The People Gathered

As the people gathered, thousands of them, the boatman slowed his small raft before reaching the shore.

“I can not take you all across the river,” said the black-cowled boatman. He held up his dark crooked stick used for poking his way across. “You would swamp my boat and no one would ever be able to cross over from the land of the quick.”

The people began to cry out for help, to thrash the water and slap at it from torn remnants of clothing.

“Why are there so many of you?” asked the boatman. But the people did not answer except to cry out all the louder. “Has it begun then? The end? Will I find my own rest soon once I’ve ferried you all across, or do you come in numbers too high to count that I may end up here for a thousand years?


Out of Body

He stepped out of the body and hung the loose flesh-sack on the hanger. He had to admit it was a nice sporty model, but even with the daily rejuvenation treatments, after that virtual skiing accident in the alps, a riskier lifestyle just seemed so yesterday to him. The clerk had reassured him that the trauma from breaking both legs, collapsing a lung, and shattering one of his clavicles wasn’t engrained physically and that he could always sign up for a neuron scrub if he wanted the psychological damage to be removed. “I know a great forgetful-est if you’re interested,” said the young looking clothier.

“No, thank you,” the man replied. I think I’d like to try out something more sedentary. Do you have anything in a dad bod.”

“Oh,” said the younger man. “Retro is hot right now. Let me see what we have in stock. If I can’t find anything, I’m sure we could bio-print something up for you in no time.”

Two Mugs

Two mugs, a big mug and a small mug, were purchased from a ceramics shop. They were packaged up in a box and went home to a small cottage. The mugs liked each other’s company and shared the same crosshatch pattern on the outside. They were happy serving tea to the lady and her daughter.

One day, the daughter tried to pick up the heavier mug and her fingers slipped. The big mug crashed into many pieces. The lady and her daughter were sad. The little mug was sad. The lady placed the small mug up on the top shelf, way in back, brushed the pieces into a box and took the broken mug away.

The little mug was scared. Day after day no one filled him with hot water to make tea. Without the big mug, he had no one to talk to. The little mug sat and collected dust.

After many weeks, the little mug thought he’d been forgotten. He’d never leave the top shelf.

A delivery came to the cottage. It was a box from the ceramics shop. The little mug looked over the edge to see why the daughter was so happy. Had he been replaced? While the daughter opened the box, the lady made hot water. The little mug shifted to the back of the shelf.

The tea kettle whistled when the water was hot. The daughter said they should make two cups of tea. The little cup did not want to see his replacement. Better that they should all just forget him.

The lady tiptoed up to the top shelf and picked up the little mug. “Oh, no! They are going to throw my in the dustbin!”

But instead of the dustbin, the lady poured hot water into him. He was making tea!

“What’s happening?” The little mug looked around, but something shinny flashed in his eyes. It looked like the big mug, but it couldn’t be. This new mug had golden veins. The big mug didn’t have veins or any gold at all.

“It’s me,” said the big mug. “The potter patched me back together. Now I’m stronger than ever with my golden laces.”

The little mug could hardly believe it. It was true! It was the big mug after all, and they still shared the same crosshatch pattern, even if one of them was a little more golden.



I’m not sure why you’re reacting with such anger. Really, the violence isn’t helping anyone, least of all yourself. Why fight it? You’ve had a good run. You discovered the wheel, fire, zero, π, gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics. You’ve circumnavigated your planet and even taken small steps in your own cosmic backyard to visit other planets, moons, and the like. Look at your pyramids, skyscrapers, your artwork, museums and galleries. Advances in medicine and science contribute to a world that could be almost magical. There is so much more to be proud of but I’m afraid you’ve run out of time. Now buck up. There’s a good child. Stiff upper lip and all that. With all that you’ve done to mess things up, you shouldn’t be so surprised. And if you don’t like to think of it as the end of the world, why don’t you think of it as sunsetting instead. The earth itself will long outlast you, in any case.

Haleakala Sunset//



They gather in the dying light at the end of the day, these old men, to tell their stories. Once there were dozens of them, but time has taken most and now there are three, three left to pass on the traditions of the people, three left to sing the songs of important deeds, to remember the names, to know why this place is home.