“She’s a Far-Gone Other Species, Ralph,” by Dawn Wilson

Apr 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“She’s a far-gone other species, Ralph.”

Those were the only words of warning on the whole planet at that moment. Everyone else was going Whoop de dooooo! and Wheeee! and there was a lot of clunking together of heads.

“I know, I do know, Dave…” Hesitancy on the face of Ralph, like he’d made up his mind but still thought there had to be a better way. Sure, you can kill yourself anytime, but only once, and you probably won’t be able to step back and say Whew once you’ve leapt off that formidable roof.

Going down!

“She’s a gal. Keep that in mind. Female. Feminine. Strychnine in hot pants. A veritable spewing over of hormonal insurgents. They eat men, Ralph. Look at it statistically.”

In all the nooks and corners of the world, no one was having a logical look at anything, except maybe the innards of another’s head gone bashed into the wall of the mile-high twirly slide—seventy-eight miles an hour no helmet required population’s too high they keep coming from somewhere but we’re not sure where.

“You’re from Alabama, Dave. I’m from Omaha. There’s a huge difference, besides the twenty-two seconds it takes to transpose the letters. Maybe it’s the extra consonants…”

“No. It’s the extra gossip. Just sit around with anyone from my hometown and as soon as the sun sets, they open their mouths and the tongues just crawl out on their own.”

“And that’s how you know so much about these womenfolk.”

“Sure thing I didn’t spring forth from a tree. But now, the ban’s hot and heavy down my way. You won’t catch no canoodlers. We’ve got safety to think of.” Dave wiggled his toes in his open-toed leather work sandals and proceeded with his deep knee bends, designed to be done six hours straight for the forthright verisimilitude of mankind. Everyone in Kalamazoo had been impressed to save the planet. The Good Work.

“For the good of mankind and the furtherance of no touch!” Dave and Ralph chanted as the clock gonged: Save yourselves, Boys!

It had been years since the No Touch laws had gone into effect. Years since people had been so gosh-darn miserable. Fat, lazy, depressed. Putting all their eggs into the basket of one mate and then legalizing it before the courts. That was how life was ordered before the day the food ran out and there weren’t even any fries to go with That and you know, Swift once said Eat your babies and God once said Dash your children against the rocks (a recipe, before the inventions of tenderizer).

Of course, it was the females who got ready to claw each other’s eyes out. The females showed their true colors, how they’d been wool-pulling for eons and the menfolk sat up and went Oh.

Well, I’m not gonna eat my baby, you bitch. Let’s eat your baby. Your baby’s fatter and more succulent, anyway!

No! Let’s eat all the new babies.

Oh. Yeah, true. There’ll be lots. And no one will be attached to them yet.

Women haunted hospitals to feed themselves and their wee chittlins, waiting for the wails and the afterbirth, and the new mothers all ate their placentas because in olden days you did that anyway, for the nutritional value and to appease the spirits.

And the eye-opened men said, Um… that’s not right. We can’t eat our own kidneys and that’s kind of gross and cannibalistic, and they deemed all mothers of that baby-eating era Diseased and they locked them away, expecting them to eat each other.

The old men in the Congress stated that all this hullabaloo and overpopulation started back during Women’s Lib. They’d been in office long enough, they were sure to know; they had the statistics to prove anything they wanted. The People had the means to eat up anything that came to them over the airwaves as the dignified and irrefutable Truthness.

Congress passed the No Touch Law the second they rescinded the right to vote from all women and anyone who couldn’t do the square root of 4096—and then get the square of that—in their heads.

Three people voted in the Midwest that election year.

But then, that was where the cultured and educated folks out east traced the initial problems, back to the farmbelt where the suburbanites were inclined to brag to each other how many books they didn’t read that year. And where God still dictated that you keep having kids as often as the stick went in and the baby could come out, and don’t stop until you drop.

Ralph whispered during his jumping jacks, “I’m expected home for Christmas, Dave. I’m from Omaha. I’m from the very center of the Kill Zone.”

The government gave elderly farmers, disgruntled grocery clerks, the clergy, and any ex-military the right to shoot canoodlers on sight in the Kill Zone, which followed Tornado Alley straight up the center of the country, bisecting it into the learned and the passionate on either coast, and the morons in the center.

