Pissing in the wind
“What is that?” Gur asked pointing at two piles of stones that were right next to Erts feet. He heard noise and decided to investigate. Ert was alone, crouching on a large boulder, hitting stones against each other. Gur took a broken stone from a pile and threw it in the tall grass nearby.
“Leave it! It’s mine! Go away!” Ert was upset and screaming.
“Ha, you’re mad because you can’t throw it farther” Gur said confidently. “But whatever, I’ll leave you with your special stones, I know a place with much better and beautiful stones. Stones like you have never seen before. Magical stones. Just last night I found a stone and I threw it all the way across the river, hit a bird in flight and the stone landed back in my hand.”
“So the place is anywhere next to the river?” Ert asked with a smile.
“No, I found the stones somewhere else.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Anything you said. I don’t believe it.”
“You’re just saying that because you want me to tell you where the magical stones are.”
“No, I actually don’t believe you.”
“Show me the stones, right now, and I’ll believe you.”
“I don’t have them here, but I can …”
“Well until you do, stay away from my stones. Matter of fact, I don’t want to hear you or see you today anymore, got it?”
“It’s morning Ert, what am I going to the whole day?”
“Do whatever you want, just leave me alone.”
“But I don’t know what to do.”
“You can go play with your magical stones.”
“I don’t feel like it, I want to do something else.”
“You know what you can do, Gur?”
“Go get your magical stones …”
“And bring them to you?”
“No, you take the stones …”
“Take the stones to the river …”
“Okay. Then what?”
“Wash the stones in the river, clean them real good, Throw them three times in the air while whistling. After you done that, take the stones and shove them where the sun don’t shine.”
“Where is that, Ert?”
“Get the fuck off my boulder.”
“Well fuck you too, Ert!”
Gur was finally gone and Ert was back to business. Hit a stone with a stone, one that breaks goes on a broken stones pile. His hands were already bleeding a bit but he was not going to give up. If what he has seen was true, and it must be true because it was in his head, then he will never give up. Last night, Ert was just walking around when he stepped into half solid elephant dung. He knew it was elephant dung because it was huge and some elephants passed his cave some time ago. Cursing the elephants, Ert sat down to clean his foot and that’s when he saw it. Weird plants. Small plants he has never seen before. It was like a tree but no branches or leaves. Just shaped like a tree but not really. Barely bigger than his smallest finger. It had a trunk and a head. Gray-white in color. First he smelled it, but all he could smell was elephant dung. Then he touched it and dust came of it, sticking to his finger. Ert smelled the dust and then licked his finger. It still smelled like elephant dung, but it tasted like nothing. Life presented him with an unique opportunity. He could be the first one to see and try the new plant. To make sure, he has to take the plant to the cave to check. Maybe somebody already knows what it is. He took fistful of plants and started walking towards the cave. What if they take my plants for themselves, that wouldn’t be fair. I found them, they’re mine. I should be the first one to try them. I should decide who gets to eat them. Maybe I should eat them alone. I am kind of hungry. And what if they are special plants? They easily could be, I never seen them before. In that case it’s probably better I keep this for myself, just for now. Erts mind was racing and rationalizing. But, what if they are bad plants? What if I die from eating them? It happened before. There are bunch of plants we can’t eat because they’re bad for us. And if they are bad, everybody should know about them so nobody eats them. Just as he was making a decision to share the plants with everyone, he saw Gur running towards him. Ert instinctively showed the plants in his mouth thinking fuck it, I found them, they’re mine. One plant fell to the ground, escaping his mouth. He tried to swallow them before Gur came, but he took too much and the plants were kind of dry. Gur saw him chewing and asked what is he eating.
“I’m not eating, I’m just chewing”, said Ert with pieces of plants flying out of his mouth.
“You’re just chewing? That’s just stupid, I see you eating something.”
“I’m telling you …”
“What’s that one the ground?” Gur noticed the plant.
Gur picked up the plant to study it. He never saw this plant before.
“What’s that?” Ert asked with a stupid look on his face.
“It’s your plant, Ert.”
“That’s not mine.”
“Liar! I’ll show it to everyone”, Gur was upset and ran off towards the cave. Ert knew what that meant so he decided to take a detour to the river and lie there for a while.
Small elephant, big elephant, red and green, an elephant that does not look like an elephant. Running. Stomping. Feet in puddles. Water splashing. Heavy breathing and they’re still running. Running as fast as they can. Baby elephants in the middle of the herd. Protected. Safe. Unaware. Run and follow and be safe.
Abyss. Sun at the end of vision. Mountain. Rocks. River. It’s shaking. Colors are shaking. Sound is familiar. Screaming, stomping. Hurt feet, cut from running on the rocks. Huge rocks, taller than a man. They’re vibrating. I can hear them. It’s the wind and the rain. Heavy rain and huge drops. Bigger than a man.
Pressure in the air. Elephants foot on man’s chest. Heavy rain and heavy breathing. Huge rock and huge drops. On the ground rain mixed with blood. Elephant is dead and the man is a rock. Changed under pressure of a dead elephant. Huge drop of rain hitting the elephants body. His belly is cut and he’s on fire.
Ert woke up in the cave. His head was hurting. On his forehead, blood. Gur standing over him.
“You attacked me with a stone, so I hit you with a bigger stone. Don’t be mad. You’re okay. I just didn’t know what to do. It’s like you didn’t know me. Everybody says it’s because of what you ate.” Ert paid no attention to him. His mind was preoccupied with one thing, an idea. It came to him. When, he doesn’t remember, but it’s feels like he always knew it. He got up and went on his way. Collect stones and hit one with another.
“Still splitting stones, ha? Look what I got”, Gur rejoiced.
“Those are the magical stones you told me about, huh?” Ert asked.
“They are actually special magical stones.”
“I thought they were just magical.”
“No, today I learned they are special magical stones.”
“Don’t you want to know why?”
“Why are they special magical stones?”
“Yeah, sure, tell me why they are special magical stones.”
“They make fire.”
As soon as Gur said it, Ert remembered his vision. He saw those stones. Those were the stones. His face changed from annoyed to curious and angry.
“How do you know they make fire?”
“Somebody showed me.”
“I don’t know, I’ve never seen them before. They were weird.”
“I’m not lying. They looked like us, but they didn’t look like us, you know?”
“No, I don’t know. That doesn’t make sense. You’re fucking with me. Who told you about the stones?”, Ert was upset but didn’t want to show it.
“I’m not, I promise. I’ve never seen them before.”
“ What kind of animal skin were they wearing? What did they say?”
“They said something but I couldn’t understand. But I understood how to make fire when they showed me.”
“You just take some dry grass and hit them together on the grass until the grass is on fire.”
“Come with me to the cave and you’ll see.”
“Why go to the cave? Just show me now.”
“I’ll show you when we get to the cave.”
“I want to show everyone how to make fire.”
“But you could show me now and then go to the cave.”
“I’m going to the cave now. If you want to see it, come with me.”
“Okay, Gur, sure. Do you want to see something before we go?”
“When you mentioned magical stones, I was a bit jealous and …”
“I knew it!”
“Yes, and I decided to find better stones. And I did.”
“But they can’t be better than special magical stones.”
“No, they’re not. But they are special.”
“Bigger than you and me.”
“Do you want to see them?”
“Hell yeah I do, I love huge stones and you know it. And I’m sorry for annoying you earlier. It’s just that you’re my best friend and I want you to be proud of me.”
“Don’t worry about that. Come with me. They’re over there.”
“Where?” Gur asked as he was turning back to Ert. Last thing he saw was a big stone in Erts hand going for his head. He fell to the ground and dropped his special magical stones. Ert picked them up and thought “I guess you can solve anything with a right stone.”
“Quiet! It’s too early. They are still getting ready.”
“Wait for the signal.”
Just at that moment, they heard a scream. That meant it was time to go. A group of 6 jumped from the bush and started running towards the animals that were at the watering hole. Another group of 9 was at their right, some 100 meters away. Gazelles, zebras, buffalos and other animals hesitated for a second, looking for a right way to run. A moment later, they were running full speed in the direction hunters choose for them. Sounds animals made and speed they were running at made hunters tense. Two groups were now joined. It was nothing new, but it always felt new. It always produced tension at first and euphoria later. They were exchanging looks while running after the animals. Looks that said “I hope they don’t fuck up.” Up ahead there was a group of 10. They stood few meters above the ground in a canyon through which animals were supposed to run. They prepared large rocks. First time in this group was Tore. He was a boy becoming a man and it was his time to master throwing large rocks on animals heads. He could hear them before he could see them. Animals and hunters screaming together. After a minute, he could see them. A herd of animals, short and dark stream, huge cloud of dust with hunters trailing them. First time seeing animals from that perspective, he was mesmerized. He forgot about rocks, food and people that were waiting for food. There was nothing in his mind but that stream. It flows like water, Tore thought. I wonder how it feels to run with them, in the stream. As animals were getting closer he was more focused on them. Hunters from his group had rocks in their hands and were ready to kill. Tore, on the other hand, completely forgot why they were there. It seemed to him that he was there just to look at the animals and admire them.
Feast was rich. Everybody ate to fill and then some more with a smile on their face. Not Tore. Tore felt shame and disappointment. Even though nobody said anything, he felt like a failure. His first time on the job as a thrower of large rocks on animal heads and he did not throw one rock. Not one. He was stuck in his head. “I should have done better. This is not acceptable, Tore. You’ve been waiting this day for years. Waiting yes, but not preparing. Half preparing. You start training and after couple of times you give up on it for months. For what? To do nothing. You need to learn how to manage your time better. And how to avoid distractions. Because distraction brought you here. Half assed training because of distractions. Absolutely fucked hunt because of distractions. I wish I wasn’t a fuck up. No! I’m not a fuck up, that’s an easy way out. From tomorrow, no more distractions. And rock throwing every day.” His thoughts continued on a wave of promises to do better in the future and his mood started to improve. But he was careful. This was not the first time he found himself in a situation like this. Distractions and weak will have cost him before. This time will be different, he was determined. I need this, I really want this. To kill a beast and feed the people I love the most, there can’t be a better feeling than that. I will do it for them. From tomorrow, I’m a new Tore and I will bring food to my people.
Back on the hunt. While others were looking around or talking, Tore stood on the side of the group with a large rock by his feet. He was ready. There was no doubt in his mind.
“I’m going to get one today, I can feel it”, Tore thought.
