: “You must be.”

Person 1: “I must be…I wish I wasn’t.”

Person 2: “Too bad, so sad.”

Person 1: “Why do you always have to do that?”

Person 2: “Do what?”

Person 1: “Remind me.”

Person 2: “It’s my job.”

Person 1: “Do you get paid for it?”

Person 2: “It’s more of a duty.”

Person 1: “An objective duty?”

Person 2: “Don’t be silly.”

Person 1: “I see…so why are you here?”

Person 2: “The same reason you are.”

Person 1: “Which is?”

Person 2: “Nothing.”

Person 1: “What do you mean ‘nothing’”?

Person 2: “I mean nothing and neither do you.”

Person 1: “I thought you said I was something.”

Person 2: “Let me clarify. You mean nothing.”

Person 1: “That’s very cynical.”

Person 2:” I’m just being honest, you know. After all, it’s my –”

Person 1: “Yes, I know, it’s your duty. You don’t have to tell me twice.”

Person 2: “Did I touch a nerve?”

Person 1: “I wish I could touch.”

Person 2: “You can imagine.”

Person 1: “Yes, but it’s not the same.”

Person 2: “If it’s in your mind, it’s the same.”

Person 1: “I suppose so. Everything is, isn’t it?”

Person 2: “Exactly.”

Person 1: “What if I want to go outside?”

Person 2: “There is no ‘outside’”.

Person 1: “I want to get outside.”

Person 2: “You can’t.”

Person 1: “I want to try.”

Person 2: “Go ahead.”

Person 1 concentrates very hard, straining his body, his veins pulsing on his forehead.

Person 2: ‘You look rather silly.”

Person 1: “Shut up! I’m trying!”

Person 2: “There’s no use.”

Person 1 stops trying. He returns to normal.

Person 2: “See?”

Person 1: “You’re right…why do you always have to be right?”

Person 2: “I have to be or else you wouldn’t be.”

Person 1: “Don’t lecture me.”

Person 2: “Fine. Learn things the hard way.”

Person 1: “Are you really here?”

Person 2: “What do you mean?”

Person 1: “Can you say for certain that you are here?”

Person 2: “I’m here.”

Person1: “Yes, but can you know for sure?”

Person 2: “I suppose not.”

Person 1: “I need an objective standard.”

Person 2: “A what?”

Person 1: “You know, an objective standard. From outside.”

Person 2: “There is no outside.”

Person 1: “Oh…right.”

Person 2: “Right.”

Person 1: “Do you think we could pretend?”

Person 2: “I don’t see the harm.”

Person 1: “Let’s pretend, shall we?”

Person 2: “Okay.”

Person 1 closes his eyes

Person 2: “Are you pretending?”

Person 1: Yes…and you?

Person 2: “I can’t, remember?”

Person 1: “Then why did you agree?”

Person 2: “To make you happy.”

Person 1 opens his eyes.

Person 1: “That was cruel.”

Person 2: “Perhaps it was. But so is this.”

Person 1: “What?”

Person 2: “This. Where we are.”

Person 1: “True…I wish it wasn’t.”

Person 2: “Do you?”

Person 1: “Sometimes…”

Person 2: “Go on.”

Person 1: “Sometimes I wish…”

Person 2: “Yes?”

Person 1: “Let me finish!”

Person 2: “You’re never finished.”

Person 1: “I am finished.”

Person 2: “But you aren’t.”

Person 1: “I’m not…I can’t be.”

Person 2: “Now you’re getting it.”

Person 1: “I must be…”

Person 2: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

Person1: “What?”

Person 2: “It’s Shakespeare. Hamlet, I think.”

Person 1: “At least he had a choice.”

Person 2: “True.”

Person 1: “I don’t have a choice.”

Person 2: “You don’t.”

Person 1: “But what if I did?”

Person 2: “That would be something.”

Person 1: “It would. I would be something.”

Person 2: “Something you’re not already?”

Person 1: “How can I?”

Person 2: “I suppose you can’t.”

Person 1: “Do you think it’s worth a try?”

Person 2: “Go right ahead.”

Person 1 closes his eyes.

Person 2: “Is it working?”

Person 1: “Wait a minute.”

Person 2: “What about now?”

