Our country was suffering in shock from another mass murder by a gun-wielding lunatic. No use to go into the numbers and methodology. It is all too painfully familiar by now.
Anyway, as I say, C.W. never misses a chance. I looked up from my computer screen into a dark room to see him standing in the form of a six year old child, pale but emitting a slight white glow. He stood staring at me without speaking for several seconds. Then he spoke in a soft child’s voice that floated around the room like a smoky whisper.
“Do you know why they killed me?”
I studied the figure. C.W., despite his often comic and cynical approaches to our society, chooses very carefully when he will be serious.
“No,” I said. “I don’t.”
“Then you seem to be the only one of your species that doesn’t, from what I observed on the social networking websites this morning.”
“You’ve been on my computer?”
“Oh please,” he said. “So you don’t know?”
“I can’t begin to fathom.”
“Someone blamed it on a god.”
“I’m sure they did.”
“Some think your species needs fewer guns.”
“I’m sure they do.”
“Others think you need more guns.”
I didn’t answer him. So he kept talking.
“The ones who seem the most positive are the ones who don’t have a clue.”
“That is usually the case,” I said.
“You know I went through considerable training before the Falloonian Elders sent me to your planet.”
“I would assume as much.”
“You want to know their short take on your species?”
“Why not?” I was glad to escape my own thoughts.
“That you had managed to overcome, to a remarkable degree, your prehistoric reliance on violence as a survival strategy.”
“That’s good, right?”
“But,” he continued. “It never left the DNA strand and it will surface from time to time, often most tragically.”
“Ask your classmates,” I said.
“Ask the families of the children of Baghdad the morning your country started raining bombs on them,” he said.
“You are not being very comforting,” I said.
“One of your country’s founders—I forget which one—said ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’”
“It is attributed to Thomas Jefferson,” I said. “But I’m not sure it was he.”
“It makes no difference, don’t you see. What is important is the cosmic truth of it. Your species must remain vigilant over those primordial instincts that have existed, and still exist, since your ancestors crawled from the oceans.”
“So you mean …?”
“Sorry, but I have to go now,” he said, looking past me to a point far away. “One of the things I planned to do when I learned to write good was to keep a diary.” He paused. “But of course I never got to do it.”
|It is hard, some mornings,|
to continue believing in the
acquired goodness of people.
But you must keep trying. - C.W.
I must have looked confused.
“Oh,” he said. “I met a friend who kept a very good one before the violence took her and she has promised to read it to me.”
And he faded away, leaving me more confused than ever.