The Littlest Infant

When it first appeared, we all made a joke of it. After all, no one had seen one of these in… well, generations. Several hundred of them, actually. It was just… unfathomable. And yet, there… it — he — was.

Lest you think our panic was unwarranted, remember: life in the late 22nd century was somewhat… different than it is now. The worldwide birthrate had plummeted, for a variety of reasons — ecological disasters in tandem with the overabundance of human-made chemicals — until Nature responded as only Nature seems to know how to do: by creating more and more female babies capable of sustaining the species, which meant less and less male ones, until ultimately a male birth was as rare as one in perhaps one or two million. By the 26th century, humanity was on the brink of collapse, so by law all the remaining potent men were rounded up and placed in camps to serve as a sort of human stud farm, where their spermatozoa was extracted at an almost frantic pace to keep humanity viable. But even that failed: they grew old, they died, and even the now-frozen sperm drawn from them lost its power.

But Nature of course being Nature wasnt finished with us: to ensure humanity as a species continued, we became a monosexual creature, capable of self-gestation. It didnt happen immediately, of course: the first to experience it were thought to be liars who’d somehow sneaked into the camps. But when it happened by the scores, then hundreds, then thousands… everyone knew a major evolutionary shift had occurred. And with it, equally sweeping changes in governance and the arts and every facet of our lives. I dont think anyone alive now can even fathom how just the basic concept of some kind of dual sexuality played out in our laws, how it was used to restrain women from their rightful place in the cosmos — and as a result this change was viewed as mixed, yet positive, blessing. Women were no longer viewed as the dimmer of the then-two genders. If you told anyone now that there was a time when the law said a woman was not allowed to walk in public simply because she was a woman, you would be considered a laughable lunatic. If you said there had been a time when women were considered property to be exchanged in marriage, you would be seen as a dangerous madwoman and should be locked away. Such lunacies of the past are now treated as mythology, as they should be. We see no reason to return to those barbaric times. No, our world — nor any of the others we have since colonized — is not perfect. But we have been spared the relentless horrors brought about by a gender we thought mercifully eradicated.

And then I received the call that the impossible had indeed happened: one of our citizenry had given birth to this misshapen monstrosity. Nature has decided, for whatever reason, that it’s time to have some more fun. For the mother’s own protection, she has been brought here and is held in seclusion, and we have immediately begun to clamp down on any reports of this singular moment. As for the infant… he — it — is kept here, in stasis, until we decide what to do…

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The Littlest Princes

“Hey! C’mon in!”

“You’re sure it’s not too late? I didnt — ”

“Dude, come on! We havent seen you since the wedding! Then you call, and man, gotta tell you, you sounded like… well, crap.”

“… Yeah.”

“Get in here! Sit down! So… what’s up? Everything okay?”

“… Yeah… No… No, it’s not. Me ‘n’ Cindy, we’ve…”

“You’ve had problems.”

“… Yeah.”

“Say no more, dude. I know exactly what you’re talking about.”

“No! You too?”

“Yeah. Everything was fine at first, then.. I dont know… things changed. She starts hanging out with her… posse… and even now they’re all holed up at that Princess Castle place, and — ”

“Princess Castle! I dont believe this! You too? Man, I thought your marriage was perfect! I mean, totally!”

“Yeah, so did I. Now, I hardly ever see her.”

“Oh man, I can so relate! I mean, I tried to be the understanding husband about all this, but even I gotta admit, she’s… just not all there. We go to a party, and even now, after all this time, she has this… thing… that we have to leave by midnight. If we’re not home by the stroke of twelve on the dot, she just loses it. Like, what is that all about? And you know the kicker?”

“What’s that?”

“When we go to bed, every damn night, she has to wear that stupid shoe. You ever been impaled at 3AM by a glass stiletto? Serious pain. But I put up with it because, you know, I care about her. She had a rough life, no question about it. First an orphan, then that totally dysfunctional family of hers… Couldnt have been easy… but once, just once, I’d like to hear a little gratitude.”

“Dude. Please. Gratitude? If it werent for me, my wife’d be a rotting corpse in a glass coffin. Think I get even a bit of respect for saving her from that?”

“… You’re joking, right?”

“Nope. I’m the guy that had to kiss a dead chick in order to get married.”

“… Wow. I had no… Oh man, that really… wow…”

“Yeah, so now she’s up there in that stupid Princess Castle with all her little Princess buddies — ”

“Like my wife!”

“Like your wife, exactly. I mean, just what the hell are they doing, anyway? Doing their nails? Trading ball gowns? Comparing near-death experiences?”

“… Well, look, I dont want to be the one to tell you, but…”

“But what?”