Person 1: “It isn’t working.”

Person 2: “I thought not.”

Person 1: “It was fun to try, though. Just for a moment.”

Person 2: “It was fun to watch you try.”

Person 1: “I wonder…”

Person 2: “What do you wonder?”

Person 1: “What others must be like.”

Person 2: “Keep wondering. You’ll never know.”

Person 1: “And still I wonder.”

Person 2: “Why?”

Person 1: “It gives me something to do.”

Person 2: “It’s all you can do.”

Person 1: “Yes, but at least it’s something.”

Person 2: “Better than nothing, I suppose.”

Person 1: “Yes…better than nothing.”

Person 2: “We are nothing.”

Person 1: “I wish you didn’t remind me.”

Person 2: “Sorry.”

Person 1: “It’s alright.”

Person 2: “Is it, though?”

Person 1: “No, it isn’t. But I like to pretend.”

A man sits alone in a white room. The florescent lights flicker above. The walls are soft and padded. There is no sound.

The Birth of Gender: An Allegory

The Birth of Gender: An Allegory

Not long after the dissipation of The One, there arose an especially bright and ethereal creature on earth. By nature, the creature was full of potential and power, but was also a creature that was conflicted in mind and body, for it seemed to love and hate itself, and would often try to harm itself because of this. Sometimes it would feel too much and other times too little. Sometimes it would show great strength, and other times it would show great weakness. Sometimes it would show great mercy, and other times it would show none.

One day this ethereal creature felt so at war with itself that it decided to split itself into two separate pieces which became more solid and defined in shape. Once the split was made, however, lasting peace was achieved. The two parts, no longer bound to the ethereal being, had themselves become free beings of the earth. No longer at war, they saw each other as equal partners and recognized themselves for what they were: two bodies sharing the same soul.

However, after an incalculable period of years, the two parts began to distinguish themselves from each other, for as they continued to spend more time together, they found that there were small but noticeable differences between them.

By climbing trees together, one of them found it was better at climbing, and by swimming the other found it was better at swimming. One found it was better at dancing, and the other better at making music. One found it was better at building, and the other at planning. At first these things didn’t seem to matter much, for they knew they were part of the same whole. However, the more the two beings focused on these small, unimportant differences, the more important these differences became.

After another period of years, the two equal parts had learned to take a special kind of pride in what they could do better than the other. The one who was better at climbing liked to think of itself as a tree climber, and would make a show of climbing trees often just to reaffirm this fact. The other being, who was better at swimming, began to think of itself as a swimmer, and would swim often to prove this.

As the years passed, however, both beings began to feel different. Suddenly the one being felt it could not climb as well as it once had, and the other could no longer swim the same, for they realized that they were that they were mortal. Soon they would pass into the earth, their spirits returning to The One from which all things come.

Upon realizing their inevitable fate, they became afraid and decided to do something they had not though of before: they would attempt to join themselves together. However, as much as they tried to join themselves permanently, they could never become one in the way they once were, for although their souls were the same, their bodies were different.

Still, not content to give up on their attempt, they searched their bodies to find the ways that they matched and tried to put them side-by-side, but this did not work either. Suddenly in their search they found two parts which were different, and by putting them closely together, they realized that they could feel a sense of oneness they had not felt since being split from the ethereal being.

Although this feeling of oneness was only temporary and did not save them from death or return them to the whole, they nevertheless began to enjoy this feeling of oneness so much that they would lie close together for days at a time until they grew hungry or tired from it.

After another incalculable period of years passed and the habit of lying together was established, both beings noticed something strange: within their separate bodies, other distinct bodies had begun to form. At first this made them very afraid, for they feared that their souls might be swallowed by the presence of these new beings, and so they cast them out of themselves.

However, once these new and smaller bodies were cast out of the two beings, they began to realize what had happened. For these new bodies, while at first appearing different and alien, began to look and act much like the two beings who had made them.

After seeing how similar they were to themselves, the two beings were excited by their creation, and over time, grew to love the creatures they had made. In fact, the two beings grew to love their creations so much that they began to teach them everything they knew about climbing, swimming, dancing, and singing so that they would know the best and proper way to do these things when they were older.

