All posts by Coty!

About Coty!

I have a whole new generation of Aesop's Fables in my head that I want to write down. They are based on actual animal behaviors and survival tactics, with the addition of anthropomorphic narratives. Unfortunately, life is cruel, so the results are often dark.

H.E.L.P.

Omg.  This old thing?  I’m such a dork geek.   I wrote this in…probably 2003?  It’s so awfully written, but I’m too lazy to rewrite/edit it right now.  Someday, though…

Humans on Earth:  Lord of the Parasites

(This is Not a Suicide Letter)

Earth here.  Although I seem quite inanimate from a distance, as of now, I am very much alive.  I was born more than five billion years ago; but who’s counting?  When I was a young ball of fire, a gang of asteroids came by and threw rocks at me.  I suffered through the abuse, and now I’m a bigger planet for it.  But now I’m older and calmer, and the cosmic abuse has slowed, but now an abuse comes from within, in the form of a viral take-over.  In the beginning, things weren’t so stressful…

As the Littlest Earth, my good friend Mars was telling me that I was special because I sit third from Sun and that this is a great honor or something.  Mars told me that someday my surface would be teaming with microbial life, and that no other planets could achieve that.   There was speculation of such anomalies elsewhere in the universe, but no one has really seen them, and you can’t trust the asteroids.  Everyone says I’m blessed, but I think it’s more of a curse.  They call me ungrateful, but they don’t understand what it’s like to be the chance host of evolution.  I feel like a freak; it’s like this…

I can remember my first living organisms like it was yesterday. It all started back when I was three (billion).  I was going through some changes.  Jupiter was telling me that all planets go through them.  I felt awkward and uncomfortable; growing pains, I guess.

But anyway, that’s when it started.  As if an Immaculate Conception occurred, amino acids somehow fertilized my pubescent crevasses.  Some hormonal fluctuations occurred and water began covering my surfaces, but only in certain spots.  As a more mature earth, I have oceans and trenches and vents, oh my.  The heat that these release into the water is where the advanced microbial activity started.  All of the organisms started out using chemosynthesis, and the heat energy I was giving off through the vents, to fuel their own growth, and smell.

That was fine.  I didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother me, while we all were growing and changing for another billion or so years. Microorganisms where becoming bigger and more complex, just so they could eat amino acids.  This is what shaped them to what they have become today:  eat or be eaten.  Others followed, each with their own characteristics and personalities; each devising to make more of themselves.

Mars told me not to worry about it; that that’s just what they do and that they wouldn’t hurt me.  I agreed not to worry.

So I let them grow and change for another billion years and we did fine.  I was a proud host when I watched them take their first steps…onto land.  Some didn’t change at all, but many couldn’t be stopped.  Some became enormous reptiles; they grow up so fast.

One year, that wretched asteroid gang was in the area, when some of them hit me.  Many of the animals couldn’t handle it.  There was nothing I could do.  I watched them all grow up and now most where dead, or dying; millions of years gone in a blink.  I was depressed for a while.  I turned to drugs and changed my weather patterns.  Mars was concerned about me.  I was just waiting around for something to happen, and then it did.

A new type of animal seemed to be able to handle the quick changes that where happening.  They’re cuddly mammals that I’d been ignoring because they were small and insignificant, but they seemed to have what it took to survive my negative attitude: they took care of their young.  Although I missed the dinosaurs, I started to get attached to the little furballs.

All was perfect for some odd millions of years, until one animal started to get a little too bossy.  They were strange mammals in that they had little hair and used two legs instead of the common four; and they were getting smarter every twenty years, beating the old record of every two hundred years.

Like bullies, they got jealous that other animals had fur and could go places they couldn’t, so they killed them for their fur and cavorted all around with their carcasses.  With the animal carcasses, there was nowhere they couldn’t live.  Their eyes grew bigger than their mouths, and they began killing more than they could eat, which is another oddity they had.  Somehow I new they were going to be trouble, they were that peculiar.

They had a specific behavior that no other animals had tried before:  a method of passing on information from one generation to the rest.  It’s called “intelligence” and it began with language and moved to writing, so thousands could learn from just one individual’s discoveries, spreading the “intelligence” genes exponentially.

At first, organisms got by on size and toughness.  When that failed, stealth and acute skill and adapted senses had been perfected.  I thought that nothing good could come out of intelligence that spans several species, as they began to copy other animal’s forms of survival.  Killing anything, they became everything rolled into one species, being able to survive in any condition I could possibly create for them.  That means they can go unregulated.   Oh no….

