Dispatches, fiction

Dispatches from the Field: The Lost City

Dispatches is our ongoing series from our intrepid traveling reporter Steve Finch. This week, Steve comes face to face with… well, we’ll let him explain.

A large team of historians, geographers, archaeologists, seismologists, cosmologists, astrologers, zoologists, and I believe a cardiologist as well, recently announced a truly startling discovery.

That discovery, made by the team’s interim committee on impossibilities, was that they had discovered the location of the lost city of Atlantis.

They made another announcement as well. Care of the select committee on efficiency, it was announced that they would have made this discovery years ago if they hadn’t been such a large team. Because, they announced, when you have a group as large as this, you have to form committees. And, they said, quoting Jon Corlan, “committees suck.”

As to the discovery of the lost city, they announced that contrary to the conventional wisdom used by 2000 years of seekers, Plato’s directions to the city were not actually incorrect, just remarkably poor.

This came as no surprise to our reporter, who discovered Plato’s poor sense of space when he unnecessarily visited Greenland while following the ancient philosopher’s directions to a cocktail party in his hometown of Aegina.

So, this reporter wanted to know, how badly did Plato misdirect this time?

After a two hour recess for a meeting of the committee to explain profound truths to laymen, the scientist returned to explain.

As Dr. Ulrich told it:

From Athens, Atlantis is indeed beyond the gates of Hercules, just as Plato described. But, he left off the rest of the directions. To reach Atlantis you must leave Athens in the direction of the gates. But once you pass through the gate, you must immediately turn right 360 degrees. Then you must walk back exactly as far as you have come.

“But wouldn’t that bring you back to Athens?” this reporter queried.

After some consideration in the subcommittee on cardinal directions the reply came.

“Yes, indeed, it would.”

The scientists immediately reconvened the committee of the whole to discuss the possible problems of their organizational structure. Four hours later, no markable progress had been made.

Until next time, this is Steve Finch signing off.

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big ideas, fiction

Fiction: Conversations I Don’t Have with my Dog

Lucky (that’s his name) stands there staring at me.

“What?” I ask. “I just fed you.”

He keeps staring at me. Not blinking (do dogs blink?) not looking away.

Again, “What?” Nothing. “You’re thinking about something. Wait, let me guess. You’re wondering about the purpose of existence. Whether there’s a reason we’re here. You’re thinking that maybe there is a purpose. Maybe God created us. That maybe this is an immense test of our wills and our hearts. And that how we perform determines how God will treat us when we go back to him.”

He hasn’t moved a hair.

“Or maybe you’re thinking that we’re here for no reason. That we’re just the result of millions of years of genetic variation. We’re the best of all there ever was. We were the fittest and so we’re still here. We’re better than the dinosaurs, after all.”

He looks down at the floor.

“You would think that, you Godless heathen.”

He whines softly.

“You’re not as hopeless as that?”

He looks up again.

“You think we should make the most of this. Whatever it is. That we should improve ourselves. Help others. Improve the condition of our fellow man to the greatest extent we can. And when we can’t, we should at least strive to do them no harm.”

He gives a little yip.

“Yeah,” I say, “me too.”

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Dispatches, fiction

Dispatches from the Field: Land Speed Record

Dispatches from the Field is our ongoing series of reports from our intrepid traveling reporter Steve Finch. This week, some insight on the most famously reclusive animals on the planet.

In the history of the world, there has only been one land mammal faster than the cheetah. What creature is so incredibly fast and nonchalant that it hasn’t made it’s amazing speed well known?

Unicorns have long scoffed at the frequent boasting of cheetahs and their adoring human fans. Papa Unicorn, who became their leader after the death of the great mother, made his disdain for cheetahs clear to this reporter by stating that their official comment on the situation was “no comment.” For these proud animals, that can only mean that they feel themselves above the cheetahs and the need to comment on such a story.

One unicorn, however, was both more forward and less dignified than Papa Unicorn, proudly boasting of his personal speed. Black Sheep, so-named because he is largely disliked and distrusted by the others, offered to give this reporter a ride. He promised that he would easily double the cheetah’s highest recorded speed of 70 miles an hour.

This reporter, having heard all too frequently from the group of Black Sheep’s questionable reputation, kindly declined. Black Sheep than galloped away, at a rate this reporter can only call “fast,” to display his disgust.

This reporter would clarify that Black Sheep’s attitude at this slight was uncommon. Though the unicorns are uniformly proud animals, they are also very polite. This reporter, for one, has never felt more slovenly than when in the presence of these noble and magical creatures.

Perhaps John the Unicorn said it best. When this reported pressed him about the speed record, he said only that the cheetahs could continue their boasting. The unicorns, for their part, will continue to avoid record of their speed because, he said, “We don’t go in for that type of thing.”

Until next time, this is Steve Finch signing off.

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