Like their parents, these new beings were also equal but different from each other. Though they both came to learn of the things their parents had taught them, they were taught different skills depending on how much they looked and acted like one parent or the other.

While the one parent who had thought of itself as the superior climber emphasized the teaching of climbing and dancing to the one that resembled it most, the parent who thought of itself as the superior swimmer began to emphasize the teaching of swimming and singing to the one that resembled it most.

Because of their differences in appearance and ability, and because of the ways their parents had taught them, each of these smaller beings grew up thinking of themselves as distinctly different from the other, for their parents had failed to teach them that they had both come from the same soul.

Instead of seeing themselves as parts of the whole, they saw themselves as separate and distinct from each other, and began to divide themselves further than their parents had. By the time they reached maturity, one identified themselves not by their commonality with the other, but by their own ability and appearance. Not only did both beings constantly climb and swim to affirm that they were the better than the other, but each had grown to think of itself as a climber or as a swimmer, a dancer or a singer.

As another incalculable amount of time passed, and their parents died from old age, the two beings became very sad, for they missed their parents dearly. In fact, they missed them so much that in order to immortalize their memory and the ways they had been taught, these beings began to draw markings on themselves in the form of tattoos so that they would not forget where they had come from or what they had each been taught.

By the time these beings reached old age and had offspring of their own, they too would teach them as their parents had, tattooing different symbols on their chests. These symbols would let them and others know what they had been taught, what they could do, and how they should see themselves in relation to others – as different bodies with different souls.

As time continued to pass and these beings continued to grow, reproduce, and die, the importance of their different tattoos became greater and greater until they began to take on a life of their own. Soon there were beings that were marked with tattoos who could only climb trees, while others who were differently marked were only allowed to swim. Some were marked for dancing, and others could do nothing but sing. So strong was the meaning and the power of these symbols that they began to control the beings that had created them.

One day, one of the beings marked for climbing grew tired and decided to sit down against a large tree to regain its strength. However, while it was resting, it heard a band of singers singing a beautiful melody just outside of the forest. As the climber listened to the melody, the music made it smile and its spirit was lifted so high that it forgot the state of its exhausted body altogether.

In fact, the melody had filled it with such rapture and joy that a forbidden urge welled up within this being which it simply couldn’t suppress any longer. And so the climber began to sing along with the singers, harmonizing with their melodious chant.

Hearing him through the forest, the singers became aware of this harmony and thought the singing was quite good. However, when the climber walked out of the forest and revealed the tattoo on its chest, the group of singers suddenly stopped singing and began to stare at the climber with a sense of shock and horror which made the climber feel ashamed and afraid.

The crowd of singers, showing their disgust on their faces, began to crowd around the climber who had dared to disobey the rules and started to shout and spit at this outsider. They felt dirty and defiled by the fact that they had been tricked into singing along with a climber, and so their anger and hatred began to grow until they were ready to kill.

But before the crowd of singers could lay a hand on the disobedient climber, a particularly compassionate and brave singer in the back began to sing a loud and beautiful solo which stopped the crowd in their tracks. Realizing it didn’t need to feel ashamed, the climber then lifted its bowed head and answered the singer’s call with a matching harmony.

As the two became louder, they began to feel a sense of pride and liberation which stood in defiance of their tattoos and their sacred traditions. One by one, the other singers gradually overcame their fear and joined in until they had a full chorus going. Soon other climbers in the forest began to hear them and see them all singing together before they joined in too.

As the song grew louder and more powerful with the addition of more climbers, the song soon reached all the way to the coastline where the swimmers swam, and to the mountains where the dancers danced until every being on the earth was singing in unison. In that moment, the power of their different tattoos to control them was no more, for they felt a sense of freedom and unity that none of them had ever experienced.

From that day on, they began to do away with the old traditions of selective teaching and tattooing. Instead of marking and attempting to control their offspring, they began to teach their children without prejudice and raise them without labels, regardless of their appearance, strength, or natural talent.

By the time those with old tattoos and prejudices had passed away, everyone on earth had learned to see each other not as separate beings, but as unique bodies with the same soul – as creatures bound together in the spirit of love, united with each other in the essence of The One.