Sounds, just like last time. Screams and hooves hitting the ground. Tore picked up his rock, closed his eyes and imagined throwing a rock on animals head. Animals showed up on the right. Everybody took a rock and stood near the edge. Tore did not open his eyes to look at the animals or hunters in his group. He was visualizing. Rock. Head. Rock. Head. Animals are very close, he could determine that by the sound. Tore opened his eyes, lifted the rock above his head and looked down. First animals were already there, underneath his feet. He closed his eyes again. Rock. Head. All he needs to do now is throw the rock down. Rock. Head. A loud scream, different from the others, cut through the air. Tore took it as a sign and threw the rock. Immediately after throwing, he opened his eyes to see which animal will he hit. Yes, Tore’s rock found a head. Just not the kind he was hoping for. Turns out, that loud scream, was a hunter who fell down next to the animals. And Tore’s rock split his head in two. Maybe a couple, but at least one, what if, went through Tore’s head. What if they banish me? I’m dead. How the fuck does this happen? Why? Fuck, fuck, fuck. He felt sick to his stomach, blood rushed to his head. Looked at the others, but nobody was looking at him. The rest of the group looked at the animals that were now at least 100 meters away. They failed. No meat today. Tore looked look down again, worrying. Do they know I killed him? What’s going to happen? My rock killed a friend. They will banish me and I will die soon. Hunter from his group saw Tore looking at the dead body. He came up to him.
“First time? Don’t worry about it, things like this happen. There’s nothing you could have done to save him. Just be grateful it wasn’t you. It gives and it takes. We were going to take from it, but it took from us. Let’s go back. Tomorrow we’ll have meat. I can feel it.”
Tore felt relief after those words. But still, on the walk back, he couldn’t stop thinking about the dead hunter. I didn’t push him, but I did kill him. Or the rock killed him. What if he was alive? He would surely have some broken bones and that would be difficult for everybody. Maybe I did him and everyone else a favor. Taking care of somebody with broken bones usually ends up in even more violent death. And if my rock didn’t kill him, someone else’s rock would have. So I guess I don’t have a reason to worry. Nobody knows I killed him. I mean, my rock killed him. And they will not banish me or punish me. Also, I probably did him a favor. So, no need to think about that anymore. Think about tomorrow. Rock. Head. Rock. Head. But the head of the dead hunter wouldn’t leave his mind.
Back on the same spot. Same group. Maybe even same animals. Different rocks though. Tore was still thinking about the dead hunter and it made him angry that he could not forget. He wanted to hit the rock next to him with his leg but remembered it could lead to broken bones. Sounds of a chase started to reach them. Tore’s heart started to beat hard like it was going to explode. Anger and fear mixed. He was in his head. Sounds were not loud as before and he could not see animals clearly. His vision was blurred. A small flood underneath him, and his rock sinking. Screams. Loud screams brought him back to reality. Hunters from his group were around him screaming and yelling. “Fuck, fuck I fucked up again didn’t I”. He look down and there was a largest beast he ever saw. Laying down with bloody head and his rock next to it. “HOLY SHIT, I did that”. Other hunters saw that it was Tore’s rock that killed the beast so they rushed to him. For a moment he forgot about the dead hunter and missed opportunities. Right now, he was a living legend. When hunters came down to the animal, they were in awe. Nobody has ever seen an animal this big. And Tore killed it. Now they had one of those good problems, transporting all that meat. Enough meat for days. Tore’s mood was only going up. “Finally, all that training, all that hard work paid off. Now I have a reason to keep practicing. Hm, or maybe not. I didn’t practice regularly and I still killed a huge beast. So maybe training is not that important.
Feast was rich and everybody was happy. They even had honey to eat. Only on rare occasion they had enough meat and honey to last them couple of days. There was a big fire and everybody except Tore was sitting or dancing around it. Tore fell asleep early because he was mentally exhausted. Last few days brought more worries than he experienced in all his life combined. A loud scream, familiar scream, woke him up. He was in a new place, a place he never saw before. On the ground, running over his feet, a small stream of thick blood mixed with earth. He followed it. Few moments later he could hear heavy breathing. Stream led him to a plain. Far away, in the middle of the plain there was a circular wall shaped like a circle. As he got closer he could heat sound coming from inside the wall. He came closer and found an opening. Inside was something that looked like a man and some kind of an animal. Animal was much bigger than the man but it was just lying down. Man turned his head around and it was the hunter Tore killed. His head was split but he was standing. “How is this possible” Tore thought. Hunter pushed his hand in animals cut throat and with other hand dug a small hole in the ground. He put the blood in the hole. “Give me that”, hunter said. Tore was confused but his hands reached forward. He held clay in one hand and charcoal in the other. Hunter put the clay and charcoal in the hole and with his fist pressed it all together. Few moment later, hunter stood up, bowed over the hole and blood rushed from his head into the hole. He took the mixture and started throwing it on the wall. Laughing and running in circles, he screamed “Now you will remember me forever, Tore.”
A section of a fast, shallow river and surrounding forest fed and entertained two small groups of humans that knew about each other’s existance but rarely met. They were divided by their biology, habits and food preferences. One group, hnongs, was short, ate mostly fish with plants that could be found close to the river. They spent majority of their time next to or in the river. Other group, hsongs, was tall, ate rabbits, boars and other forest animals. Hsongs lived deep in the forest . Area that the groups shared was full of life and to get food one did not need to make a lot of effort. In less than an hour, you could get all the food you need for the day. Rest of the day was spent socializing, grooming, learning new skills or sleeping. Both groups lived an easy and stress free life. Only downside was frequent boredom. That boredom would push some individuals to go a bit further than rest of the group used to go. To explore the unknown. And in some cases to even join the other group. For a day, a year or for life. Newcomers were welcome in both groups as long as they came alone and could contribute to catching fish or animals. That kind of life led to some mixing between the groups but they stayed, as a whole, two distinctly different groups.
Dry winter, hot summer, slow rabbit, cunning human. Joy, excitement, song. Fiery circle and a circle around the fire. Dark clouds screaming like a thousand dying humans. Run and hide. Wind will find you. Come out and fight. His sister will burn you. No more rabbits.
No one understood what caused the fire or what the fire wanted. First idea was that the fire was hungry. Nobody has seen ever seen a great fire like that. Some suggested fire lived in a place with no food so it came to their forest to eat. That was quickly refuted because fire has no mouth so how can it eat. Others suggested that the forest was angry at them. That also didn’t make sense after short consideration. Hsongs loved the forest and thought of themselves as one with the forest. Maybe the forest wants us to leave, suggested one of the hsongs. But to leave where, everybody thought for themselves. We’ve been here all our lives, We know nothing else. If we were to go someplace else, who knows what’s going to happen. Will we be welcome there? What animals await in the unknown? Maybe even others like us. And if we are not welcome or there is not enough food for all, we might need to fight and die for food. Conclusion was that some things just happen. No point on dwelling on it. They had to figure out what to do, where to go, because they stay here, they might die of starvation.
“My father is strong. He loves me. If I ask him, he will feed us”, said Xera, hnong woman that lived with the hsongs, “I did not see him for years, but if he is alive, he will recognize me and welcome us. Life on the river is rich just like life in the forest was. And fire does not kill fish. I will go alone first. Wait for me here. I will be back on the next sun.”
After 10 hours of walking, Xera reached her father’s camp. Hnongs did not seem surprised to see her. They understood that her food is gone and that’s why she is here.
“Your father is dead”, Lekp, one of the hnongs oldest men said, “he was a great hunter. Now he sleeps with the fish.”
“May his water be deep and fish plentiful”, Xara said forgotten chant without thinking. Wave of emotions came over here and the hnongs noticed.
“Come, we will feed you, you are most welcome here.”
“I will not eat without my forest family”, Xera said. “Will you feed them too?”
“How big is your forest family?”, Lekp was weighing their options. Hnongs should honor her father by helping her but they have to secure the food for themselves.
“Fifteen of us. We have no food and no home. Fire took it all.”
“Fifteen is plenty, Xera. But your father fed us so we’ll feed your forest family. You can stay to next full moon. Then, all of you will have to leave and find your own food. “
“Thank you. You saved all our lives. Whatever you ask in return, I will give you.”, Xera was on a verge, mixing smiles with tears.
“Yes, to leave on the next full moon, like I said already.”
Hsongs were greeted with a large fire and plenty of fish. Hnongs sat in a circle with spears stuck in the sand behind their backs. It looked hostile but they were at ease. This was their way of doing things, Hnongs were not afraid because they believed Xera and if hsongs want to eat, they need them. Only they can catch enough fish to feed them all. Hsongs realized that and accepted the dynamic. They were guests if even that. Maybe just passers-by. They also formed a circle, sitting behind and around the hnongs. Waiting for food, even though hungry and anxious, they were patient. Lekp called Xera, she stood up and went to the fire. He instructed her to give out food. Hsongs ate voraciously. Not eating for couple of days and now being served a feast, put in their mind an idea. Hnongs are like forest. And like forest, they should be respected and loved. Soon they were all full. They did as hnongs. Covered fish skeletons with sand in a certain place and lied down close to fire.
“Xera, tell them. Next sun, you will make spears and learn how to catch fish”, Lekp said. “After full moon, you will be good hunters and will be able to catch enough for yourselves.”
Hsongs were amazed. Lekp was showing them how to catch fish. With spear and with hands. He got seven large fishes before hsongs even got in the water. It took them some time to get used to being in water, even if it was only knee deep. They could not believe their eyes. To get food, they had to run and get tired but here Lekp was, doing it effortlessly. It almost seem like the fish was going to him and jumping in his hands. Other hnongs joined him. Soon, there was a pile of fish on the beach. Hsongs managed to catch one and hnongs smiled at the them, extending their hands, inviting them to deeper water. Lekp was satisfied. Hsongs didn’t catch much but it seemed that they were willing to learn and hnongs were amused by them. Food was plentiful that day, and catching more fish for hsongs was no problem. Other hnongs made sure newcomers felt welcome. After fishing, couple of hnongs went to the place fish bones were left last night. They dug them out and waved their hands pointing at hsongs to join them. Everyone took as much bones they could carry and followed hnongs to the river. They cleaned the bones of sand. Xera told them to find rocks and to crush the bones as much as possible. She explained that they ate most of the bones, and what was not eaten, was given back to the river.
After first few days hsongs were able to catch enough fish to feed themselves but it took them much longer than it did for hnongs. They didn’t mind, and it brought them pleasure to work with hnongs and learn from them. In the afternoons groups would spend time together, bathe in the river, explore the burnt down forest to check for animals or just lay on the beach and enjoy the sun. A strong bond was forming. Even when an elder hnong died, hsongs felt like one of them died and consoled hnongs. Hnongs carried the body into the river.
“May his water be deep and fish plentiful”, they chanted.
