“C.W.,” I said, “What the …”
“I told you no talking,” said. He scribbled on a writing tablet with a blue ballpoint pen. After a moment, he, with a great flourish, added a period, looked up at me, and said, “There.”
I know I had seen that face before. It came to me—Rod Serling.
“Mind telling me what’s up?”
“Simple,” he said. “Do you remember all those TV shows we watched while your species was dwelling on the upcoming calendrical units based on the time the earth takes to revolve once around the sun?”
“Let me remind you again,” I said, “you need to get your Galactic Universal Translator re-calibrated.”
“My GUT is fine,” he said. “I trust it.”
“That’s what a recent president said. You see where that got us.”
He cocked his head to one side and thought. Then he looked at me. “You want to hear this or not?”
“Okay,” I said, and took a seat opposite him in our living room.
“You know how much I enjoyed those “Twilight Zone” shows, remember?”
“I do,” I said, “but are they really, as you say, the most accurate portrayal of our Galaxy ever filmed?”
“Pretty much,” he said. “See what you have to look directed or facing toward the front or the direction that one is facing or traveling to?”
“I think looking forward to such a future may not seem that pleasant to us,” I said.
“Well think again,” he said. “I’m going to revive the series in a modern setting.”
“No really,” he said. “I’ve written my first script.” He held the writing tablet in front of me. In large block letters on the top sheet he had written, “Episode One: The Day of Oneness.”
I nodded. “Want to explain?”
“Sure,” he said. “Remember how a common theme in the old series was for the main character to wake up in a parallel universe?”
“Like the bigot who woke up in Nazi Germany?”
“You get the picture,” he said. “In this episode, the protagonist lives in a ‘time in the evening when the sun disappears or daylight fades towns.’”
“A ‘sundown’ town?”
“You don’t have to repeat everything I say,” he said. “Now why do people live in towns like that?”
“Uh,” I said, “So they can live with other people exactly like themselves?”
“And?” He leaned back like a teacher pressing for the rest of the answer.
“They don’t like people of different colored skin?”
“Aren’t you the bright one? “he said. “Now,” he flipped the page. “Our hero wakes up one morning and the entire homo sapiens species suddenly has the same skin color.”
“Well, not exactly,” he said. “More of a very dark olive skin tone. Everyone thinks that is the best, don’t they?”
I thought, “I reckon, at least judging by the popularity of tanning booths.”
“So,” he says, “with everyone’s skin color the same, his world changes.”
“First, everyone leaves town and his home is now worthless.”
“Uh,” I said, thinking this over.
“It was a dismal place to live,” he said, “except for the fact they didn’t allow off-colored residents and the school kids were all white.”
“Okay,” I said. “Go on.”
“His favorite TV and radio shows go off the air.”
Again, I thought about this. “Hate goes out of business?”
“Now you get the picture.” His face framed an almost evil grin. “Then he loses his job.”
“Why is that?”
“Why do you think?”
It came clear. “The merit system kicks in?”
“I’m turning you into a genius,” he said. “So what do you think happens next?”
“I have no idea.”
“His daughter starts dating a star basketball player.”
He frowned. “Think about it.”
I did. “Oh,” I said. “He’s pretty sure that … at least there is a pretty good chance that, … odds are that …”
He completed the thought for me. “The kid had been identifiable as an African-American before the changeover.”
“And we haven’t even gotten to the part where his son brings a new friend home.”
|This man learned so much from|
his visits around the Galaxy. - C.W.
“C.W.,” I said, “I think you may be on to something here.”
“Thanks,” he said. He lit a cigarette, and said, “Now get out. I have to work on my next idea.”
“And it is?”
“The country passes a tax that does away with inherited wealth. Each child in your country is provided a good education and a first job. Then they all start out equal.”
“Will you call it The Death Tax?”
He looked at me as though I had just asked if the Tooth Fairy really existed. “Why no,” he said. “I’ll call it The Lucky Sperm Tax.”
Click an ad and help my career. - C.W.
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