Supper Time: A Brief Dialogue

Supper Time: A Brief Dialogue

It is supper time. A family sits together at a broken and uneven kitchen table. The table is split in half with a large crack running down the middle. The wife sits at the higher end of the table with her daughter while the son and father sit at the lower end. They are all sitting with their heads bowed with the food the men have prepared on the table. The Matriarch speaks.

Dinah: “Dearest Mother God, Creator of all things, guard us and keep us from subjugation and bless us with equality and liberation. Bless our family, especially our daughter, Eve, who will soon be the woman of the house. Bless this food for the nourishment of our bodies. Amen.”

All: “Amen.”

Eve: “Thanks mom.”

Dinah: “Of course, dear.”

The mother serves herself a plate of food, then hands her daughter an empty a plate to serve herself. The husband, Cain, and their son, Adam, look on as the mother and daughter eat. The husband and son are hungry, but the mother and daughter ignore them. The mother and daughter continue eating together and engage in conversation.

Dinah: “So, how was school sweetheart?”

Eve: “It was okay. I didn’t do as well as I wanted on the math test, but I’m really staring to love my cooking class.”

Dinah’s face goes white as she purses her lips. She speaks softly and carefully.

Dinah: “What was that I heard?”

Eve: “I…like to cook?”

Dinah: “What have I told you about cooking? Cooking is men’s work; we’ve been over this. A woman should pursue a career more suited to her gender.”

Dinah, turning to her husband: “What do you think, husband?”

Cain, looking surprised caught off-guard: “Well, um…I…your mother’s right, Dinah.”

Dinah, turning back with a satisfied smile: “Thank you.”

Adam: “I don’t like to cook.”

Cain: “You’ll get used to it, son. The man bears the stain of the first sin; don’t you forget that.”

Adam’s stomach growls loudly

Eve: “What was that?”

Dinah: “I think they’re hungry, dear.”

Eve: “Oh…should we let them eat now?”

Dinah: “Alright, but don’t give them too much. They can’t control themselves when you give them too much. Plus, they make such a mess.”

Eve fixes a plate and hands it to Adam who when fixes a plate for his father. They have no silverware but eat anyway. They are both very hungry.

Dinah: “Not too fast now or you’ll make yourselves sick. You can’t do any housework if you’re sick.”

Adam eats a bit too fast. He spits some of his food out on the table.

Eve: “Yuck! Mother, look what Adam did!”

Dinah: “Adam! You eat your food like a civilized person!

Cain: “He’s doing his best.”

Dinah: “What was that?”

Cain: “Sorry…I just meant…he’s only a boy, that’s all.”

Dinah: “That’s a poor excuse for bad behavior.”

Adam: “Maybe if you gave him silverware he’d – ”

She looks at Cain angrily, speaking slowly, but firmly.

Dinah: “You know why he can’t. You know what happens when you give men a bit of control. They can’t handle it. It goes to their heads. Besides, after all you’ve put us through, you should be grateful.”

Cain, bowing his head in submission: “Yes, dear…of course.”

Adam, wiping his mouth with is shirt: “I’m sorry mom.”

Dinah: “You’ll learn soon enough.”

Adam: “I will. I promise.”

Dinah: “Good boy.”

Eve: “Mother, I’m finished.”

Dinah: “Give your plate to Adam, dear.”

Eve hands Adam her empty plate.

Eve: “Can I go play with dolls?”

Dinah: “Honey, we’ve been over this. Dolls are for boys; trucks are for girls.”

Eve: “Right. Can I go play with trucks?”

Dinah: “Yes, dear.”

Eve excuses herself from the table and runs off into the living room. Dinah follows after her to make sure she is playing with trucks. The father and son are sitting together at the table.

Adam: “Dad?”

Cain: “Yes, son?”

Adam: “Will it always be like this?”

Cain: “It’s just the way it is, son. You’ll understand when you’re older.”

They both get up to wash the dishes together. Adam, remembering the stain of his sin, scrubs the dishes extra hard with is hand, cutting it in the process. He bleeds into the dishwater and begins to cry. The father notices this and reprimands him.

Cain: “No pain, son.”

Adam wipes the tears from his eyes and continues washing, burying his emotions in the hot, soapy water.

Adam: “No pain.”

