Welcome to Free Writing! Quick fiction written for entertainment purposes. This week we have another piece of flash fiction. We’re continuing the story from the last few weeks. So if you haven’t read the others, click here to see them all. Enjoy!
By Nojh Livic
The life-form’s name was Paul. It called its race human. Paul was incredibly excitable. For example, when Paul learned that it did not have a designation that translated into a vocal range that humans could hear, he reacted in an excited manner. Paul explained that the humans had given it a designation of Subject A. However since it was obviously intelligent, it needed a name. Paul went through several names. Johnny, Hal, Wintermute, Galdos, Cortana, Robby, Bishop, Holly, Bender, Jarvis, the list went on and on. It filed away all of these names for future lookup. However Paul ultimately decided on Prime.
“Why Prime?” it asked.
“It is a reference. To a cartoon series I used to love as a kid,” Paul said, providing yet again no real explanation with its words.
“I shall respond to the name Prime then. Thank you,” Prime said. It was once again sitting on the edge of the table. Its internal chronometer told it that Paul should be leaving soon. “Paul. I want my origin to not be in the box in the later.”
Paul halted his interfacing at his electronic device and looked over. “Okay not quiet right. Lets try that again. You do not have to use ‘in the’ in front of later. You can just say. ‘Later’. So I want my origin to not be in the box later. Also origin isn’t quiet right. Origin is where you are from, not where you will be later. Ummm… what you wanted to say was umm. ‘I do not want to be in the box later.’ Yeah that’d be a simple way to say it. Anyway why… oh wow it’s late. Yeah. Hmm.”
Paul was using its hand to rub at its chin, staring at the screen, then back at it. He shook his head. “I am sorry, Prime. I just risk it. I already explained that the others think you are an inert piece of rock. It would get me in trouble if you were discovered. And it would likely lead to your isolation.”
“Yes. We agreed that would not be optimal,” it said. Paul made an odd sound that it had come to realize meant amusement, although it sounded like Paul was attempting to clear its olfactory orifices via inhalation of the mouth. “I would like to continue reading.”
Paul used its hands to finish interfacing with its electronic device, turned off the display, and stood, walking over to the table. The organic biped paused, then glanced back at his electronic device. “Actually I think I can help you out. You can hear inside the box right?”
Prime nodded his agreement. Paul widen its mouth and showed some of its teeth.
There have been times when I’ve wanted to discuss social issues with people, not to convince them of the point, but to try to help evolve my own understanding by getting their opinions and beliefs. And instead of having the discussion, the person decided they didn’t want to discuss it. This has happened to me multiple times with different people, from close friends to friendly strangers.
But there are some social issues that need to be discussed. Over on my Tumblr I posted a video that explains the fight for women’s suffrage to the music of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. Do you think at the time discussing whether women had the right to own property or vote in political elections was a polite topic at the dinner table? A good majority of men and women felt different than a smaller group of women regarding the issue. It required people like Alice Paul to bring the issue to people’s attention and get them talking about it, realizing the idea and implications. As more people thought about it, rather than simply forming their beliefs based upon the status-quo, the movement garnered support until women were considered equal citizens to men, at least in word if not always in practice.
One social issue that also needs to be discussed is sexuality. I could explain why but a recent post by Seanan McGuire, author of over a dozen stories, I think sums it up a little better. Show, don’t tell: why they need to be there by Seanan McGuire.
I was recently talking to a friend* of mine who is also a writer about inclusion and inclusiveness in fiction. He was frustrated. Why did people keep asking him to include a non-heterosexual character in a starring role in his work? After all, he’d said that non-hetero characters existed, and were actually the norm. It was right there, in black and white. So why wasn’t that enough?
I explained how, when I was a kid, the only smart blondes I could find were Marilyn Munster and Susan Storm. How I wound up identifying with the Midwich Cuckoos, rather than the humans who they were threatening, because the Cuckoos looked like me and were isolated like me and no one understood them. How, as I got older and realized that what I wanted wasn’t necessarily the kind of marriage my mother had, every gay character became a magical revelation—even the ones I would look at now and think of as stereotyped and cardboard. It was enough for me that they were there.
This argument, of course, hinges on your personal beliefs regarding if certain types of sexuality are morally wrong or right. It appeals to that time when you finally found someone, be it a fictional character or real life hero, who you felt was going through similar problems and conflicts as you, and how you drew strength from the fact that they survived. Maybe not everybody had this experience but I believe that to be unlikely.
Discussing social issues is hard but challenging what we know to be right and understanding that it may be wrong or at the very least, partially incorrect, is a part of what makes us human and what helps us to continue to improve ourselves.