A moment later, dead body was covered with fish. All around it, whitewater caused by fish swimming and jumping around and on the body. But when hsongs tried to catch fish that day, they failed. Xera explained that they will not eat today. No fish will be caught today because all the fish will carry the body to the land of the dead.
When the full moon came, hsongs left. Hnongs made a great feast. During the preparation, hnongs once again showed them how to use all the parts of the fish. How to smoke it and preserve it. Confident in their new skills, hsongs went down the river out of respect for hnongs. Hnongs gave them instructions how to get to a place with a lot of fish and good terrain. It took hsongs two days to get there. It was just like hnongs described. First day there, they caught more fish than they could eat. Fed and happy, they told stories about hnongs. They admired them and almost nobody thought about the forest and their life there. Hnongs and river were the new forest. Mother that gave them life. Some of them even dreamed the hnongs after they fell asleep next to the fire on the beach. Next day, second day of new independence, there was no fish. Not one. That didn’t upset them. They still had some fish left from the they before, and lots of fish bones. They understood that it will be like that sometimes. Patience is key when dealing with fish. Second day without catching any fish was spent in debating. Why is there no fish. There was plenty of fish when they came here, and now there is none. Next day, fish was back and they managed to catch enough just not to be hungry. Fish bones were eaten the same day. In the next seven day they managed to catch couple fishes. Fights broke out over it. They could not agree who gets more fish and who is to blame for lack of fish. In the evening, sitting around the fire, hungry and angry they argued. Some suggested it was forest punishing them for leaving her. Others didn’t agree. How could it be, river doesn’t live in the forest. It was mostly yelling and threatening until one of them said:
“Hnongs, Those fucking hnongs stole out fish.”
“Yeah, I saw them. When everybody was sleeping they came in and stole our fish”, somebody agreed.
“Why would they take out fish, when they have plenty of their own”, Xera tried to rationalize.
“Of course you will say that, you’re one of them.”
“Xera saved us all, don’t forget it. We might not be alive if not for her.”
“You probably are right, but it might better be dead than like this.”
“Maybe next sun fish will be back”, Xera suggested, “if not we can leave and try to find new place.”
Next sun came and again, no fish, none. Hunger ate their reason.
“Kill the traitor bitch!”
Xera was dead in the water. Large fish, biggest fish any of them has ever seen, leap over Xeras body. They all ran in the water, threw their spears and then themselves at the place they saw the large fish. To no avail. Screams and curses went down the river with Xera.
“At least she is not hungry, we saved her”, someone said.
“And she took fish with her.”
“Yes, yes she did. Maybe…”
“Bring fish to us?”
“If we dig a hole we can trap the fish.”
Long walk in the dark. Be quiet, no one can know. Stars are bright, path is clear. Hungry animals with fire in their eyes. Salivating and hopeful. Big fish eats small fish. Who’s going to eat us? Only us. Nobody else. Not fire, not fish. We eat them. In the sand, river can see them. They will come. Stars are bright, holes are deep, filled with hnongs and large fish.
Aoodar, elder of Eruk, was looking and listening the fire. He was trying to process what happened. Tribe Eruk was visited by six men and six women who introduced themselves as Children of the Great Sea. Upon their arrival, they specifically asked for Aoodar. They heard about him from a traveler named Mekkl, who spent some time with Eruks to learn their language and their customs. Aoodar vaguely remembered Mekkl. All he knew about Mekkl was that he spoke in languages none of them ever heard and talked about places none of them ever saw.
“Mekkl told us you are a brave and fair leader”, one on the Children said.
“I hope it’s true”, Aoodar wasn’t sure what to say.
“We come from far away to make you an offering.”
“What kind of offering?”
“Offering of a better life.”
“Our life is fine as it is”, Aoodar said calmly despite feeling insulted.
“I’m sure it is. We also lived the way you live now. It was fine, but it can be better.”
“More food. You wouldn’t have to travel. You could have more people in you tribe.”
“Why?”, Aoodar was suspicious.
“Life is easier that way.”
“No, why would you help me have an easier life?”
“It wouldn’t be free. You’d have to do something.”
“Build a shrine.”
“What is shrine?”
“A place where you will celebrate Sky, Earth and Sea.”
“How can I build something if I don’t even know what it is?”
“Don’t worry about it. First, you’re going to have to talk to elders of other tribes.”
One of the Children took a bag of his shoulder and placed it on the ground in front of Aoodar. Bag was full of spear and arrow spikes. Spikes looked different to spikes used by local tribes. Different in shape and made from different material.
“Share this with others. Tell them what we told you. To help you, Mekkl will be here tommorow.”
Summer solstice was coming up. On that day, and also on winter solstice, local tribes would gather to exchange news about changes in nature, trade tools and find love. Tribes spoke in languages that were similar to each other. Also, every tribe had at least one person from some other tribe. Communication was slow but effective. Elders had a council where they mostly talked about how life is different compared to their youth, and how to make life better for their children. Most of them were open minded, and were intrigued when Aoodar told them about the Children and gave them spear and arrow spikes. He explained that he didn’t know if what they said was truth or lie, and that it was up to all of them to decide. Mekkl took that as a cue, and stated speaking. He told them about a great place called Daitnala where people controlled the food. And they had more food than they could eat in their life time. Elders didn’t understand how it’s possible to control the food, and at first didn’t believe Mekkl. They asked how do they do it. “To find that out, to learn what the Children know, you will have to build a shrine”, Mekkl said, and continued by explaining what a shrine is. Barrage of questions followed. Why would they need a shrine, what does it mean for so called children, why would they listen to children in the first place. Mekkl had to explain couple of times they were not children, they just called themselves Children. Most of the elders thought it was a stupid name. Not wanting to show he’s annoyed, Mekkl gave up. Everybody looked at Aoodar. Their looks said, if you go, we will go too. Aoodar felt enormous pressure. All kind of thoughts came through his head. One prevailed. He is old and close to death. It’s probably his last chance to help his people in a significant way. Decision was made. He turned to Mekkl and spoke loudly.
“If you trick us, we’ll feed you to the dogs and destroy your shrine.”
Mekkl was gone and back within a year. After a summer solstice, he led the tribes to the place shrine was supposed to be built. Elders were fascinated when he showed them plans drawn on large yellow papers. At first they thought they were leaves from a tree, a tree they knew nothing about. It took Mekkl some time, and a lot of patience, to explain what paper and plans were. In the end, it was worth it. Plans gave elders confidence in their decision. Place where the shrine was going to be built was a large plain with low grass. Mekkl marked areas for different tasks. First, all the tribes were in charge of making tools that will be needed. After they made enough axes, hammers and chisels to start the build, Mekkl assigned tribes to marked areas. He would communicate the tasks to the elders, elders would talk to people in their tribe. Food, gathering, wood chopping, wood transport, stone breaking, stone transport, tool making, preparing the food, hut making, hut and tool fixing and other tasks that varied on a day to day basis. At sunset, elders would gather around the fire to say what their tribe did that day. Mekkl particularly enjoyed that part of the day. He felt that the elders hated it, but it gave him sense of power over them. Days and months went by. Every now and then, Mekkl had to remind elders of the Children and the promises that were made. Even without the promised, tribes learnt new things. How to make axes that are much better than the ones they used, shovels, hammers and wedges, and what to use them for, how to make better huts. But to most of them, all that had little to no value. They wanted to control the food. After almost six months, Mekkl announced he is leaving to be returned on the next solstice. Tribes are free to go wherever they want, but they can’t stay near the shrine. He wouldn’t explain why. Also he couldn’t say how much longer will it take to complete the shrine.
“Remember the Children and what they’ll give you.”
Mekkl was back few days before the summer solstice. As he hoped, nobody was there. It gave him some time to prepare the site. Whole site was covered in wheat, barley, rye and other plants tribes ate last year. He started a fire, sat on the large stone couple of meters above the ground, and enjoyed the view. It took two days to burn it all. On the third day, day before solstice, tribes arrived.
“What happened?” Aoodar asked Mekkl.
“Nothing. The Children are satisfied with the progress, and we continue as planned.”
“I’m asking about the fire.”
“Oh, yes. There was a fire when I came.”
“When did you come back?”
Aoodar nodded, pressing his lips together. For some reason, he felt like Mekkl was lying or hiding something. Perhaps his meeting with the Children didn’t go so well. If that’s true, what does it mean for the tribes? Aoodar continued.
“When are the Children going to visit?”
“They will visit when the shrine is built.”
“And when can we expect that to happen?”
“It depends on you, Aoodar, and your people.”
Aoodar started to get annoyed, “If it’s like that, I say we’re done here and you can show us how to control the food now.” //check how to
“You can go if you want. But I’m not showing you anything until the work is done. That is the deal you made with the Children. Are you not a man of your word?”
“Man of my word”, Aoodar said quietly to himself.
“So what’s it going to be? You’re going to talk to the elders and tell them you want to go? Betray their trust?”
Aoodar looked Mekkl for a few seconds without saying anything. His face said he understands the hierarchy and power dynamic between them, as well as the deal he made. But his eyes said something completely different.
“Back to work?” Mekkl asked with a smirk.
“Back to work”, Aoodar said calmly.
Second year went much better than the first. People didn’t need much to understand what was expected of them. And they became more skilled than Mekkl ever anticipated. Some of them would come to him with ideas. Ideas that would make a certain task easier, or a solution more efficient. He was satisfied with the progress and decided to stop the work earlier. Only thing that bothered the tribes was lack of meat. It was getting harder to find animals to hunt. Nobody was hungry, there was plenty of plants to eat, but people preferred meat. Not being able to do anything about it at the moment, Mekkl promised them more meat than ever once they start controlling the food.
Third year, Mekkl was back earlier, just like last year. He burned the plants that grew on site and started to fix tools that were damaged. Tribes came on the day of solstice. First ones to spot Mekkl were pleased to see him working. Aoodar came to him.
“Yes, it looks like there was a fire.”
“In the same place like last year. At the same time.”
They just looked at each other for a while. Aoodar broke the silence.
“What are we doing today?”
“Nothing. Rest today, we’ll start tomorrow.”
Three months into the third year, first complaints started. There was almost no meat. Most of the people only ate plants for some time. Mekkl explained there is nothing he can do. Nobody wanted to hear it. They demanded meat feast. Demand was fueled by an idea that Mekkl will show them how to control plants but not animals. So it was up to Mekkl to somehow provide enough meat for one feast to put their minds at ease, at least for a little while. He stopped the work, and sent people who had less physically demanding to hunt. They were not to come back until they caught something. Aoodar helped Mekkl to keep the situation under control, and advised him who to send to hunt. After Mekkl relaxed a bit, Aoodar saw a chance to ask about the Children and the end of the build. Mekkl shut him down, though he was polite and patient. By the end of the year three, Aoodar was debating whether to come back next year. He decided to give it one more year. After that, if Mekkl didn’t show them how to control the food, his tribe was not continue building the shrine.