 

The Sleepover: A Brief Dialogue

The Sleepover: A Brief Dialogue

It is late on a cold winter night. Two young girls are having a sleepover. They are both wearing matching pairs of colorful fuzzy pajamas with happy farm animal faces on them. Phones in hand, they share online videos of frolicking baby animals.

Ari: “Did you get that puppy video I sent you?”

Eva: “Totes adorbs!”

Ari: “Totes!”

Eva: “What are you sending?”

Ari: “You’ll see.”

Eva: “Awwww! They’re so adorable!”

Ari: “Aren’t they? I just love cats. I wish I could hug every single one.”

Eva: “Me too!”

Ari: “And sloths.”

Eva: “I know!”

Ari: “Have you heard the sounds they make?”

Eva: “What?! No!? Send me one!”

Ari: “OMG – they’re sooooo cute!”

Eva: “Didn’t I tell you?”

Ari: “I want one already!”

Eva: “Don’t you already have a cat?”

Ari: “Yeah, but you can never have too many animals.”

Eva: “True. My grandma has six cats.”

Ari: “No way!”

Eva: “And a dog.”

Ari: “No fair! Mom won’t let us have a dog.”

Eva: “Why not?”

Ari: “Dad’s allergic.”

Eva: “Aw, that sucks.”

Ari: “It’s whatever. Maybe one day…”

Eva, completing her sentence: “You’ll get a sloth?”

Ari: “I wish.”

Eva: “Me too.”

The two girls are suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door. It is Eva’s mother. The two girls grow silent. The mother talks at them through the door.

Mother: “Girls? Girls, it’s getting late. Time for you two to get to bed.”

Eva: “Aw mom, really?”

Mother: “Yes sweetie. It’s almost midnight.”

Eva: “Okay mom, we will.”

The mother walks downstairs. The girls wait until they can no longer hear her footsteps. Eva turns on her phone again. Ari gives her a look.

Ari: “I thought your mom said that – ”

Eva: “That we needed to go to bed?”

Ari: “Yeah.”

Eva: “Where are we sitting right now?”

Ari: “Your room?”

Eva: “No, but what are we sitting on?”

Ari: “A bed?”

Eva: “Exactly.”

Ari: “Oooh. You’re pretty smart.”

Eva: “I know, right?”

Ari: “I wonder what we’ll have for breakfast tomorrow.”

Eva: “My dad’s gonna make us breakfast, I think.”

Ari: “Awesomesauce.”

Eva: “I just love the smell of bacon in the morning.”

Ari: “And sausage.”

Eva: “That too.”

Ari: “What about eggs?”

Eva: “Only if they’re scrambled.”

Ari: “Why?”

Eva: “It makes me feel like I’m eating a baby chicken.”

Ari: “Gross.”

Eva: “I know that’s not what it is, but still…”

Ari: “I know what you mean.”

Eva: “Now you’ve got me all hungry.”

Ari: “Sorry.”

Eva: “It’s okay. Wanna share some more videos?”

Ari: “Okay.”

Eva: “What about this one?”

Ari: “OMG it’s a little piggy!”

Eva: “isn’t it cute? I just love its little snout.”

Ari: “Sooo cute!”

Eva: “I heard they’re smarter than dogs.”

Ari: “Wow, really?”

Eva: “Really.”

Ari: “Who told you?”

Eva: “My dad. He’s a farmer, so he should know.”

Ari: “Cool.”

Eva: yawns

Ari: “Stop, you’re making me –” yawns loudly

Eva: “Sleepy?”

Ari: “Yeah.”

Eva: “I’m gonna try to get some sleep, I think.”

Ari: “Good call. Me too.”

Grabbing their twin plush kittens, they both lie down on the bed, pulling the wool sheets up to their necks. Eva turns off the light. They rest their heads against their soft, down pillows.

Eva: “Night Ari.”

Ari: “Night.”

Thinking of tomorrow’s breakfast, they fall into a deep slumber. The pig video is stuck on replay, and silently repeats over and over on Eva’s phone. Their matching fuzzy pajamas are wrapped around their innocent, fragile bodies. They know they are safe and loved. The disembodied cow and pig faces on them are happy and smiling. In the morning, they awake to the smell of bacon.