Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Short story #1: La Marke


I strode up the steps of the courthouse with no small amount of trepidation. I didn't really want to be here. She was forcing me to  hate her. What's worse her actions were going to affect the children. I wished that the old days would return, when being each other meant more tan anything else. Nowadays she seemed concerned only with her investments.

I approached the information desk and asked for directions. Finding my way to the courtroom I sat down on the bench and waited. Looking around I did not see my blood-sucking wife. She was probably waiting around the corner ready to make one of her grandiose entrances. I took a wad of tobacco and began to chew. I disgusting habit to be honest, but chewing helped relieve the stress. Besides, I was long past trying to impress anybody. I chewed, I tapped my foot, I twiddled my fingers, little time passed before my impatience was apparent. As much I dreaded the upcoming battle, I was also eager to put the case behind me . People around me started to look and stare. I self-consciously stopped my tapping. I sighed. Staring up to the ceiling, I began to reminisce on the events that led to my current situation.


In a way I guess my mother was the one who started me down this path. Mind you, I don't blame her the decisions were all mine in the end. She had nagged me over and over to start looking for a partner. I said that I was too young, that no one would want one who had had so little time to develop his skills and talents. She argued that the ones that were given to me by birth were an attraction enough. My potential, she said, could also be used as a selling point. She bombarded me with pamphlets and websites where men and women were breaking tradition and bonding while young.

She demanded grandchild before she died. I scoffed at the idea. Only the longest-lived females ever survived long enough to see their grandchildren come into the world. Some even believed that grandchildren were unlucky. Others believed them to be signs of incompetence; grandchildren were evidence of impatient mating practices that short-changed future generations. My mother disagreed. She offered to introduce me to a matchmaker who made parings based on existing talents and future potential. She said that if contacted the matchmaker and sampled her services she would drop the topic. She promised a life of love rather than just duty. She dangled one last reward before my eyes. If you find someone while you're young you'll be able to raise your own children. A tempting prospect and an insight as to why she wanted me to mate so young. To be able to mould, not only my contribution to my genealogy but that of my children as well. In the end it wasn't the promise of long term future rewards that made me call the matchmaker. The promise of an end to nagging and a certainty that nothing would come of the meeting drove me to make the call. I was young and foolish. I agreed

Who would have guessed that the first...

"LOU"

Startled out of my reverie, I came face-to-face with my ex-wife.

"Well, there's a face I never wanted to wake up to again." I stated.

"We used to be married Lou. The least you can do is be civil." she said.

"Sorry if I cannot seem to summon civility to the woman who destroyed ten years of marriage, who made it her life's goal to ruin the rest of my life, and who is currently suing me for more than I'm worth." I replied.

"I didn't destroy anything. It was your..." she sighed. "Let's not start that again. Come on, time to head in."

We strode into the courtroom and took our appointed places before the judge. I watched as he read over the case notes. I could tell the exact moment that he came across the part about our former marriage. he looked at Mellie, then at myself. I could feel him judging us. Legally we'd done nothing wrong his disdain was based on tradition.

"Okay, let's get this started shall we? This file says that you, Mellie Di, are suing your former husband, Lou Ky, for $3000000. Is that correct?"

"Yes" she replied.

"And the reason you are suing him would be...?"

"I need the money for my children's tutors."

"YOUR children?" I shouted, "You don't have children. You threw them away when we got divorced. I have custody, I'm in charge of their education and I say they don't need extra tutoring. If you want to tutor some children maybe you should pop out a few that you actually care about."

"You know full well that I can't have more children. I'm no longer fertile. I wasted it all on you. Those children now represent my sole genetic investment to the future of my family tree and you are robbing them of their potential."

"Maybe you should try a little harder. With a little effort you might be able to squeeze out a few more eggs. Then you won't need my money and your children will have the added genetic heritage of extended fertility. Besides how do you expect me to take care of my children? I'm barely able to make ends meat with all these payments I have to make to you. Even if you win and you pay for tutoring, how is your investment going fare when their starving because you've robbed me ." I retorted

She flushed, "Maybe you were smarter you'd have a proper job and be able to properly take care of my children. This is all your fault you know. If you hadn't lied maybe our children wouldn't be so deficient. We'd still be married, the children wouldn't need to be tutored and your pay cheque wouldn't be split so severely."