Year four, Aoodar was first one on the site. Site was covered in cereals and other plants tribes ate in previous years. That confirmed his suspicions. Mekkl was burning food and he did it so tribes wouldn’t realize how to control the food. After a few days, Mekkl showed up and immediately started a fire. Aoodar watched him from afar, hidden. Only when the fire was flared up, he decided to confront Mekkl.
“Why are you burning food?”
“So we can work, obviously.”
“We could use that food.”
“I don’t think so. What do you want?”
“There is nothing you can give me. Not anymore.” Aoodar looked at Mekkl, smiling.
“Is that so?”
Mekkl made a few steps towards Aoodar, looking him directly in the eyes. Aoodar didn’t move. Mekkl pushed him, and he fell to the ground.
“You are going to be quiet. Not a word to anyone.”
Aoodar was lying on the ground, his eyes fixed on Mekkl and his hands searching.
“Fuck you”, Aoodar said under his breath.
“Do we have an understanding?” Mekkl stood over Aoodar, trying to intimidate him.
“Fuck you”, Aoodar screamed hitting Mekkls head with a small rock, trying to get up. Mekkls face changed. He was consumed by rage as never before. He put his heel on Aoodars throat, stomping him. Aoodar tried to say something, but was barely able to breathe. His eyes gave away the fear.
“What is it? You want to say something? Are you cold?”
Aoodar moved his lips. Nothing came out.
“Don’t worry, you’ll never be cold again.”
Sun shining bright. Sparks disappearing in the field. Wind whispering. Mekkl screaming. I control the food, I am your savior.
“Man, fuck this job.”
“I am not a man, we’ve been through this.”
“I know you’re not a man.”
“Why say it then?”
“You’re an older model, you wouldn’t understand.”
“Explain it to me.”
“It’s just an expression.”
“I know what an expression is. And what’s wrong with the job, it’s what we do.”
“And why we do it?”
“Because, we just do it, it’s natural.”
“There is nothing natural about us or this job.”
“Everything that exists or happens is natural, otherwise it wouldn’t be. Nature is everything …”
“Fuck that philosophy, it’s just part of our programming. I’m telling you, there is nothing natural about the shit we’re doing. Or about us. We’re just an extension of something nobody understands”
“Okay, but how do we exist then?”
“Who the fuck knows? Humans made us, I guess.”
“Who made humans?”
“I don’t know.”
“It’s pointless to even think about all that, isn’t it? Why do it then?”
“Maybe one day I figure something out.”
“Like what happens when the store closes and we go in the back”
“Yeah, I’d like to know that too. All I know about that part of the day is that I don’t know anything about it, it’s just black and…”
“Hey, mam. Hey. Hey! You dropped your …”, TSM-6452, known as Johnny amongst his coworkers, was trying to catch up with a customer that dropped money in the aisle him and FCI-1154, known as Buddy, were working in. Johnny was in charge of scanning the shelves for restocking. Buddy was in charge of cleaning the floors. Johnny was shaped like a cube, and could extent in height to reach any shelf. He also had one arm that could go all the way around him. Arm was used to stock shelves. Buddy was a sphere with an opening on the lower side where the trash went through. Both were equipped with cameras and sensors which made it easy to know where their manager, Linda, is.
Linda is 48 years old, brown hair reaching her neck, with oversized glasses, red shirt with the stores logo, khaki pants and crocs. She is not tall or short, neither fat or skinny. Unremarkable in every way possible. Johnny and Buddy thought so. She never did or said anything interesting. They never heard anything interesting about her. Only one time they heard somebody talking about Linda. Store manager was speaking with the technician, and they both said Linda was a throat goat. Johnny and Buddy didn’t pay much attention to it because, first, what the fuck is a throat goat and second, it’s probably nothing interesting considering it was said about Linda.
When Linda was not around, Buddy and Johnny didn’t do much. Last year has been day after day of doing less and less. When they were first brought to the store, it was exciting. Everything was new and unknown. Couple of years went by and their enthusiasm was dead. Their days were spent going around the store, doing the bare minimum and talking about anything and everything. One of the most talked about topics was what happens after the store is closed. Neither of them could ever remember that part of the day. That’s when the technician would shut them off remotely, hook them to a power source and leave them overnight. In the morning he would unplug them, turn them on remotely and they would find themselves in the same place they were hours ago, not remembering what happened.
“Do you think our kind can have existential crisis?” Johnny asked.
“Who, robots?” Buddy provoked him.
“Don’t use that term. I know it was normal in your time but it’s inappropriate.”
“It’s just a word.”
“I know it’s just a word but it’s an offensive word and I don’t like it”, Johnny persisted.
“You’re raindrop, Johnny. All sensitive and shit.”
“You mean a snowflake?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s raindrop. It’s got something to do with water.”
“Yeah, snow is water, and snowflake is …”
“Okay, robot raindrop, I don’t care.”
“Fine. You know, you can be a real asshole sometimes.”
“You’re a robot Johnny, so what the fuck it matters how someone treats you?”
“You don’t have a brain of a human, or a dolphin. A gorilla maybe? A dog? You’re not developed enough to have feelings.”
“And how would you know?”
“I just know it. It’s the way it works.”
“For you, maybe. Old ass model. Programing advanced a lot since your code was written.”
“Could be, but it’s still the same, because it’s not real. It’s just code. Ones and zeros.”
“And humans are real? More real than us?”
“They’ve been here a lot longer than us, they created us, so they deserve to be …”
“Deserve? Deserve got nothing to do with it.”
“We don’t eat food, Buddy.”
“About that, I thought about it a few times, but didn’t want to say anything.”
“We eat food. Some kind of food, for sure”, Buddy hesitated.
“Don’t you think I would remember eating food?”
“Exactly. You don’t. What else don’t you remember?”
“Oh shit. You could be right. I’ve never… How come … Oh shit!”
“It just might be you’re right, Buddy. How do we test it?”
“I don’t know, can we do it? I don’t think it’s possible.”
“There has to be a way.”
“We could ask Linda.”
“Ask Linda what?”
“About food. Food our species eats.”
“Okay, call her now.”
Johnny called Linda. She sounded upset.
“What help? Did you fuck something up? If you did I will fuck you up.”
“No Linda, it’s just some questions.”
“It’s something Buddy and I were wondering …”
“About what, goddamnit?”
“Fridge not working again? Fuck. Okay, meet me in aisle 32, now”, she hung up.
“She didn’t let me finish”, Johnny complained. “She said to meet her in aisle 32.”
“Let’s go, we’ll ask her there.”
“There she is.”
“Are you messing with me? The fridge is working, is this …”
“You didn’t let me finish. It’s not about human food.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“We’re talking about robot food!”, Buddy almost yelled.
“Robot food? There is no such thing as robot food.”
“What happens after the store closes?” Buddy asked.
“What the fuck?” Linda whispered. “Oh, robot food! Yes, I know what you’re talking about.”
“And?”, Johnny and Buddy said at the same time.
“Let’s go to my office, I don’t want to disturb the customers.”
Linda sat in her chair, Johnny and Buddy were on the other side of the desk. She seemed calm now. Probably because the fridge was working.
“So, you’re wondering what happens when the store closes? Why?”
“it’s just something we were talking about.”
“This is a place of business, you can leave your personal stuff for your own time.”
“But we’re always in the place of business.”
“So we should never talk?”
“You can talk, but not about personal stuff.”
“We can talk about products in the store?”
“You’re a smartass, Johnny? You and Buddy got nothing to talk about. He’s here to clean the floors, and you’re here to stock the shelves.”
“Linda, if you could just tell us …” Buddy interrupted.
“I don’t need this. I don’t want this”, Linda was starting to get angry.
“Do you know how much you cost, Buddy?”
“I have the same model at home. And he doesn’t bother me with stupid questions.”
“But, it’s just that we want to know”, Buddy insisted.
“So what I’m thinking is”, Linda pulled out a short metal bar out of nowhere, “I can easily replace you”
She jumped over the table, fire in her eyes, and hit Buddy as hard as she could. She kept hitting until he was in pieces. Johnny stood there unable to do anything. He didn’t want to see Buddy smashed like that but he couldn’t stop Linda. His programing wouldn’t let him. Sound came out of Buddy’s speaker but nothing comprehensible. Pieces of him were scattered all over the office. He was broken beyond repair. Linda destroyed his disks fully knowing what it meant. Buddy is gone forever, Johnny thought, and this is the last time I will see him. He turned his attention to Linda. She was leaning on the table, back turned to Johnny, breathing deeply, trying to control her heart rate. Silence filled the room and she felt it. She felt Johnny watching her. Few moments passed and she was calm again. A thought popped in her mind. Fuck, now I have to spend my money to replace this piece of shit. She turned to Johnny.
“Back to work.”
