The Ruling Species

[I attended a lecture this week on Moral Theory which formed part of the Philosophy strand of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics course at Durham University (my old stomping ground) and while I understood less than half of what was said, the notes I did take seemed to make sense. Of course, like any writer worth his salt, I wrote a poem to accompany the notes, hence the margin-style formatting, as it was indeed scribbled in the margin. Apologies to any philosophers with whose ideas I have taken artistic liberty… Everyone else – enjoy!]

Is it realistic
to deny that
anything goes?
In a world
where constructs
of “goodness”
can be
shattered
by the
dispositions
of our
ruling species,
when any
moral judgement
can be passed
or denied,
the only
traits consistent
are those so
inhuman that
they can
have no
explanation
but human
nature
itself.

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Abandoned Shipping Vessel – Feb 2034

It took two weeks to make it back there, but it was worth it. We arrived under cover of darkness, eyes peeled for other signs of life. Scavengers had been but only cracked the most basic locks – several inner rooms remained intact. We set up the equipment quickly: well rehearsed.

Fifteen minutes and four rooms: two of tools, one tinned food, the last ‘valuables’ – no use in this new world. We took all we could carry and never returned. Hunters will soon watch a place like that. Society is beyond recognition, and all we can remember.

This is no life.

[100 words]

A Spontaneous Rant

[Disclaimer: The following may offend you if you permanently look attractive and stylish. However, if that is you, I don’t really care about offending you. In fact, take all the offence you can handle with your charmed existence. I’m not at all bitter.]

<insert bitterness>

What’s the deal with these people who walk around looking good all the time? How do they have the energy to do that?

The types you pass on the street and think ‘ah damn, I look bad today, or at least I look human…’ because there are these preened gods strutting around. All these guys in turned up jeans and ralph lauren polos and it’s January for goodness sake, aren’t you and your stick-thin model girlfriend cold?

Look at me (your look, silly-attractive man, is no more than a cursory, derisory glance). I’m wearing safety shoes because it looked like rain (if not snow!) and my battered brown work shoes have a hole in the bottom which means my sock would get wet, and the same black trousers I’ve worn to work for the last year (I wash them at weekends, ok?!) and while my shirt (no tie, admittedly) is pretty smart, it’s completely covered by the massive ski jacket I’m wearing because it’s January and it’s more comfortable to be a shapeless lump than to be stylish.

Granted, I can scrub up alright when I make the effort – nice shirt, skinny jeans, contact lenses, a bit of a pout – but that takes time and effort and is generally reserved for nights out, or dinner parties, or dates, and is not something I can maintain every day!

And you strut past, clearly not on a date or a night out as it’s 4pm on a Thursday in an industrial estate SO WHY HAVE YOU BOTHERED, while I trudge along in my safety shoes looking grey and dreary but I have the last laugh because when I finally get into my glamorous transportation (bus) I can snuggle up at a window seat and keep my boring black beanie on because it’s cold (January!!) and read 1984 and damn that book is good.

<end bitterness>

[Note from the author, after he’d calmed down a bit and apparently started speaking in the third person: The conclusions to draw from all this must be that I get grumpy when it’s cold and that having a good book into which to escape can make everything better.]

 

Wishes (Part Six)

[If this doesn’t immediately make sense, you may not have read the previous five parts! That, or you’d like a quick refresh (it has been a while since Part Five) or perhaps you’d like to read my other flash fiction series. In all these cases, click here]

“She plays with an effortless grace doubtless honed by ballet lessons in her formative years,” I read aloud.

Vix sniggered. “They’ll have got that from talking to Mum. She dragged me there every week for a year. I refused to wear pink so I was the only one in the class in blue.”

“That wasn’t a major influence on your playing style then?”

“Well, I still won’t wear pink…”

I laughed and scanned the rest of the article – it moved onto me and so I refrained from reading it. The pressure of our burgeoning reputations was getting to me. We’d trained with the England squad last week, and after an uncharacteristic miss I’d had a panic attack and gone to the physio’s room to calm down. My stats were near perfect and every error had a significant impact. I led Vix in half a dozen categories and trailed her in six others. My soon-to-be international teammate ‒ we were expected to make our international debuts next month, a fact I still couldn’t believe –  Alan was having his hamstring tended to.

“Turned inside out by that girl of yours,” he’d said to me with a wry grin. “You’ll take my place in the next squad I expect.”

I had smiled and offered my condolences, but my heart had skipped a joyous beat with his words.

We were sat in my flat, relaxing the evening before the Championship game, and I was reading the preview online. The article barely mentioned the opposition; instead it was being billed as ‘the pinnacle of a golden year for a golden couple’ – a celebration of Vix and me. Everyone seemed to know we would win, but we had to go out and wow. We couldn’t have put any more work in than we had, yet I wasn’t confident at all.

‘There’s something you’ve forgotten,’ my brain kept whispering to me. ‘Something you’ve forgotten all this time.’

I lay awake that night, the voice whispering to me again and again as a wrinkled face I didn’t know swam through my head. I was just drifting off to sleep when Vix grabbed my arm.