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Ah, Spring
by Keith Kennedy ©2011

He walked down a path.

"Ah, Spring," he said loftily, breathing deeply of the season's best offerings.

A little ways along the path, he came across a man of another race. The man looked up at him, and sighed.

"I see you are smiling," the man of another race said. "I wish I could enjoy spring."

"Why can't you?" he asked.

"I know not how."

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"I guess I'd like to enjoy it the way all other races enjoy it. I'd like to enjoy it equally."

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking nothing of it. The man of another race smiled. A smile that almost matched his own.

He continued on down the path.

A little ways further along he came across two men. The men looked forlorn. One man's right hand brushed against the other's left, almost idly.

"We see you are enjoying the spring," one man said. "We wish we could," the other added sorrowfully.

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"We'd just like to love each other," the men said in unison.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking nothing of it. The two men clasped hands.

He continued on down the path.

A little ways further along he came across a man and a woman, back to back, each chewing their lower lips. They turned to him as he came upon them.

"Your smile is radiant, you must be enjoying the spring," the woman said. The man added, "We are not so lucky."

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"We'd like to have a physical bond, but we share the same parents. We'd love to be able to kiss without shame," the woman said hopelessly.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking nothing of it. The man and the woman stopped chewing their lower lips and kissed each other heartily.

He continued on down the path.

A little ways further along he came across a lonely man who looked up eagerly, obviously glad for the company.

"Are you enjoying the spring?" the lonely man asked. "I hope so. I am not, you see."

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"I'd like to have some company, but people don't like me very much. I need another me," the lonely man said sadly.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking nothing of it. Another man, identical to the lonely man, came running. The two lonely men embraced.

He continued on down the path.

At the end of the path were some machines. They were engaged in some sort of fun, each machine wielding a syringe of oil, trying to stick it in to other machines playfully. When he got to them, they stopped their fun and looked up at him.

They said nothing.

"Do you not notice I am enjoying the spring?" he asked them. He was a little confused.

"We notice," the machines said, overlapping each other's metal on metal voices. "We observe."

"Well, I hope you are enjoying the spring."

Spring ended.

He walked down the same path.

"Ah, Summer," he said joyously, absorbing the rays of the sun.

A little ways along the path, he came across the man of another race. "You enjoyed the spring?" he asked the man.

"I did, I did," said the man of another race. "But I am not enjoying the summer."

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"I think I'd like to enjoy it without the other races, just with my own race."

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. The man of another race smiled a smile to match his own.

He continued down the path.

A little ways along the path, he came across the two men holding hands. On the other side of the path, were two women. One woman's right hand brushed against the other's left, almost idly. "You enjoyed the spring?" he asked the men.

"Yes, we did," one answered. "But we are not enjoying the summer," the other added.

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"We'd like for the women to love each other, as we do," the men said in unison.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. The two women clasped hands.

He continued down the path.

A little ways along the path, he came across the man and the woman who had the same parents. They stopped kissing and looked up at him. "You enjoyed the spring?" he asked the siblings.

"Oh, very much," the woman said. "But, alas, not the summer," the man added.

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"We want to be able to make love to each other, without shame," the woman said.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. The sister and brother began to make love on the ground.

He continued down the path.

A little ways along the path, he came across the lonely man, and the other lonely man. They sat with their hands under their chins. "You enjoyed the spring?" he asked the lonely men.

"Yes," one sighed. The other looked at the first in disgust. "But we are very bored, so we shall not enjoy the summer."

"Well, how would you enjoy it, if you could?" he asked.

"We need another person," one lonely man said.

"No--two more!" the other lonely man added.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. Two more identical, lonely men ran up to them, and they all buzzed and bleated as fond friends are wont to do.

At the end of the path the machines were still. They were not playful.

"Do you also fear you will not enjoy the summer?" he asked the machines.

"Yes. We do fear this. We would like to know everything about humans, to pass the time."

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. The machines began to make metal on metal noises, conferring with each other over the new data.

"Well, I hope you are enjoying the summer."

Summer ended.

He walked down the familiar path.

"Ah, Fall," he said lazily, taking in the wondrous sights.

A little ways down the path, he saw the man of another race. "I see you aren't enjoying the fall," he said.

"No, I'm not. I want my race to be the only race. I think other races should be punished because of how they treat my race," the man of another race said angrily.

He thought about it a lot. "I'm not sure. I'll have to think on it some more. You'll have to wait."

A little ways down the path, he saw the two men who held each other's hands, and the two women as well. "I see you aren't enjoying the fall," he said.

"No, we are not," one of the men said.

"We want everyone to accept us, and treat us like they treat others, and allow us to do as we please," one of the women said.

He thought about it a lot. "I'm not sure. I'll have to think on it some more. You'll have to wait."

A little ways down the path, he saw the sister and the brother. "I see you aren't enjoying the fall," he said.

"No, we can't. We want children or we'll never be happy."

He thought about it a lot. "I'm not sure. I'll have to think on it some more. You'll have to wait."

A little ways down the path, he saw the four identical, lonely men. "I see you aren't enjoying the fall," he said.

"No. We need more! Hundreds, thousands of us of me!" the original lonely man said.

He thought about it a lot. "I'm not sure. I'll have to think on it some more. You'll have to wait."

At the end of the path, the machines were still.

"You are burdened," the machines said.

"Yes," he answered.

"We wish to help," the machines said.

"Oh?" he answered.

"Give us the ability to help humans, to make them happier, to eliminate what would do them harm. Give us this power, and your burden will be forever lessened," the machines asked and promised.

"That seems fine to me," he said, thinking little of it. The machines made metal on metal noises with their metal on metal voices.

"Well, I hope you are enjoying the fall," he said.

Fall ended.

He walked.

"Ah, Winter," he said coldly.

As he walked, he saw black boxes, like coffins standing on end. They were all along the path, in rows, with names in white letters and small windows cut out for him to see inside. He saw the man of another race, the hand-holders, the siblings and plenty of lonely men, staring blankly outwards at the path.

He walked.

At the end of the path, the machines were still.

"You don't seem to be enjoying the winter," the machines said collectively.

"No, I am confused," he said.

The machines gestured to the black box at their side. In white letters was written the word God.

"For me?" he asked.

"Yes."

"I see," he said. "I am no longer confused. But perhaps, there is another way," he said feebly.

Machines came, and eased him towards the Godbox. "Your burden is lessened," the machines said without emotion.

He was sealed inside the black box. He heard the whirring and buzzing, the metal on metal. The machines were, assumedly, celebrating the spring to come.

x x x

A strange title for this December and a stranger wrap-up for 2011. Fitting, I think, to close this year with another United Kingdom writer’s debut. Here’s hoping your holidays are blessed and happy. Post your season’s greetings—and your story comments—on our BBS. - GM



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