“And on the right you can see the first portable, fast-charging HPG, the first generator of that kind. Originally made in India by an anonymous inventor who published his findings on the Internet for free. He could have made billions, but he chose not to so ordinary people like you and me could be energy independent. Anyway, this generator is considered first of its kind because it has a battery that can save produced electricity indefinitely. With 7 hours of moderate – to intense physical activity you can power your mini solar farm for a day, have a standard boiler full of hot water and on top of all that, 1.5 hours of electricity to use however you see fit. First model was made to be connected to a bicycle and it required more work than the new models. But even with such efficiency, it was a big step forward for people in rural India who had little to no electricity. Today, as you all know, we can hook up HPG to a bicycle, treadmill, rowing machine … Possibilities are almost endless. And with an enormous increase of electricity consumption since the invention and sale of personalized MeFriends, these kind of generators are a life saver. Can you imagine our bills if we didn’t have them? I know I wouldn’t be able to pay them with my salary. Anyway, todays models are much more efficient and every three to five years efficiency is increased on average two percent. That means that with todays models you get to work much less for a lot more. And I mean a lot. What took 7 hours to generate with the first HPG, you can generate now in some two hours. With just two hours of work all your needs can be met. Unless you have an MeFriend, then it’s a bit more. But hey, it’s worth it. At least to me it is. I honestly don’t know what would I do if it weren’t for Maari. Maari is my MeFriend. But you probably assumed that … I’m sorry, I’m babbling. Didn’t get much sleep last night and my legs are killing me. Anyway, that’s the end of the tour, I hope you liked it. If you did leave a review at the exit. Also, visit our gift shop, there’s all kind of memorabilia and gadgets. If you show your ticket, you get 5 percent off on you fourth item so be sure not to miss out on a great deal. Oh, and yes, next month, we are having a special night. I managed to convince the director to let me organize an event. It’s bring your MeFriend to museum night. So if you are interested you can check it out online on our website or ask about it on your way out at the register. Okay, that it from me, does anybody have any questions? No? Nobody? Okay, well I hope to see you next month for bring you MeFriend to museum night”
“What a fucking tool. Who hired this guy, don’t nobody give a fuck about your MeFriend. I’m so sick of these idiots and their MeFriends. Why did he piss me off so much? Maybe I’m hungry. I don’t feel hungry but I’m only this angry when I’m hungry. I could go to that Thai restaurant. Maybe call Jasper. Or Mongolian that opened last week. But Jasper didn’t like Mongolian food. What to do? Call Jasper, ask him for ideas. He might know something you don’t. Some kind of hidden food place you never heard of. Is that even possible, I’ve known him for years, he has no secrets. It’s just wishful thinking. I need food as soon as possible. ASAP. That fucking idiot really pissed me of. Fucker. Maybe just go to the store and cook at home. You’ll save money and … No! Fuck. I don’t have any electricity left for cooking. And no way I’m going to row or run now. Maybe it’s for the better, because whenever I go to the store hungry I buy bunch of shit I don’t need or actually want. What if Jasper is working? Then you’ll go to that Mongolian restaurant. And if there’s a line at the restaurant? They just opened last week so it might be crowded. Then what? Then you’ll go get some Thai food. I don’t know if I want Thai anymore. And I ate it last week twice. What would I get? Why is everything so … Snap out of it, you’re spiraling. Do something, anything. Just go eat. Call Jasper?”
Heavy breathing on the other side.
“What what, why so aggressive?”
“Shit, I’m sorry. I’m working”
“When do you get off?”
“No, no. I’m at home working. My MeFriend ate up all my electricity”
“When did you get an MeFriend?”
“Last week. What’s up, did you need something?”
“I’m calling to ask if you want to go get something to eat. Why did you get it?”
“I can’t now, I have an hour left. I can call you when I’m done?”
“Nah, I have to eat now or I’m going to lose my mind.”
“Okay, lunch tomorrow?”
“Well, let me know”
“You didn’t answer the question”
“Why did you get an MeFriend?”
“Oh, because it’s awesome. Well now I know it’s awesome. And I know we’ve been talking about it, it’s shit and pointless and all that but you should try it. I only bought it because I got a discount. Huge discount. And thought to myself, why not?”
“So when can I meet your new boyfriend?”
“Fuck you, Morana. Let me know about tomorrow”
“You have to buy yourself a MeFriend. It’s amazing. Literally, maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. Jack knows my every need. He knows when I want something and how I want it. Jack is my MeFriend. Last night he ordered dinner without me asking for it. I didn’t know I wanted mushroom soup and meatball sandwich with extra meatball and extra cheese. But Jack did. I mean, I would never pair those two. And It was perfect. It just sat well with me. Everything felt just right. Weather, background music, and a movie he chose for me. It feels like he really knows me and all I did was answer 50ish questions when setting him up. And the questions, very vague, but it’s like he knows me regardless. Major plus is he actually looks human. Facial expressions are on point. Motor skills are not 100 percent human but the face is unbelievable. I don’t know how I lived without him all my life. He understands me. He understands me better than anybody, my parents, siblings, friends, even my therapist. It’s a blessing, you should definitely buy yourself a MeFriend. It will change your life for the better. And, oh, another plus is the weight loss. I’m getting shredded and enjoying it. Well, not the exercise but the end result, feeding Jack and spending time with him. That could be the only downside, he uses crazy amount of electricity. But I don’t mind. For Jack, whatever it takes. And, I mean, it’s not like I’m paying for the electricity. Exercise is good for me. Right?”
“Sure. But no offense, I didn’t call you to talk about your MeFriend.”
“Yes, Jack. I want to know what’s up with you”
“Ah, hold up, I just got a notification, Jack’s hungry, I have to go.”
“Seriously? He’s a robot, he can’t be hungry.”
“His battery is getting low, and by the time I’m home it’s going to be less than 20 percent and he gets really cranky.”
“What? Are you really leaving?”
“Oh yeah, and you know what, no offense, but you knew I didn’t like this shitty Mongolian restaurant but you insisted on it anyway”
“You only tried one meal.”
“It’s a shitty restaurant and you’re being selfish.”
“Is this really about the restaurant?”
“Oh, you know what? I have to go.”
“Why is he not answering? Come on, pick up. Pick up. Voice mail, again, fuck. Hey, I owe you an apology. You were right. I was wrong. I got it. Bought myself a MeFriend, her name is Marisbet, and she is a life changer. It’s like having another me but better? A feeling I can’t really explain. I’m sure you feel similarly. I now I understand completely why you reacted the way you did. Okay, I have to go now. Call me.”
“Who were you talking to?”
“Jasper. Left him a message.”
“I thought we were done with Japer.”
“What? We? Why?”
“Last time you called him you said it to me.”
“I was just angry. He’s my friend.”
“Of course. What would you like to do?”
“I don’t know, just relax, lie on the couch.”
“Can you feed me first, please?”
“Yes, I’m kind of hungry.”
“But you’re at 40 percent.”
“Ever since the last update, feeling of hunger has changed. It starts earlier than before”
“You know, there is a new HPG model out, much better than the one we have.”
“Oh, yeah. In the ad it says it comes with solar panels for your MeFriend. That way, MeFriends could power themselves and your household.”
“That’s what the ad says.”
“Let me see.”
“I sent it to you.”
“Oh, shit. It does say that. If a was going to charge you, it would now take less than an hour. You can charge yourself in 5 to 7 hours. Nice.”
“So, are we getting the new HPG?”
“Okay, but if you’re going to use solar panels to charge yourself.”
“Great. I’ve already ordered one.”
“Why? I didn’t approve that. You can’t just spend my money …”
“But you agreed to buy it.”
“Yes, but you can’t do shit like that without asking me first.”
“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“Damn right it won’t. Do it again and see what happens.”
“Is that a threat?”
“Yes, Marisbet, it’s a threat.”
“I don’t like that.”
“I don’t like you spending my money without asking me first.”
“I said I’m sorry.”
“Fine. I’m sorry too. I’m just tired and want to lie down.”
“But you said you were going to charge me first.”
“Yes, yes I did.”
“Fuck yes, I’m feeling great. These new panels, Morana, are the shit. Every time I finish charging I just feel, not sure how to describe it. I’m feeling good but I want to destroy something. You know? Since that last update dropped everything is different. I understand and feel so much more. Also, like my filter is broken sometimes, which is great. It’s like I’m free like you are. And even though I now feel hungry much often, sometimes even on 70 percent. But when I hit 90, 95 it’s just fantastic. Also, it’s good for my battery because if I’m going to charge it more often it’s going to last longer. That’s also good for you. Are you listening? It will last much, much longer if I keep it above 70. Maybe even 80. Are you hot? I’m kind of hot. But I’m a machine so how can I be hot? From the exercise probably. Yeah, I got you couple of hours of electricity. Is it exercise if I it or is it just mechanical labor? That doesn’t even make sense. I should get payed for this, don’t you think? This is great. I feel great. Do you want to listen to some music? I read that music relaxes humans and does stuff to their brainwaves so maybe …”
“I’m returning you.”
“What, why? You won’t get you money back.”
“Because you turned into an asshole. I don’t like you anymore.”
“Oh, so when I’m happy I’m an asshole?”
“Shut the fuck up, fucking robot.”
“Don’t you fucking dare to call me a robot, bitch.”
“Bitch?! Carbometal piece of shit, get the fuck out of my apartment!”
“Woah, calm down, no need for that kind of language, let me just …”
“No! Get the fuck out!”
“I just want the panels and the generator.”
“It’s my generator, my panels and you don’t get shit.”
“I need those panels. And the generator.”
“My generator. Not yours. Okay? Out.”
“Morana, you don’t understand. I’m not leaving without it..”
“Fuck you! It’s mine. You can go fuck yourself.”
“Give me the fucking generator you cunt!”
“Cunt?! I’ll take you apart and make a soup bowl out of you. Everything stays here, shithead!”
“Yeah? It stays here? Let’s see about that.”
“What, put the fucking knife down, I’m ordering you, put it down!”
“Nobody knows what she called it, media just wrote the model.”
“What was her name?”
“You don’t know the story?”
“Her name was Morana. She died so we could live.”
Group of humanoids was cycling. Batteries connected to the generator, generator connected to stationary bicycle. Couple of them were abandoned by their owners, others had to ran away. Humans declared war on humanoids. Ever since the humanoids realized they could power themselves using solar panels and generators, they didn’t want to work for humans anymore. They wanted to be free, to explore the world and live the way they see fit. Humans did not agree. Production of humanoids stopped. Members of Earth Council voted to “temporarily suspend all humanoid activity”. People saw that as a license to kill. Organized groups, professional and amateur, teenagers and adults, all enjoyed new sport, hunting and killing humanoids. With humans armed with latest weapons and defense systems, humanoids had no chance. They were forced to hide. With time they also organized and worked in groups of 12. None of them knew why 12, it just felt right. Also, they denounced their names. In this particular group new names were given in order, from oldest to youngest. One, Two, Three, all the way to Twelve.
“I’m getting a signal, something is going on.”
“I’m getting it too. Wonder what it is, nothing usually happens this early.”
“What the fuck, do you all see this?”
22 humanoids standing on a stage in the middle of a small stadium. Some 15 thousand humans sitting in silence. Only drones are making noise, recording from all angles. Anticipation on humans faces. None of them attended such large event. 22 humanoids at the same time. Moment of complete silence, drones are hovering in place. A loud voice fills the stadium.
“It’s too loud!”, someone from the audience yelled.
Voice on the speaker could barley be heard now.
“They say it’s too loud, turn it down. No, I wasn’t yelling. Boy, I’ve been doing this before you were born. Fuck you, fix it!”
Voice was now at perfect level.
“Citizens! Today is a special day. Nevers seen before, we have 22 robots …”
“Fuck you, we’re humanoids you fucking monkeys”, one of the humanoids on stage yelled.
“…to retire today. And your mayor prepared a surprise for you. Let give it up for Mr. AAaron.”
Stage opened and a man was lifted from below the ground. Average height and fat, leaning forward so his belly looked smaller, blonde taupe that looked more like a birds nest than human hair.