"This has nothing to do with me. You broke our marriage, not me. I fulfilled our marriage contract to the letter. I passed all those tests you gave me. Every trait you wanted me to improve was tested and none found me wanting. The children..."

"They're defective." she interrupted, "You cheated on your intelligence test, I know you did."

"Did not. Ask anyone. I scored better than anyone in the test group and I finished earliest of all. How do you cheat when you leave the room before anyone's come close to finishing their tests? What kind of tutors do you want for $3000000? Are you hiring Nobel Prize winners? My children are strong and fast and beautiful. They have increased healing, longevity, empathy and senses. That is way beyond defective. They're going to have plenty of suitors when the time comes."

"You cheated on your intelligence test. You guessed on every answer. You told me you guessed. You lucked out and by doing so you robbed our children of perfection. I had everything planned out and you ruined it. Who cares about strength and speed and beauty? It only takes a few years of exercise and good diet to build athleticism. Beauty can be bought on the operating table. Those are the least valuable of commodities in the breeding market. As for the rest half of those are from me and the other half you were born with. You added nothing. I'm beginning to believe that you didn't even take the effort to increase any of your traits. You took away my perfect children and left me with stunted facsimiles. Now these fakes are my only investment left and you are ruining by not helping them overcome their flaws. You are ignoring your duty to repair their potential breeding quotient." she responded.

"Well, thanks to you and your slander these children are my only contribution as well. I may as well have been in a car accident, that's how bad you've marked me. Fraudulent breeding is as bad as severe injury. I passed the test and I didn't put in the effort. That proves that I'm clever, clever is smart. What's more is you don't deserve the children. You don't even love them. Listen to yourself. It's all about investments and potential breeding quotients. If you wanted those things you should have married a geezer like everyone else, someone who has put in significant time to improving the abilities you wanted trained. If I cheated on anything, I cheated my way into early fatherhood. I tricked you into loving me. Maybe that's the real reason why you're mad." I said.

She laughed. "Love you? I married you so that I could model you into my perfect complement. No use going to geezers who've spent their lives training all the wrong things. With you I had the opportunity to train you in all the right attributes in all the right quantities. I'm angry because you've cheated me of my legacy."

"ENOUGH" the judge shouted, hammering his gavel. "This court is not here so that you may squabble like children. Leave. Return when you're ready to talk like adults. You're lucky I pity you for being young and stupid otherwise I would find you both."

END

NOTES:

  • I'm thinking of changing it so that the whole story takes place in his head (ie. he never wakes from his reverie)
  • Lamarkian evolution (giraffes got their long necks because their ancestors stretched their necks)
  • This story is about a world where Larmarkian evolution is the rule and highlights some of the effects it has on human society, here are the effects I wanted to touch upon:
    • Increased age gap in mating pairs (older males, younger females):
      • Females have limited breeding time frame, this forces them to choose the best candidates
      • The best male candidates will be those with the greatest amount of time invested into refining their qualities
      • Ideal pairing = old (near death age) experienced male + female near end of fertility
    • Traits that cannot be controlled/improved easily are more valuable:
      • Least valuable trait: beauty (can be bought, requires no personal effort)
      • Other lesser value traits: Strength, speed, endurance, dexterity (increasable through training)
      • High value traits: healing, sensory perception, intelligence etc. (hard to train/increase)
    • Accidents and injuries have severe impacts on breeding select-ability:
      • accidents can quickly diminish attributes that take years to develop
    • Fewer grandchildren/grandparents
      • if human lifespan = ~ 80 yrs
      • if end of human female gestation = ~40-50 yrs
      • if females breed near end of gestation
      • then time to grandchild = ~ 100 yrs
      • males will almost never see grandchildren, and may not live to see children
    • Skill tests more important (determine breeding quality)
  • I welcome any critiques.

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