“See, the way I hear it… they’re making movies up there. Lots and lots of movies. Real successful ones, too: it’s like there’s some kind of weird competition to see who can get the most sequels. And here’s the thing: those movies dont include us.”

“… What’re you saying, bud?”

“Think about it, man. Castle full of hot princess chicks and not one man in sight… and they’re making… you know… movies.”

“… No. No no no no no — ”

“Serious, man. They call it Princess Empowerment, but way I read it…”

“Okay, that’s it. Tonight I am getting royally drunk, and tomorrow I am getting royally divorced. C’mon, let’s get wasted.”

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“… What time is it?”

“Three. Maybe four.”

“Oh man… I gotta get home. Thanks for the — ”

“Dont be stupid. You’re too drunk to drive, and I aint calling a cab.”

“Wha — ”

“C’mon, you can sleep here tonight.”

“You sure?”

“Of course I’m sure! It’s a huge freaking bed, more than enough room for both of us! Now, c’mon. Which side of the bed you want?”

“I dont care. I just…”

“What? Just say it. I’m too tired and too drunk to argue over who’s getting which side of the damn — ”

“No, stop. Look, can I ask a favour? And it’s gonna sound… I dunno… weird.”

“Just ask, for crying out loud.”

“I wanna… cuddle. Cindy never wanted to cuddle. Can we just… you know… cuddle?”

“Aww… my best bud wants to cuddle!… Dude! Of course we can! Sheessh, nothing wrong with a couple of princes cuddling. Now, c’mere. Here, put your — there. How’s that.”

“Great. Thanks. I needed this.”

“We both did, dude.”

“… This just feels… nice. Cindy never wanted to do this.”

“You ask me, Cindy’s an idiot. And Snowy’s an idiot. They’re both idiots.”

“You got that right.”

“I mean, what are we, chopped liver?”

“Hell no.”

“That’s right, hell no. We are… totally charming, am I not right? No! Wait. Better! Let’s just admit it: we are both totally charming, prime grade-D Disney beef, and those bimbos should be happy to land a couple of studs like us. I mean, look at us! You work out, right? Sure feels like it.”

“Yeah. I got a gym back at my place.”

“Dude, those are some biceps. Never know it under that idiot costume.”

“Thanks. I got this great personal trainer.”

“Certainly working. Maybe someday you can show me some of those workout routines, right? I mean, we’re gonna be back in the dating scene, so better get our princely wampum in order, huh?”

“Yeah… Maybe… maybe you’d like to come over for a work out sometime, huh… Cindy hates workouts. And I hate working out by myself…”

“That’d be great, man! Sure thing!”

“Great. Thanks.”

“Okay, enough talk. G’nite, ya big lunk.”

“G’nite…”

And they lived happily ever after…

The Littlest Cooking Show

Hello, Everyone, and welcome to LET’S GET SPELLING. Today we have a very special show for you, one that we know will just be kinds of helpful around the house. You ever open the cupboard and think, I forgot to do any shopping! — and then you suddenly realize, omigod, you have company coming? Well, relax, because we can help you build that all-important spell party with just three ingredients. That’s right, only three! I know! I am just as amazed as you! But when my producer Jennifer — that’s Jennifer over there, say hi, Jennie! — came to me, I thought to myself “Shut up!”… and of course she did but I was able to unshut her and then, wonder of wonders, she told me all about ménage-à-trio spells! It’s soooo European, don’t you think! And best of all, we’ve keep it to the kind of basic ingredients you usually find stuck back there after last year’s coven party.

Now, for example, here’s a lovely little spell that will turn that annoying guest into a toad for a short while — oh, and we’ve all had one of those, haven’t we… Uh huh, you know what I’m talking about! But this is so incredibly easy! I swear, you’re not going to believe it. We take a quarter pound of butter, a quarter pound of toadstools, and 3 ounces of toad sweat, put them in a blender, set for puree — and look at that! Now is that easy?

Oh, you want to see it work? Franklin! Everybody, my stage manager Franklin. Ya feelin’ a bit froggy today, Frankie? No? Well, just take a bit of — no, Frankie, I promise it’s all right! It’s not permanent! I promise Sheila will never know what you were up to when you get home tonight. Just… there we go… and

KA-WHAM!!

ribbit ribbit

Isn’t that amazing? And only three ingredients, ladies! Oh, but I know what you’re thinking: toad sweat. Right? It’s not like everyone keeps a bottle of toad sweat lying around. Ah, but I bet that if your cupboard is like mine, you do keep a small vial of… ta-dah! — pixie dust! I mean, please, we’re talking staples here, right? So! Another quarter pound of butter — or margarine if you’re looking to keep those pounds off! Remember: summer is coming, girls! — another quarter pound of garden-fresh (the best kind!) toadstools, and just a pinch! of pixie dust. Now isn’t that lovely, just like that? But we’re not finished: into the blender, hit the puree button once more, and…

KA-WHAM!

