July 9, 2019


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Popular Science Fiction Story/Series: Dune
SF Trope: Humans Are Greedy...Aesop’s Fable: “The Dog and its Shadow”

Up on the edge of the berm, the grand cover shivered as a broad-shouldered dog pushed its head through and looked down on them.

The Ojibwe man said, “I should mention that there’s been a resurgence of wildlife dangerous to Humans since the Return To The Wilds act. Rattlesnakes. Cougar. Wolverine. Grizzlies,” he gestured, “Gray wolves.”

Nkokoyanga Pomodimo snapped, “Are you threatening us?”

He smiled, “I don’t have to threaten you.” He lifted his chin and the wolf faded back into the brush. “I am warning you. You don’t know the land here – or anywhere outside of the Vertical Villages any more.”

Logan Andrist snorted, “We have lots of information about the Wild Lands!” He held up his scanner. “This has encyclopedias of information about all this.”

The Ojibwe man nodded, saying, “I have no doubt that you have bountiful information. I’m not saying that information is bad.”

“What are you saying then?” Nkokoyanga said.

“Knowledge and wisdom is more than information.” He gestured to Logan’s scanner. “I’m sure you have complete files on gray wolves. You probably have ethological files as well.”

Nkokoyanga scowled, looking at Logan, “What are those?”

“Animal behavior,” he said. Then to the Ojibwe man, “I do. I know how wolved behave.”

“Can you explain what just happened?”

Logan looked down at his scanner, screen-touching through several pages before he looked up and said, “You’ve obviously trained them. Like primitive Humans trained them and eventually got dogs.”

“Exactly right,” the man paused, “Now apply the information.”

Logan tried to hold the man’s gaze and finally looked away. “You’re right, of course. I have information – but no framework to hang it from and no way to apply it to this specific situation.”

Nkokoyanga stepped back from Logan, sniffed and said, “Who are you and what have you done with my teammate?”

Logan shook his head slightly but when Nkokoyanga moved slightly toward the Ojibwe man, he said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

She glanced at the Ojibwe man then back at him and said, “You’re always so smug in your information. Like you own it or something. Your greedy, ‘I have it all attitude’,” she paused, “It’s what led to that.” She gestured to Lake Superior where it surged sluggishly in turgid response to the wind blowing from the Arctic. “I have more in common with this man than I have with...”

The Ojibwe man began to laugh. Nkokoyanga turned to him, “What’s so funny?”

“You and I young lady? We have nothing in common.”

Nkokoyanga gestured to Logan, “His people...”

“Your people raped the land as badly as his. In fact, my ancestors did their share as well. There is nothing on this world but inherently greedy Humans – no matter their ancestry. The most important factor is choice. Wisdom. I have some experience with choice and I work every day – every moment on wisdom.” He also gestured to Lake Superior. “It will take all the wisdom of all of our peoples to see through to the healing of this Inland Sea. My people called it Gichigami – and that will be the name you can call me by.”

“Why should we help you?” Logan asked. He saw Nkokoyanga step back toward him and was obscurely glad.

“If you want something bigger in your life, you can join all of us.”

“We are big! Earth Government has plans to rejuvenate the Lake, too,” Nkokoyanga said.

Gichigami nodded, “Dumping iron filings into the water doesn’t address the whole problem.”

“What WILL address the ‘whole problem’?” Logan asked, making fists and panting them on his hips.

Gichigami smiled, “You’d have to join us to find that out.”

Nkokoyanga said, “We’re already part of something big.”

“Not big enough,” said the Ojibwe man and turned to walk away.

Names: Central African Republic, Gbaya; Minnesota, Minnesota

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