Space Stuff

by Michael D. Brooks


“Something weighing heavy on your mind, Pop?”

“You know that book of short stories I’m reading?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I think I just might be changing my mind about something.”

“Now there’s a first.”

“Shut up, smart-ass.”

“Okay. So what’s got you thinking about changing your mind?”

“Remember how I used to talk about how you and your friends used to read and watch all that science fiction stuff?”

“Yeah, do I ever. You used to go around saying that we were wasting our time reading stupid space stuff. So what about it, Pop?”

“I think I understand what you see in it now.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I see it’s not all about flying space ships, and ray guns, and aliens.”

“Whoa, and this is coming from the guy who said that science fiction writers were overgrown children with overblown imaginations?”

“Do you want to hear what I’ve got to say or not?”

“Sure do.”

“Humph. Anyway, I just got finished reading that war story and felt like I understood the main character. You read it yet?”

“Uh, yeah, Pop. I finished the book already.”

“Good for you, smart-ass. Some people enjoy taking their time and savoring every word.”

“Translation: slow readers.”

“What?”

“Nothing, Pop.”

“Thought so. Anyway, you know how the story starts off with him thinking about being a soldier in a war and about how it’s Hell and all that? And then he starts thinking about how the war got started?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I started thinking how all the stuff that he talked about is going on in the news around the world today.”

“Yeah. So?”

“I never really thought about it before.”

“Thought about it how, Pop?”

“How stuff that already happened is affecting us now and how the stuff that’s going on now is gonna affect us in the future”

“Like?”

“Like how World War I led to World War II that led to Korea, and the Cold War, and all them wars in the Middle East. Did you know that the Crusades started some of the problems we have in the world today?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.”

“Show off.”

“It’s called cause and effect, Pop. One thing starts a chain reaction to a bunch of other things. The results can be felt for centuries.”

“Just like it did for the guy in the story.”

“I’d say you had an epiphany. A unique religious experience. You’re on your way to sainthood.”

“I wouldn’t go that far, smart-ass.”

“Okay, how ‘bout I just say a light came on in that head of yours?”

“Whatever.”

“Now who’s using slang?”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Anything else? You look like there’s more on your mind.”

“Yeah. There is.”

“Well?”

“The guy also seems to struggle with his conscience a lot.”

“How so?”

“Even though he’s a soldier at war, he’s really pissed that the war wasn’t necessary and is wasting lives.”

“Like some of the wars today?”

“Yeah. And because he’s an officer, he’s also sorry about deciding who lives and who dies.”

“Sort of like when you went to war, huh, Pop?”

“Yeah. Sort of like that. No. A lot like that.”

“See what a stupid space story did?”

“What?”

“It got you thinking about that deep philosophical crap you hate.”

“Hmm. You know I hate it when you’re right. Okay. I guess there’s something to be said for that space stuff, uh, science fiction after all.”

“Keep reading science fiction, Pop, and you’ll become a deep philosophical thinker.”

“Shut up, smart-ass.”


Copyright © 2010 by Michael D. Brooks

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