It’s an enchant spell that brings inanimate things to life! (Someone grab that blender, okay? I don’t want it running out of the studio again!) Pour a little of this on your salt and pepper shakers — like this — and… voila! How are you little guys today? Feeling spicy? Ladies, now your guests wont have to ask for someone to pass the salt — the salt can just walk right now there by itself! Now is that handy or what? Oh, and when you’re finished, just put them in the dishwasher and you can listen to their death screams during the rinse cycle! Super fun!

All right, finally, let’s say you want a party game of some kind. Everyone’s done Pin The Tail on the Village Virgin! Am I right? Bor-ing!! Well, this one can be just all kinds of super fun — and once again, it’s only three standard ingredients! I know, this is all just so amazing! All right, get out a glass bowl and put in three tablespoons of honey, six ounces of dragon tears, and a teaspoon of pixie dust. Mix thoroughly, but use a spoon, not your finger! Uh uh! No finger tasting allowed, not for this one!

All right, take some cheesecloth and fold it like so, then like so, and lay it on top of the mixture, then gently press down, so some of it gets on the cloth. Don’t press too hard — this is very, very gentle… Now you lift it up, and look at that? Isn’t that pretty? Stunning, I tell you. Now, can I get a volunteer from the audience? Yes, you, madam, come on up here. What’s your name? Flora? — let’s all give Flora a big round of applause, shall we? Now, I’m just going to apply this to you like a sort of blindfold, like so… How’s that feel? All tingly? Good! Okay, someone get Frankie back out here?

ribbit ribbit

And we’ll just delicately remove the cheesecloth — and oh, my, will you look at that, ladies. I have seen princesses kissing frogs before because they got a lovestruck potion, but will you look at those two! Sheila honey? I hope you’re not watching!! Kidding! Just kidding! She’ll be over it in just a — no, Flora, frogs are not meant to — Jennie? I could use a hand out here, honey!

Okay, after the break, get out your wizard’s eyelashes and your golden thread and your llama spit. That’s right: it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment, IT’S SO RETRO!!

(Grab that damn blender!)

The Littlest Genesis

31. And on the Fifth Day, having created the Heavens and the Earth and finding them Good, the LORD GOD sat amidst His Animals of the Field and His Fish of the Waters and His Birds of the Air and smiled, for yeh, it was all Good.

32. And yet, GOD looked about and said unto HImself, I shall make a new creature, of the dirt of the ground and the water of the river and the air of the sky. And He fashioned this creature with His hands and said, I shall call this Man. And it was good.

33. And when the Man did open his eyes, GOD said unto him, Rise, for thy name is Adam and ye shall be the caretaker of all My domain, yeh unto all the animals and the fish and the birds. And Adam did give thanks. And GOD looked about the Garden and realized that Adam needed a helpmate, and so He knelt down and created a second creature of the dirt and the waters and the air and said, I shall call this one Steve.

34. And Steve did rise and look upon Adam, and Adam did look upon Steve, and both gave thanks to GOD. And God said unto them, Be fruitful. And thus was the morning and the evening of the Fifth Day.

35. And on the Sixth Day, God did come to the Garden and found it beautifully re-landscaped with an eye for form and design, with lilacs and rhodedendrons in abundance and periwinkle for just the right accent. And GOD found a smartly designed cabin with impeccable Mid-century furnishings and a fully equipped sauna and exercise room and a master bedroom with 2,000-count cotton-linen sheets and a kitchen whose metal countertops blindeth and madeth the LORD GOD weep with joy. And He did say unto them,

36. I am much delighted in this.

37. And they did shout Praise GOD for His goodness, and they did shew GOD other amazing things they had created in His absence, like Provençal cooking and club music and eighteen ways to tighten one’s core and black and white Italian films with everyone in chiaroscuro. And the LORD GOD was pleased, and the wine — an amusing Cabernet with a nutty aftertaste — did flow like the mightiest river, and there was much dancing until late in the night. And when the sun rose, the LORD GOD said, Thou hast done well, my good and faithful servants.

38. But there was another creature in the Garden who did not dance and who did not partake of the wine and whose core was not tight. And he looked upon Adam and Steve and was exceedingly wroth, for he knew nothing of German sportscars or double-stitch hemming, and he wept, and his eyes were green as Irish Spring soap. And the creature came unto Steve and did say, Thou hast done amazing things, and yet thou couldst do even more. For I can teach you of knowledge that which the LORD GOD has forbidden you.