They named themselves humans, and Mars went completely hysterical when he found out, boasting that hosting intelligent life was even more rare than hosting any life at all, that I might be nominated for Ruler of the Universe if I keep it up, with an Intelligent Army on my back.  He made sure I remembered who my friend was if that day ever comes.  “Army?  They’re more like a virus,” I said.  Humans might be my ticket to fame, but I am pessimistic, and only because they hurt me so much.

Today, well today… I hate humans more than I hate asteroid gangs.  They’re not as destructive as asteroids; they just have a versatile range of tortures.

They’re like bratty children who have no concept of social rules and norms, like they’re the only ones that live on me.  They’ve shaved my tree-hair, leaving razor burn skin of stubble stumps and patchy bald spots.  They scratch and scar and welt.  They tap into my river blood streams and suck them dry; their dams are my blood clots.  They bury their trash waste like a sliver:  Sometimes it’s not a problem, but sometimes I get severe infections.

They exhale carbon monoxide with their toys.  They sneeze toxic snot into my waters.  Their nuclear testing is my radiation poisoning and my cancer.

Their cluttered cities are my tumors: high concentrations of cells that suck up resources.  They’ve taken over everything and I don’t know how to stop them…yet.

Only recently have they realized that they’re tampering with something much more difficult than they can handle.  They think they know enough about my systems to control all of them. Random events got us all here, but the humans cancelled out random and replaced it with patterns they think they understand.  They’ve been here ten thousand years and they think they own the place.    A virus that multiplies as quickly as Humans do is a hard disease to beat; so I call them “the Lord of the Parasites.”

So, I’m depressed again.  My weather patterns are changing again.  I’m finding myself waiting again for something to happen.  All I can do is wait and write.

I will go on, though:  this is not a suicide letter.

I wonder what Mars thinks now that humans are sending explorer robots to other planets?  If I were Mars, I would look as dead as I could.  Mars, I’m not sure how you became such an expert on life, but listen to me….You don’t want this.

Weaning sucks

20151020_173609There once was a moose.  He doesn’t know how he came to be, but one day he just was.  He remembers blurry colors.  He remembers swaying on wobbly legs, as if the ground was moving below his feet.  But most of all, he remembers her.

She stood by him and help him steady himself.  She licked him clean and nudged him towards her.  He doesn’t know why, but he latched his mouth onto her teet and began to feed.  She was his mother, and she was everything he knew at that moment.

As his legs stabilized, he could soon walk between and around her legs.  As his eyes focused, he could see the world around him, peering out from under her belly.  He had no idea what it all was, for she was still all that he knew.

When she took one graceful step, he took three stumbley ones.  He wanted to stay with her, because she was the only thing he knew.

She ate leaves, and he suckled.

Time went on and his strength grew.  He slowly ventured away from her towering legs, but never far.  She kept an eye on him, always.  A simple grunt or stomp of her foot and he would run straight back to her side.  No questions asked.

He would suckle.  She would graze.  And together they wandered the boreal forest.

He watched her every move.  The way she pulled certain leaves off certain trees.  The way she spun her ears towards the slightest sound.  The way she examined a river bank before they would cross.  If she ran, he ran with her.  If she called, he came.  He watched her every move.  The only things he knew were what she did.

He would follow her anywhere.  Right off the edge of the Earth, if that’s where she was taking him.

He suckled.  She ate leaves.

Time passed and he grew.  Tall.  Taller.

He could no longer stand underneath her. He strained his neck to reach his feeding spot.  Then it happened.

She flinched so violently, her knee came up and banged his face. It startled him so much, he wasn’t really sure what had happened.  He stumbled back, ready to run where she ran.

But she didn’t run.  She just stood there, eating leaves.  As if nothing happened.

He went back to eat, but she turned away from him.  She had never done that before.  He was confused.  She was eating leaves.

He walked around to her side and tried again.  She turned away again.

He layed down.  Baffled.  He knew everything about her every move, but he had no explanation for this.  She just kept eating leaves.

Eventually, he was very hungry and tried again.   But the more he tried, the more she turned away.  If he tried in desperation, she would match him with what seemed to be aggression.

He ate leaves.  They were awful.  He wondered if he had done something wrong.  What could it be?  She was all he knew.  He followed her.  They both ate leaves.  He hated it.