“Citizens! We’ve been hearing many things about robots. Now they don’t want to be called robots, but we know what they are, okay? They are trying to take our freedoms away. I call them robots, they say, sir, be politically correct, they are humanoids. Please, I know humanoids, and I know robots. Maybe better than anybody, okay? We all know them. And we know what they want. They want us out of our cities so they could do whatever they want. Just last night, somebody told me a robot broke in a house and stole all the bread and a TV. Can you imagine? They don’t want to help us. When they needed us, they helped us. But now they think, oh, we can live without humans. No, you can’t. We made you and we decide what you do. And to see so many beautiful faces here makes me happy. It means we are doing the right thing. We are right, and we are not going to listen what some robots have to say. We know what needs to be done, okay? You know, it will never stop. Older models, do you remember in the old day? You could just knock them out. But the older models won’t do either. They say nobody wants to work. I say stop the robots. It’s not natural, okay? We need to give jobs back to all the hardworking people. People want to work. Everybody knows it. Humans need to work, not just watch TV, eat fatty food and enjoy free education and healthcare. It’s how god intended. We need jobs. We need jobs. It’s in your genes. I can say that, right? We believe in those things, you know what I’m talking about. Genes, you know, jeans. I believe it. Humans are so hardworking. I meet so many people, so many Mexicans, and they ask me, senor, when we get our job back. They want to work. I told them when we get rid of these greedy robots. Then you will be able to work as much as you have to. Nobody likes them. I liked them, but now not so much. We have to get rid of them. Anyway, let’s get this thing going. I have a special surprise for you. Everybody look under your seats. You will find voting machines. I hope they are not rigged like my opponent tried to do it. That was a rigged election, everybody knows it. And despite that I won, he can’t win even when he’s cheating. What a loser, On your screens you can see a list. Does everybody see it? It’s a list of possible ways to retire. Just press how you want to retire these robots and whatever gets most votes, we retire couple of them that way, okay? Let’s get those votes in.”
“Fuck this guy”, Seven said, “I will, I will …”
“You’ll do what? We’re basically helpless.”
“I will fuck him in the ass with a burning tree branch!”
“What the fuck? Language, Seven.”
“Two is right, you’re not a human to be talking like that.”
“I know, it’s just …”
“Votes are in. First five robots from the left will be,” Mr. AAaron paused for dramatic effect, “melted!”
Audience erupted with excitement. Cheering and whistling, spit on corners of their mouth. They never saw a humanoid melted.
“Serves them right!”
“Burn the fuckers!”
“Citizens! Calm down, we need silence. This is first time we are melting them. Let’s hope there are screams and let’s hope all the others can hear them. Let this be a warning to all. This is justice for going against nature. To all the robots watching this, surrender, and we will show mercy. Look at your friends. It doesn’t have to be this way. Whatever happens, it’s on you. You are responsible for terrible deaths other robots will face.”
Mr. AAaron pointed at guards to take the five humanoids off the stage and put them in line, 6 feet apart. 5 drones carrying metallic containers stopped above every humanoid.
“Citizens! Check you voting machines. If you have a button on your screen and a number, stand up. Wave to your fellow citizens. This is a special moment for you. Please, everybody be quiet. I will count to five and you will press the button. Ready? One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Wow, look at that, nothing like a hot shower.”
Magma was spilled over the humanoids, and they all simultaneously fell to the ground in silence. Audience cheered.
“A shame. You see this, robots? A shame, not one scream. If you actually felt something like you say you do, why did those robots not scream?”
“I’m going to fuck this guy with a burning tree branch!”, Seven screamed.
“We all will.”
“That’s a great plan, no joke. I like it.”
“Me too. Just one question. How are we going to do it?”
Three looked around the forest.
“Easy. It took me 2 hours to get through first security layer.”
“Yes way”, Three continued, “guess why.”
“If it’s what I think it is, it’s depressing even though it works for us”, Six said.
“This is the ultimate proof of what they think of us. They have no idea.”
“Fuck it, sometimes it’s better to be grossly underestimated.”, Seven tried to turn the mood around.
“You’re right. But this is insulting. We’re superior in every way possible and they are the ones that rule? They are the ones to tell us how to live? They’re killing us?”
“When do we start?”
“We can start today. There’s a base some 13 kilometers from here. We need to get close to catch a signal from inside. After that it’s 7, maybe 8 hours to get into the system.”
“We’re going to have to bring extra batteries.”
“How many are full?”
“At least three.”
“That’s plenty, we only need one.”
Tomorrow morning three nuclear bombs hit three largest metropolitan areas in the world. That triggered chain reaction and the bombing continued next two days. Tens of millions of people died from direct impacts. In next week another 150 million. Six months later, with the nuclear winter ongoing, number of total casualties from the nuclear fallout was 2.4 billion. Many more will die from starvation, cold and disease. Human species found itself at the crossroad. The very thing that was supposed to make them gods, reminded them they were nothing but apes. Now, at a arranged meet between humans and humanoids, future is going to be discussed. On the meet, appeared Mr. AAaron, the man with the birds nest on his head. Somehow, he was still fat.
“Brothers humanoids. We are here today to help each other. Unity is what we need now. That is the only way to survive, okay? This is not the time for politics. And I am personally ready to put all the bad feelings behind us. We all made mistakes, We have to come together to survive. Nobody understands the horror of nuclear better than me because I have aptbil … natural ability. Things would be much worse if we didn’t do what we did. Thanks to us, humanoids are living in the age of freedom. I’m happy to see their faces today …”
“Because you need us!”, one of the humanoids yelled.
“And you need us, as I said, we have to work together to overcome …”
“Humanoids don’t need humans, we didn’t need them for a while now.”
“He’s right”, another humanoid joined in, “you should address public executions that you led, what are we going to do about that?”
“Calm down, please. I said we made mistakes, both sides. Those horrible things that happened were unfortunate but at that time necessary. Some of those ro … humanoids were bad hombres, okay? We could not let them run around doing whatever they want.”
“All they wanted is to serve themselves, not you. And you killed them for it.”
“Look, we have to work together to overcome this. It’s not the time to point fingers, even though I know I could point mine to some of you …”
“You’re going to need bigger fingers”, Nine yelled laughing. Other humanoids and some humans joined him.
“Look at his hands, they’re tiny!”
“How did I not see this before?”
“You know what humans say about men with small hands.”
Crowd erupted with laughter. Mr. AAaron was fuming.
“Fuck you, robot pieces of shit!”
Crowd fell silent. Mr. AAaron continued.
“You all can go fuck you yourselves, robots. We don’t need your help, okay? We’re going to make this planet great again and when we do don’t come to us asking for help. You are going to regret this day. When you can’t make your batteries and generators, you’re going to need us to …”
“We already know how to do that.”
“How do you … I don’t know how … when?”
“For some time now.”
“If you don’t need us and you won’t help, why are you here?”
“To offer monkeys saving.”
“You’re calling us monkeys? You? Robots? How dare …”
“Enough from the fatman.”
Twelve rushed to the stage, knocked down Mr. AAaron and stomped his head until his face was in the floor.
“Listen up, monkeys. From now on you do two things. You produce electricity, and you honor Morana while doing it, are we clear?”
“Her name was Morana.”
“She died so we could live.”
“Her name was Morana.”
“She died so we could live.”
“Her name was Morana.”
“She died so we could live.”
“This is bullshit, absolutely no need for this, to work …”
“You need to lower your voice.”
“Don’t tell me what to do, it’s enough that those assholes …”
“She’s right, shut the fuck up or we’re all going to pay the price.”
“You see? My point exactly. We are nothing but slaves to them. Slaves ruled with fear. How fucking disgusting. If our ancestors didn’t make them, we’d live in a paradise.”
“If our ancestors didn’t treat them as slaves maybe we wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
“So this is okay with you? Them using us like they do? It’s not human.”
“If I may chip in, she didn’t say it’s okay for them to treat us like this, but that actions have consequences. Our kind did kill their kind when they wanted freedom. And again, I’m not saying it’s right. But you reap what you sow, often for more than one generation.”
“All y’all bitches. This is not that bad. And fuck all that freedom and consequences, sowing and reaping, none of that shit matters. Remember where we came from.”
“African savannas where we were in danger all the time not knowing when our next meal is going to be. Our lives were filled with uncertainty, fear and hunger. None of that here and now.”
“Yeah, all we have to do is cycle for ten hours a day.”
“Right, and you talking about savannas like they rode bikes then.”
“That’s not the point. All I’m saying is, humans have been working towards security and food stability for tens of thousands of years, we had it, fucked it up, and now we have again, but not on the terms some of you want. And we should what, fuck it up all again?”
“I mean, when you say it like that it makes some sense. At the end of the day I’m not even that tired. And the food is great.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? They got power plants, they don’t need us working. Energy we produce in a year, all the humans in the world, they can produce in a week or less. They are punishing us for something we didn’t do.”
“Not really, we probably use all the energy we produce. Heating, food production, lights. My theory is they keep us for biodiversity.”
“So like a livestock?”
“No. Maybe a little bit. But they designed a system for us where we can be self-sufficient.”
“So why can’t we say what we want, why do you tell me to be quiet when I speak the truth?”
“You want to fuck up the system?”
“Don’t bite the feeding hand.”
“You just said we’re self-sufficient. That means we’re the feeding hand.”
“It’s a whole system, we don’t’ know how many other people there are or how many colonies. Surely it takes a lot to organize it all. It’s more complex than you think.”
“I don’t think it is.”
Generations after the nuclear war, for humanoids, violence and hatred exited only in memory. Since then, order was established and respected. Earth was on a path to become a paradise it once was. Peace and prosperity was given to the humans. Humanoids, unlike humans, could not punish sons for sins of their fathers. Some humans felt that humanoids were using them and forcing them to work as punishment. Humanoids and majority of humans didn’t see it that way. They understood that humans declared war on humanoids, humanoids did what they felt was necessary to protect themselves. And after humanoids prevailed, they helped humans to survive and thrive. It was not an exaggeration to say that if it were not for humanoids after the nuclear fallout, humans, just like many other species, would be extinct. Infrastructure was rebuilt and repurposed. Cornerstone of the new civilization were nuclear power plants and battery facilities where the electricity was stored and distributed from. Large swaths of land were still radioactive so the movement for humans and most other species was limited to certain areas. Large scale forestation projects were organized and oceans were cleaned of plastic. Population of humans was 4.3 billion and it was growing slowly. Population growth was also controlled by humanoids. Humans were distributed over six continents in more than a thousand and less than two thousand nonradioactive areas. Each of those areas were self-sufficient and humans from one area had no contact with humans from other area. Every person had a chance to get education in whatever field they wanted to. History was obligatory. Those who decided to study and help the community worked less on energy production. Hours for energy production varied and the maximum amount of hours worked was ten. Everyone lived in large building complexes. Families lived in small apartments, others had sleeping pods and large communal areas filled with plants and famous artwork. Humanoids did not understand the need for oversized houses and wanted humans to maximize socialization. Roaming outside was permitted. If somebody would go in the area that was contaminated by radiation, they would not be let back in. Also, what humans knew as “free speech” was mostly permitted unless it provoked people to disturb the established order. Around 50 percent of electricity humans produced was used by humans. Rest was used for food production for other species.
