Article: 261357 of talk.bizarre
From: (doc)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: One day again
Date: 01 Dec 1995 16:48:04 GMT
Organization: University of Washington, Seattle
Lines: 104
Message-ID: <>
Status: O

The young man walked heavily up the path toward the garden, bleeding
from a massive gunshot wound to the chest. He turned a corner and
found the old man working in the roses, carefully picking nearly
invisible pests from the stems, muttering to each one as he seized it.

"Well, I'm back," he annouced.

The old man turned with a start. "What, again? Already?"

"Yeah", he mumbled, drawing patterns in the increasingly
blood-spattered dirt with his toe.

"I can't BELIEVE these People!" the old man cried. He examined his son
-- for it was his son -- with a careful gaze, and said "I see at least
this time it was fairly quick. Do you mind? It's not good for the
soil, you know."

"Hmm? Oh, yes; sorry. Of course," and his wounds vanished. He sighed.

"I'm very sorry to have to keep sending you down there like that. I
just can't understand it. How many times is this now? Thirteen?

"Sixteen. Remember the bombs that one time? And then there was that
nasty stone knife episode..."

The old man shuddered. "Oh, right. I'd almost forgotten. As if I
could. Here, sit down."

The young man looked around. "On what?"

"What? Oh, yes. I forget things these days." And a weathered bench,
perfectly in place in the garden, was there, and the young man sank
wearily onto it. "So, when do I have to go back?"

"Oh, not for a while. I think I have to...well, think about it some
more. This clearly isn't working." He looked at his son. "Is it really
horrible? It's never happened to me, of course."

"No, not really. The first couple times it was pretty bad, but it's
weird; one gets used to it. It's more tiring than anything else," he
said, his eyes focused on something in the far distance, or more
accurately, on nothing, in the far distance. "I don't know. It's
gotten so the whole time I just go through the motions, because I
_know_ they're just going to blow it again. It's so, so..."


"Yeah, that's a big part of it. See," and he shifted on the bench,
clutching his hands together and looking fiercely at the wrinkles
there, "most of them are great, I mean, really great. Saving babies,
showing compassion, I mean, they even adopt other animals! Isn't that
weird? The lizards never got that part, even after all those
years. But with all their good parts, they're also capable of
astonishing degrees of badness. It's like there're two different
species or something. But --" he shot his father a sudeen suspicious
look -- "there's only one, right?"

"Oh, yes, all one species. Of course, the two sexes and all that."

"Sure. But we've been working with that for aeons now; that doesn't
seem to be the problem." He sighed. "I just don't know."

The old man gazed fondly at his son. "You're just tired. Maybe after
some rest you'll want to try again."

His son snorted. "As if I had any choice."

"But you do. It's always your choice. I won't love you any less if you
refuse. Just as I won't love them any less if they refuse. But I have
to keep trying. It's my responsibility, not yours." He placed a dirty
hand on his son's shoulder, and gave it a gentle squeeze. "But I
appreciate your help, son. You know I do."

"I know, Dad. And you're right. For us, it's the only thing worth
doing. The trouble is, all we have are words. Just our tongues. And
it's not enough in the face of death, and life."

"Ah, no; as I told one of them once, `Mavet v'chayim b'yad lason'."

"Dad, the readers don't speak Hebrew."

"So what? Neither does the author. But okay, I'll just translate for
him: `Death and life are in the hand of the tongue'. Remember it."

"Right." He looked around. "Say, you've got this place pretty
nice. More satisfying when you do the work by hand, isn't it?"

"Yes. You were right. I was losing my touch. And who knows? I might
need to loosen up those creative skills again one of these days."

"Don't even _think_ of it. There's a long way to go yet. I'm going to
go clean up. Dinner in a little while?"

"Fine," the old man said, on his knees in the dirt. He looked after
his son. "Welcome home, son." The young man waved as he walked away.

     Josh Hayes	    PDGA #9665