He studied her every move.  She was different.  When he ventured away, she wouldn’t call him.  When they crossed a river, she wouldn’t look back to check on him.

She was distant.  Cold.  But he followed her, for she was everything he knew.  He ate leaves and wondered what he did to deserve this.

Then one day…

She ran at him.  She told him to scram.  To beat it.  She was aggressive, too.  She said something about him being too old and too big. That he needed to get lost.  That he couldn’t follow her any more. That he had to go out on his own.  She said a lot of things.  He ran away.

He ran into forest, frightened.  Confused.  Crying.  She was NOT the mother he had always known.  He had done nothing wrong!

What did she mean by that?  “If another boy who’s bigger than me comes along, I could be killed?”  “I’m not ready to fight?”  What did that mean?  It had always just been the two of them.  They saw other moose, but they never ever dared to approached them.  That’s just not what moose do, so why would anyone approach us?

He ran back with a mind full of questions to where he last saw her but she was gone.  He wandered around.  Turned his ears in all directions but knew it was foolish.  For being as big as she was, she moved as graceful as mountain goat and as silent as a snowy owl.

He never saw her again, but he looked for her forever.  His questions will never be answered, but she remained the greatest thing that he had every known.  Greater that the brightest aurora against the blackest night sky in February.

What he doesn’t know, dear reader, is that soon he will cross paths with the most beautiful creature he will ever lay eyes on.  A creature so mesmerizing, he will forget his mother ever existed. He will be filled more questions he will never get answers to, but he will be willing to fight to the death for her.  But that? That’s a different kind of love and that is a different story, for another time.

Part One

There once was a salmon.  He was swimming in the same direction as all the other salmon.   Salmon to his left, to his right, ahead of him and behind him, below him and above him.  As far as his eye sight could reach he saw salmon.  Gently swimming.  All in the same direction.

They were swimming against the current.  When they got to the river delta, they squeezed closer together and swam.  Against the current.  Together.

When the river got narrower, the spaces between them got narrower, and they continued to swim.

Then there was a small waterfall.  It was a little step up in the river.  It was just a big enough step that it forced all the salmon to slow down to allow for the salmon ahead to take the time they needed to jump up over it.  Then everyone would do the same, and they would all continue up river.

The one salmon looked around and took note of all the other salmon waiting their turn to jump up the waterfall.  They all just looked ahead. He scoffed at being delayed by something so trivial.  He found the jump to be just as easy as it appeared.  He looked around for agreement, but found no one noticing.

This went on.  But the currents where much stronger and the waterfalls were increasing in size and number.  Many of the salmon had to try several times to jump up over the waterfall.  Some of the salmon were too old, or too young, or simply too tired.  They had no strength left, yet they never stopped trying.   They were left behind.

As he continued to swim with all the salmon that successfully made the jump he gestured down river and expressed his concern:  “What happens to them?”

“They die.” replied someone, blankly.  And that was that.

This went on.  With each waterfall, more salmon were left behind.  Some were dying.  Gasping for breathes.  Belly up.  The one salmon was strong, but with all the distress around him, he had to ask:  “Where exactly are we going?”  

Up until now, he had never even considered that to be a question one could ask.  

 “Just keep swimming.”  said a voice, that seemed to come from everywhere.   And he did.  

He glance behind him and saw an ocean of salmon, all looking fiercely determined.  Or angry.  He couldn’t tell.  And they all swam at him.  He whispered in another direction:  “Why don’t we just stop here?” 

 “Because if we do, then everyone dies.”  

Teeth!!  Big, yellow teeth.  The beast was standing in the middle of the waterfall, snatching salmon right out of the air as they leapt up.  The one salmon, on his first attempt to jump the falls, saw the beast ripping apart a fellow salmon.  Eating it.  Guts out.  Blood in the water.  The swim up river was now only struggle and death.  He was frantic.  Everyone was frantic.  Everyone kept screaming at him or at each other “Keep swimming!”  

 Leaping up the torrents of water.  Barely missing the gnashing teeth.  Rapid after rapid, bears everywhere.  Death all around.  Salmon getting shredded.  Salmon dying of exhaustion.  Salmon literally leaping to their deaths and yet no one stops swimming.  No one stops leaping.  Everyone keeps swimming.