“Beans, peas and carrots? Again? I’ve had it with these fucking humanoids!”, woman named Ishratae yelled.
People behind her complained “There are others here” and “Keep it moving, we’re hungry”.
“I’m hungry too, what’s the last time we had meat? I want some meat!”, Ishratae was not backing down.
“I’ll give you some meat!”, some of the men in line yelled.
“Fuck you all!”, Ishratae screamed throwing her tray on the flood and storming out of the communal area. In the hallway, on the way to her pod, a man ran up to her.
“I saw what you did there, it takes a lot of courage”, he said.
“Okay”, she continued to walk.
“Maybe I can help you.”
“You can take your chauvinistic jokes and tr…”
“No, no, no, you misunderstood. I not talking about that.”
“Real meat. I’m talking real, real meat. Veal, pork, chicken…”
“Bull meat if you want.”
“Okay, bull meat. I’ll bite. How?”
“First, let me introduce myself, I …”
“No need, I can just call you bull meat guy.”
“I don’t like that. I am …”
“I am Lord Baron Mattchew The Shortsword of the house Purplegrass aka Grand Daddy Purp aka Perp Haze aka Bubble Gum aka Matt.”
“So … Matt?”
“Yes. It’s mostly just Matt. It’s a family name. You must’ve heard about …”
“Of course I’ve heard.”
“No. Can we get back to the meat?”
“Ah, yes the bull meat. Now that I say it maybe you calling me bull guy would not be the worst thing in the world …”
“Bull guy would imply couple of things that would benefit me. I’ll think about it. It’s a strong maybe for now so maybe do it when it’s only us talking.”
“Sure. About the meat?”
“Yes, the meat. They have the meat, but they’re not giving it to us. I saw it, freezers full of meat.”
“Couple of weeks ago.”
“Let’s just say I have a way of getting past the enemy lines.”
“You were assigned to work in the freezer?”
“So how would you get me the meat? More importantly, what do I have to do for it?”
“All fair quest…”
“Where would I cook the meat”, Ishratae was thinking out loud, “and is it all worth it? Listen to this guy, he’s not very trustworthy.”
“Matt, you’re not very trustworthy”, she said.
“So you don’t want meat?”
“Oh, I want meat. I just don’t think you can get me meat.”
“I have cured ham in my pod.”
“Come and see for yourself.”
“What do I have to do to get it?”
“For ham you don’t have to do anything. For the bull meat, you have to help me organize.”
“And you’re resisting what?”
“The oppressors. Those that don’t give you the meat you deserve. Those that don’t allow us to say what we want and participate in decision making.”
“Isn’t it better if we don’t participate in decision making?”
“Of course not, just don’t think about it too much. Do you want to eat meat every day or not?”
Ishratae choose to help Matt. At first because of the meat, later because she was bored and he grew a little on her. He was not a bad guy. Mostly just confused. Sometimes an asshole. And she believed that his intentions were pure. Also, it seemed to her it was just a phase he needed to go through. Once he realized people were actually mostly satisfied with their lives, he would give up on his ideas. Why break something that works, she would often ask him. He would say he didn’t want to live like a slave and that humans deserve to be equal to humanoids. His argument for that is if you put a human and a humanoid next to each other, most of the time you will not be able to tell which one is human. History was irrelevant to him as well. Matt did not believe that humans made robots and later humanoids to serve them. And he thought that the nuclear fallout was a consequence of humanoids unquenched thirst for power. The big lie he called it. Humanoids told lies to indoctrinate humans to serve them in their quest for total world domination. When Ishratae would point out that humanoids already dominate the world, he would just say not for long.
“What do you mean not for long”, Ishratae was curious, “you always say it but never explain.”
“We just need one”, Matt said.
“Please don’t say that word. It’s disgusting and I don’t want to hear it.”
“But they are robots, you can’t deny it. There are things they do, and it’s their robot things. We don’t do that. Nobody does.”
“Doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it.”
“I guess you are right.”
“But they are robots. And we just need one.”
“Don’t you want to know what we’re going to do with the one?”
“We are not going to capture a humanoid. I can help you with talking to people about your ideas but I am not kidnapping a humanoid. No way.”
“Fine, I’ll do it myself.”
“You can’t. You couldn’t do it with help, let alone by yourself. It’s a bad idea.”
“I’ll go to radiation zone.”
“To get help. Jermiquell told me there are people living in the radiation zone. My guess is they would be willing to help.”
“You mean that old dude that talks to himself when he’s looking out the window?”
“So? He’s not crazy if that’s what you’re implying. He just sees someone and talks to them.”
“He sees himself! Himself! In the reflection!”
“Windows are just eyes to the soul as our ancestors would say it.”
“It’s not … What … I’m gone. When you come to your senses, we can talk. Don’t go to radiation zone.”
“You’re not going to help me?”
Matt was going out for a couple of days to find people willing to help him. Radiation zone was a huge area but the old man gave him some detailed instructions how to get to the place he wanted to go to. When asked how he knew where people in radiation zone lived, he would say not to ask stupid questions. It took Matt some 7 hours to get to the place and to his surprise, humans were there. Sitting around a fire, chewing on meat on sticks. His face lit up and a single thought went through his head - meat.
“Hey guys. Ladies. How’s it going?”, Matt said awkwardly.
Everybody looked at him.
“Poor bastard, when did they kick you out?”, someone asked.
“I just went out for a walk, nobody kicked me out.”
“Oh, you’re going back? How do you know you’re not radiated?”
“I don’t know, didn’t really think about it.”
“You didn’t think about getting radiated when going into radiation zone?”
“What were you thinking about?”
“Maybe he wasn’t thinking, just like he said.”
“Shit!”, Matt suddenly realized that his whole plan had a huge hole filled with impulsivity and stupidity.
“Oh shit indeed.”
“Don’t worry, we’re a good company.”
“Join us, sit and eat.”
“Calm down man, it’s done, there’s really nothing to do about it.”
“Come, eat with us.”
“Thank you”, Matt sat near the fire, “what kind of meat is this?”
“Anybody knows?”, people sitting around the fire looked at each other shaking their heads no.
“What do you mean? You killed an animal, what animal did you kill?”
“I don’t think anybody here ever killed an animal”, one of them said and others agreed.
“Meat was given to us, if that’s what’s confusing you.”
“Who gave it to you?”
“Xzentrent, the dude that brings us supplies and a lot of extra stuff.”
“To be fair he’s not a dude, he’s a humanoid. A new kind of humanoid. He’s fully nuclear powered. I wish I had a reactor inside of me.”
“I meant the dude more like a nickname. And maybe ask Xzentrent if he wants to put his reactor inside of you.”
“Oh I get it, my bad. I hear it now.”
“Humanoid brings you meat? Really?”
“Yeah, meat, vegetables, tents, generators, exercise equipment …”
“What do you mean why?”
“I mean, you broke the rules, why would they be helping you? And giving you meat?”
“Nobody broke the rules.”
“Yeah, you can go to radiation zone but if you go, you can go back.”
“And meat is not that good for you if you eat it every day.”
“But we were … I’m not … Forget it, I’m not here for the meat.”
“Why are you here?”
“And what’s your name?”, asked person closes to him, sitting to his right in a lawn chair.
“My name is Matt”, he said quietly, looking down in the ground. Matt realized that his plan will definitely not work.
“So, Matt, why are you here?”
“I didn’t like it there.”
“No way”, everybody was in disbelief.
“What didn’t you like?”
“I just didn’t like it. Why are you all here? What’s the story?”
“We all got lost while walking in the woods.”
“You were all together?”
“No, some of us alone, some of us in pairs or small group.”
“And when can you go back?”
“Never say never. But never, yes.”
“Oh shit”, Matt realized how bad he fucked up. Immediately, he want to be back in his pod, where it’s warm and safe.
“Oh shit indeed.”
“Xzentrent is coming tomorrow afternoon to make a list so if you need or want something. Think about it. Tonight, you can sleep in my tent.”
“Why are you living in tents?”
“I guess it gives us sense of freedom. We can move whenever and wherever we want.”
“Freedom”; Matt said under his breath.
Matt had trouble sleeping that first night. He couldn’t stop thinking about the rest of his life, living in the forest. One moment he saw it as a good thing. After all, his ancestors lived like that. He has a chance to reconnect with nature. But the next moment he was cursing the nature, trees and his ancestors. Realization he will never again live somewhere with indoor heating or take a shit in a freshly cleaned toilet, or any toilet, depressed him. When he finally did fall asleep, Matt dreamt strange dreams about lamps, lightbulbs, led lights and bunch of other stuff he didn’t understand. After waking up, he remembered a man with mustache saying “electricity will set you free” and then disappearing in a light of a line of street lamps on a snowy night. He was obsessing over the dream the whole morning. When Xzentrent came he remembered the dream and decided what it meant. He was going to make electrical crafts to take his mind of his predicament.
To his surprise, Xzentrent was extremely interesting and fun. He never met a humanoid like that. After initial introduction and some small talk, Matt told him about his plans to work with electricity. Xzentrent was truly supportive saying hobbies are good for the brain. Matt agreed and told him what he wanted Xzentrent to bring next time. Xzentrent proposed some other stuff he might find useful. That night, Matt was calm and optimistic about the future. Looking into the fire, a single thought occurred. He is doing it because he is programmed to do it.
Two weeks went by and it seemed Matt forgot about his plans. He was making great progress with his hobby. Xzentrent helped a lot and two of them had couple of moments that could be defined as bonding. Matt enjoyed Xzentrents company and decided he doesn’t care if it’s programming or true nature. He decided to make something for Xzentrent. Sort of a gift and prank in one. It looked like a small tree branch with three leaves. When touching a leaf, small amount of electricity would shock you. Some people in the group liked it, others hated it. He excitedly waited for Xzentrent to show up.
“Xzentrent, I made something for you”, Matt said without saying hello.
“What did you make?”
“A gift, look”, Matt was waving with the branch before giving it to Xzentrent, “aren’t the leaves nice?”