“I was lucky to get out of there. My folks have been grandfathered in. They’re old enough that their marriage still stands. Even if they can canoodle, neither one can reproduce. And let me tell you, now that the Powers got them finally talking about this stuff, they won’t stop doing it. They hug, they kiss, and it’s highly embarrassing.

“And Dave, I hate to say it, but before the Kill Zone went into effect, my parents were so far gone law abiding they wouldn’t have sneezed in public. That whole region couldn’t hold hands. Now? It’s like they’ve turned into anarchists. Just tell ‘em they can’t. And bam!”

On to lunges for four hours to bring their souls closer to the Earth spirits, even if the building was concrete and they were six floors up.

“Why would you even consider importing a bride type mistress when they’ve been exiled so long? Ralph, I tell you, you’re asking Trouble and not just from the ex-military hot fingers.”

“Sometimes better dead…”

“Can’t stop halfway off a building, Ralph, you know that. That’s their motto. And they will shoot.”

You try going home for Christmas at my age without a female companion on your arm (metaphorically).” What they really did was keep them in cages and pull them around on wheeled carts to show off their trapping prowess while the female ones hissed and tried to eat your liver. “It’s Omaha. The very one and only thing they’ve ever known is that a family has values and they know how to concoct a family out of anything, even a half-eaten scarecrow and a pet dachshund.”

“Go get a dachshund, Ralph. Without you to bend your knees and clap your hands and push your ups, why, we don’t stand a chance of ever getting back into the good graces of the Earth mother who may also be the asexual father.”

“But I just want to borrow your sister…”

“They removed her from us pre-teen, before the angst and hormones, Ralph. So while I have rather fond memories of the fact that she wasn’t homicidal, you’ve read the guide. You know what happens to those feminine children grown up. That’s why they had to be removed! And I, for one, am glad I’ve got a Utopian memory in my past and escaped the vagaries of living with Thelma as a sexual hussy. We’re the sacred generation, Ralph. We hold ourselves steady and this next generation won’t happen at all.”

They clapped their hands and raised them to the crumbly white ceiling and chanted Hallelujah.

There hadn’t been babies at all for ten years, so said the Charts and Graphs. The lax safety laws and the heightened thrill rides had leveled the population. But still, they could do more. Life post sexual segregation was so calm. All the photos of women had been destroyed. Works of art and statues had been locked away in tombs, catacombs, vaults. The occasional elderly woman still defied death with her damned homegrown vegetables, but it was only a matter of time before women weren’t even a memory.

“I just need your permission to borrow your sister. I promise, I won’t let her out of the cage. I won’t knock her around. I won’t remove the sheet in broad daylight so she won’t be tempted to sing. Above all, I won’t touch.”

“And when your defiant anarchist handholding mother catches sight of my little sister in her reinforced cage? And hears you bragging how you bagged this one and made her your feral bride? Then what? I’ll tell you what: shoot on sight. Taken out by your greengrocer. Leaving me jumping twice the jacks to keep the Earth mother from swallowing us whole.”

“I promise not to get shot. It’s just Christmas.”

Dave went frenetically into head shoulders knees toes eyes ears mouth nose. “I’m stomping a memo with my feet! Tattle, tattle! They’ll ban Christmas. They’ll ban it to save us all. They’ll ban going home to the Kill Zone for family holidays, for quiet nights snuggled around a fire. You know why? Because you’re weak. And it’ll take thirty years for the feral fertile women to be no more, no more at all. In thirty years, they’ll reinstate Christmas. Go home then. Go home then and pull the bones of your too-sexy mother out of the recliner and bury her in your childhood backyard and stand sweating over the grave and watch the sunset and eat a raw potato and know: that’s how it ends.”


Defenestration-Dawn WilsonA graduate of Bath Spa University in England, Dawn Wilson has had the pleasure to dabble in kitsch, surrealism, and espièglerie. Her work can be found in Gone Lawn, Paper Darts Magazine, Metazen, New Dead Families, Drunk Monkeys, and Punchnel’s, among others, while the author herself can be found dismantling the kitchen for wearable items, or at nightdawn.wordpress.com. She has recently completed a madcap novel.

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