The Lord Is My Shepherd
by Julie Wornan
Scene: a starry sky.
Characters: Mother, Father, Junior.
M: Lovely light coming from that galaxy over there.
F: A supernova. Looks like someone’s cooking up a meal.
M: Speaking of which, it must be time for our own harvest pretty soon...?
F: Sure is. I’m going to stoke up the sun. Population seven billion now, that must be enough.
M: Won’t grow much more. The way they’ve been polluting the cage! Some of them’s nice and fat, though!
J: Don’t do it! Don’t do it! (sobs)
F: What’s with Junior?
M: He’s been down to the planet-cage again.
F: Bloody hell! How’d he get there?
M: I think he took the key from Pete while he was sleeping.
J: (sobbing) Please Mom! Please Dad! Don’t eat them!
F (sternly): Listen, Junior. I told you never to go down there again. The last time you visited the cage, 2000 cycles ago, you got them so stirred up they’ve been making wars on each other non-stop ever since. Bad for population growth.
J: Mom, Dad, they love you! They love me. I love them too. They’re so cute and funny. Especially the little ones. And those feline beings, and the elephant ones. Please please don’t hurt them!
M: Now, now. We won’t eat the felines or the elephants.
J: But you will kill them too!
M: There are almost none left anyway. It doesn’t matter, the humans are the tasty ones.
J: They know about me! They knew I’m your son. They know about you, Dad, and you too, Mom. They have a special book they wrote about us. And houses, beautiful houses where they go just to talk about us and read the book. And they talk to us and they beg us to help them.
M: Fancy that! What do they say about us?
F: What’s in their book?
J: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
F: Does “Lord” mean us?
M: What is a “shepherd”?
J: The shepherd looks after the sheep. The sheep are dear little woolly white beings, and the shepherd protects them.
F: And then what happens to the sheep?
J: They eat them.
F & M: Uh huh.
J: They have pictures of us. (Reminiscent, almost smiling) They think we look like them. Mom, they draw you like one of their females holding a little baby... and that baby is me! (Begins to sob again).
F: Now, Son, don’t cry. I’m going to seed another planet with a zillion cats and elephants just for you.
(In the medium distance, a sun explodes and flares up brightly. A planet spirals sunward and settles into a new orbit close to the fire).
M: Mmm, just smell that dinner cooking!
J: I won’t eat any! I won’t!
F (to M): He’ll eat.
M: I know he will. It was the same last time we harvested a planet. There, there, Jesus. Wash your hands now and come to the table.
Copyright © 2008 by Julie Wornan