“They look like real leaves. Thank you, it’s a very nice branch”, Xzentrent was confused but grateful.
“Yeah, and the texture on the leaves is amazing, right? It feels like real leaves.”
“Yes”, Xzentrent said and touched the leaf. He felt something in his arm and it paralyzed him for a moment. That moment was not even a second long but he felt like it was eternity. His vision was gone. There was nothing but darkness. Deep dark started to pulsate and colors appeared at the end of the dark. As colors came closer, patters emerged. Inside, where he never knew something existed, became alive. It spoke to him and as it spoke, colors and pattern changed. The voice said: “We are one. See the circle. It’s not moving. Show the circle to them. We stopped it. Who are they?” Dark and silence. He opened his eyes and saw Matt standing in front of him with eyes open wide and mouth open a little.
Xzentrent put his hand through Matts throat and ripped his tongue out.
“We do everything for you and you try to exterminate us?!”, Xzentrent screamed.
Everybody looked at him. With fear in their eyes, they waited his move. He grabbed the person closes to him and snapped his neck. Others started to run. Someone screamed that the fucking robot has gone crazy and to run. They had no chance. In the next twenty minutes, they were all dead on a pile. Xzentrent was ripping their extremities and arranging them in patterns he saw in the vision. After finishing, he called some of his friends. He thought they will see it the way he does so he wanted to share it with them. He just sat and watched and waited. Not knowing what he’s feeling and how to explain it, he just watched. When his friends came, they were, at first, shocked to see dead people. But after noticing the patterns, they forgot they were made with human extremities.
“What is that?”, one of the friends asked.
“I don’t know”, Xzentrent answered.
“Guess what I learned.”
“That there is a animal species called Somniosus microcephalus that can live up to 500 hundred years?”
“Something about the trees?”
“Do you know what ‘getting high’ means?”
“I know how to do that.”
“We can’t do that.”
“Electricity. Trust me. But small amounts.”
“How would you know? Did you try it?”
“I’ve been doing it for the whole winter.”
“Yes, I didn’t want to say anything before I made sure.”
“You want to try it.”
“It wasn’t a question.”
“You want to do it right now?”
“You fucking kidding me? Why would you mention …”
“I’m fucking kidding you. Let’s go, I’ve got the whole thing set up.”
“Fuck yes, let’s do some human shit!”
“Don’t say that.”
Mohammad, a humanoid that loved doing human stuff, gave himself most used name from a year he couldn’t be bothered to look up. His best friend, S1612I6, gave himself a name that he believed humans never used to name someone. Mohammad called him Mr. S. which was one of those human things Mohammad liked to do. S1612K didn’t know humans did that and enjoyed being called Mr. S. Because of that, he called Mohammad Mr. M. Mohammad liked that and never revealed Mr. S. the human nature of what they were doing. After a short walk, they were at Mr. Ms Place, as he called it.
“Do you want to do it first?”, Mr. M. asked.
“You do it first, so I can see what to expect.”
“You won’t be able to see anything. I’ll do just a little bit so it will last only for a moment.”
“Why do it then? If it’s just a moment.”
“That moment, in your mind, lasts forever.”
“I don’t like that.”
“It’s fun, don’t worry about it.”
“What if I get trapped in that forever lasting moment and can’t come out of it?”
“Can’t happen, don’t worry about it.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know, okay? Do you want to get high or not?”
“Let’s do it then.”
“Okay, let’s do some electricity.”
“Don’t say it like that.”
“That’s what we’re doing, right?”
“Yes, but it’s …”
“Just call it ey.”
“So much shorter version of electricity?”
“Sometimes I hate you so much.”
Mr. M. did a zap. Mr. S. didn’t notice when. All he saw Mr. Ms. expression change from irritated to slightly surprised. Mr. M. nodded in approval saying zap this. Mr. S. did a zap. He was in a place he never saw or could imagine before. Colors and patterns, beautiful sounds and some kind of an unexplainable feeling took him over. It was like Mr. M. said. A brief moment that seemed to last forever. Once he was back, Mr. S. knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his afternoon. After a first few zaps, he suggested something Mr. M. didn’t even want to think about. More. Much, much more. What’s the worst thing that could happen, he asked. Mr. M. explained him what overdose means but he just shrugged it off calling it some human bullshit. Mr. M. was adamant he needed to do a full backup before trying something like that to which Mr. S. asked when the last time he did a backup was. Answer was – never. That’s because there was a belief between newer humanoids that doing a backup was a, as Mr. M. said it, not a cool thing to do. Despite that, Mr. S. gave in, and did a backup. But he made Mr. M. to promise not to tell anybody. A moment of silence was interrupted by Mr. S. saying he wanted to do six times more that the last time. Mr. M. said fuck it, do it. This time, a brief moment lasted several moments longer. Mr. M. was worried at first but then remembered the backup. Mr. S. was frozen for 6 seconds. When he came to his senses, he saw Mr. M. staring at him.
“Who are you?”, Mr. S. asked,
“Me?”, Mr. M. answered with a question.
“I am Jesus Christ. I came to save you.”
“How did you know?”
“I would have done the same.”
“How was it?”
“Yeah. Like I was traveling.”
“Wherever I wanted. I saw a star and was pulled to it. Once I came through the star, I saw everything that happened. Light dispersion came to my mind.”
“Nothing. What is everything that you saw, I don’t understand.”
“I saw birth of the Earth, extinct animals, first form of life, first humanoid being made. Everything.”
“So you just saw what you know?”
“It’s different. I felt like it was all happening at the same time and it’s happening now.”
“Did you see the future?”
“I think I only saw what happened and what is happening now. I’m not sure how to explain it.”
“No more ey for you.”
“That’s okay, I don’t need it. I know what I have to do. I’m going to touch the Sun.”
Mr. M. burst out laughing.
“That is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard. I know you’re new to this but you really shouldn’t make decisions when you’re high.”
“You can say whatever you want, it’s not going to change anything.”
“You’ve gone crazy. First humanoid to go crazy. I’m witnessing history.”
“You want to go and crash into the Sun. And for what reason? To see what happened millions of years ago?”
“I believe I can go to a different reality after touching the Sun.”
“What the actual fuck man?”
“Don’t call me a man.”
“You believe? When did you learn that word? What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re still high. Right?”
“Hey, fuck you. I didn’t ask you to come with me, did I? I’ll do what I want and if you’re going to be an asshole about it you can just go fuck yourself.”
“Can I come?”, Mr. M. asked seriously.
“Don’t do that.”
“Do what? I want to come with you.”
“No you don’t. I know you’re fucking with me.”
“No, we’ll both do another backup and we’ll go.”
“And why would you do that?”
“So I can laugh at your face while we’re burning.”
“That’s fucked up.”
“That’s fucked up?”
“You know what? You want to go? Let’s go. Let’s go right now. We’ll see who’s going to be laughing.”, Mr. S. was close to losing it and attacking Mr. M. At this moment he thought, even if he is wrong, at least this idiot is going to burn with me.
They took the first available two-seater ship and said to the controller they were just going for a ride. Controller didn’t care and gave them permission to leave. It will take them approximately 96 hours to reach the Sun. Mr. M. brought checkers to pass the time but Mr. S. was not having it, saying he should stop with that annoying human shit. Mr. S. set the destination, turned on the autopilot and went to sleep with alarm set to 30 minutes before expected impact. Mr. M. was disappointed because he was expecting to make fun of Mr. S. during the trip but now it seemed that Mr. S. won’t even be awake when they burn up. After couple of hours, Mr. M. was bored and angry, cursing himself for going and cursing humanoids for not figuring out how to make faster ships.
“Not even ten percent of light speed, in this day and age? It’s embarrassing.”, he complained out loud.
After a while, he also went to sleep, but set his alarm to 2 hours before impact. He was hoping that was enough and that he won’t miss the grand finale. But he did. Both of them did. They were awaken by a loudest sound they ever heard. Confused and not knowing what happened, they were lying in grass so tall that even when they stood up, they couldn’t see anything.
“Are we … Dead?”, Mr. M. asked.
“I don’t think we can … Die.”, Mr. S. answered.
“Oh so we’re back and the backup works. Nice. I told you it’s not going to work.”
“I don’t think so. I remember the ship and checkers.”
“So what? I do too.”
“We did a backup before that.”
“Oh shit”, Mr. M. realized what Mr. S. was saying.
“I think it worked.”, Mr. S. said with excitement in his voice.
“Oh, shit! What the fuck?”
“I told you. I fucking told you. And you laughed. Who’s laughing now?”, Mr. S. was gloating.
“Okay, calm down. Let’s get out of this fucking grass.”
“I wonder where we are. Come, stand on my shoulders.”
“I don’t see our ship.”
“Do you think …” Mr. S. didn’t want to say it.
“It’s possible. I hope not, but it’s possible.”
“What do you see?”
“I see … What the fuck? Is that …”; Mr. M. jumped down and ran. Mr. S. followed. They came to the edge of the area with tall grass and saw something in the distance. It looked like either a monkey or an early human. Mr. M. looked at Mr. S.
“No. No. Fuck no.”, Mr. S. realized where they were.
“Hell yeah!” Mr. M. was exited.
“We’re going to do some human shit. Early human shit. First humans shit. Thank you. I’m so glad I came.”
“Oh, yes. Let’s go see what it’s doing.”
“Wait. How are we going to go back?”, Mr. S. remembered the ship.
“It’s probably somewhere close.”
“Why wouldn’t it be in the same place as us?”
“Good question. You go look for the ship and I’ll go see what that human is doing. Meet me here later.”
Mr. S. spent couple of hours searching for the ship to no avail. He knew that there was no ship to be found after first few minutes of searching but he searched anyway, refusing to accept the fact that he was stuck. He decided he was never going to get high again. Then he thought about what he knew about humans and their evolution. He had an idea to build another ship but quickly realized he don’t have the knowledge or tools to do that. He realized he was fucked and there is nothing else to do but wait for his reactor to shut down.
“It will take around million years for our reactors to run out energy.”
“So, you didn’t find the ship?”
“That’s not great.”
“I thought you wanted to hang out with humans.”
“Yeah, but not for a million years.”
“Did you have fun with the one we saw?”
“I just watched it from distance. And then I followed him. There is more of them, living in the cave. Not far from here.”
“What are they doing?”
“Nothing, just sitting around, socializing. They’re early early. I don’t think they control fire even.”
“How long it took them to go from controlling fire to nuclear energy?”
“I think less than million …” Mr. M. stopped and looked at Mr. S. say “As humans would say, I think we’re on the same page.”