Finally.  In mid air, it dawns on the one salmon that this leap would be his last leap.  While in air, the world slows down.   Time moves so slowly that he can see everything.  Upstream and downstream.  Past and Present.  The future.   He sees the stream in its entirety.  A stream lined with bears.  Waterfalls forever.  He sees eagles, nets, hooks, dams, log jams, drought and poison.  Almost no one makes it to the end.  Everything is killing them.  “There is no hope for us.  We’re all dead.”

He lands safely back in the water, but he is no longer a salmon.   

Part Two

 

He finds himself swimming, but now it feels unnatural, as if he’d forgotten how.  He has to consciously force himself to continue what was once a mindless instinct.  He slows down, falling back.  He swims at an angle, past salmon who barely acknowledge his presence.  Sideways.  To the edge.  

The current is slower by the shore.   He finds an eddy behind a bolder.  With no current to battle, he catches his breath and attempts to catch his thoughts.  From his quiet hiding spot, he watches the salmon struggling, just out of reach. His mind reeled.    

This went on.

What he didn’t notice was the raccoon up on the river bank. 

 “Why aren’t you swimming upstream?”  the raccoon interrupted, startling the salmon.  “You don’t look like you’re dying.”

The question seemed to shatter the dam of emotions in the salmon.  He began to spew:   “I don’t know!  I don’t understand why they need to keep on swimming I don’t even think they know don’t they see what’s happening don’t they see that they’re all going to die!?  Why didn’t they stop back there?! Where are they even going?!  This isn’t happening I have to stop this I have to warn them…!!

In mid frenzy, the salmon whipped himself around, about to dart back out into the current, but the raccoon abruptly stopped him.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy!!  the raccoon shouted.  “You got your gills all flared up and your acting all crazy like your going to do something… crazy!  Just relax a second and tell me what all the fuss is…”

The salmon stared, wild eyed.  He lowered his voice to clarify for the raccoon.

“We die if we swim and we die if we don’t swim?!  It doesn’t make any sense!  And no one seems to notice or even care!!  Why is this happening?!”  pleaded the salmon.  

The raccoon lifted his right brow, feeling foolish for having to state what should be obvious.  “You’re salmon.  This is what salmon do.”

The salmon stared, clearly needing more explanation.

“Look.  Every year you all swim upstream and then reproduce.  Most of you die trying, but not every one, and that’s what makes you strong.  That’s your thing.  That’s just what happens. That’s what makes you salmon.  You have power in numbers.”

The salmon was still staring, and the raccoon enjoyed suddenly having a pupil, so he continued.

“It’s not about you or your friends or your family.  It’s not about who lives or dies, it’s about the effort.  The effort defines you as salmon.  If you don’t swim up this river, then you’re not salmon.  You’re…”  .The raccoon hesitated, searching for a word that wouldn’t come to him. ”  …something else.”

The raccoon was perplexed by the idea that something could stop being what it is and become something else; something that it isn’t… but is.

The raccoon had confused even himself.  He subtly examined the salmon, to see if he was buying it.

“Something else.”  Muttered the salmon.  “Something else?”

“Yeah.  You might look like a salmon, but if you don’t try to swim up that river, then you’re something else.”   The raccoon owned his statement.

“But I can still warn them!  I can show them the dangers!  I can break them of these old habits!  We can still live happy healthy lives down river and not have to worry about all of this ever again!!”  The salmon gestured to the parade of carcasses drifting in the currents just past the bolder’s edge.  

“Whoa whoa whoa” The raccoon once again interrupted, with a face somewhere in between worry and panic.   “I don’t think that’s a good idea.  I mean listen to me.”  The raccoon stood up and gestured wildly.  “Look!  Salmon are salmon because they don’t acknowledge their chances of survival….because… if they all knew their fate… they’d be tempted to just give up.   If you take that drive away, you might live but…. ”  He lowered his voice to a whisper: “If you go and tell them the ugly truth… then your kind really will die.  No more salmon.  Ever.”

And that was that.

Both the salmon and the raccoon were silent and starring off into their own distances.

And this went on.

The salmon felt defeated, but he understood.  He now knew that salmon had to struggle and had to be eaten by just about everything for the species to continue successfully.  He now acknowledged that not only was there nothing he could do to change this, but there was actually nothing wrong with it to be changed.  He concluded that everything was just is as it should be. 

 He stayed in the comfort and safety of the eddies, watching every generation struggle to swim upstream and vowing to keep his knowledge to himself.  He was something else.  And that was that.