37. And Steve did say, Forbidden? The LORD GOD has forbidden us nothing, creature. Away with you, and take thy silly temptation withst thee.

38. And the creature did say unto Steve, The LORD GOD has forbidden nothing? Yeh, dost thou know about football and engine repair and negotiating a business deal and lo, all the other things a Real Man shouldst know?

39. And Steve did say, Truly, I realize there are only two of us, but dost thou really think we are naught but fairy stereotypes?

40. And the creature was vexed and did say unto Steve, But hast the LORD GOD told thee of other, exceedingly important things a Real Man should know, like stripper poles?

41. Got one, sayeth Steve.

42. Tantric sexual positions?

43. Way ahead of you, sayeth Steve with a grin.

44. Men’s magazines with two-fisted articles about weasels rendering one’s flesh asunder on the Island of Bloodthirsty Warrior Women?

45. And Steve did utter a sigh and said unto the creature, Truly, get a life.

46. But —

47. And Steve did laugh and sayeth unto the creature, Hie thee, foolish creature. I will no longer listen to thee, for thou dost not know the difference between a simple Zinfandel and a proper Varietal. Thy core is soft and thou dost not know how to dance. And Steve did return unto his helpmate Adam and told him all that had transpired, and they did laugh and laugh and told GOD of this, and He did laugh as well before snapping His fingers and making the creature disappear in a puff of foul smoke suggestive of musky armpits that had not seen a shower in lo so many weeks.

48. And Adam did say unto all in the gathering, Lo, I have made something to please the LORD GOD. And GOD did marvel at this and said, This pie is enchantment! From what madeth thou it?

49. And Adam did reply, Yeh, LORD, an apple.

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If you enjoyed this, consider purchasing the first collection of “The Littles”, found here on Amazon.

The Littlest Haircut

haircut

He’d stopped on his way home to get a haircut. Some forty five minutes later, the young lady held a mirror behind as he looked into a mirror ahead and asked, “Do you like it?” And of course he did. It was a very good haircut. And she was pleased that he was pleased.

When she handed him the bill, it was only twelve dollars. All that work. For twelve dollars… of which she would earn six. That didnt seem right, so he added a twenty dollar tip. She stared at it in disbelief. “You’re not serious…”

“You did a good job,” he said as he signed the receipt and left. On the way home, he thought about the gesture. It was a good thought. Suddenly he understood.. many things. As he pulled into the long circular driveway that led to his mansion, he thought some more.

His wife met him, as she usually did, at the door, martini in hand. “You’re late,” she said, in a voice that held neither suspicion nor petulance. “I got a haircut,” he replied. She nodded and went into the kitchen to ask the cook how dinner was faring. Over a remarkably good piece of chicken, he dabbed his mouth with his napkin and said, “I think we should sell the house.”

“Why on earth would we do that?” his wife asked.

“It has, what, ten bedrooms? Eight baths? We only use one of each, so what’s the point of the rest?”

“You’re not serious…” she replied. Realizing he was, she made it clear that that night they would use two.

The next morning, he arrived at work to be greeted by his secretary and his office assistant. “Executive meeting in fifteen minutes,” he said. Fifteen minutes later, the boardroom was filled with thirty smartly dressed men and women. How much, he wondered, do they pay for their haircuts? He held up a copy of the last quarterly report. “This is not good work, ladies and gentlemen. Not good at all. As such, I’m cutting your salaries by one-third.”

There was outrage all about the room. “But I have a mortgage on our house on Long Island — !” “But my country club condo dues — !” “But I was planning on a trip to Europe, and — !” He stopped them all with a single raised hand and quietly said “Do a better job. Dismissed.”

“You’re not serious!”

He merely looked at them. Stunned, they left the room. He picked up the phone and called his wife. “I want you to meet me at this address. It’s a comfortable two bedroom house. I think you’ll like it.”

She sighed. “But I have an appointment at the beautician’s.”

“No,” he said with a tiny smile. “I think you should go get a haircut.”

The Littlest M&M

lilmnm

“Save me the blue ones.”

I smiled as I looked up from the small bag of candy. “Just the blue ones?”

He nodded, with a wide grin. “Just the blue ones. ‘Cause they’re, like, so seriously sexy.”

“Blue M&Ms are sexy…” I said doubtfully.

“Sure. Watch.” He reached over and took one from the bag, then gently placed it between my teeth, with a softly warning finger. “Dont bite. Not yet.” Then he kissed me, his tongue meeting mine as they danced and chased each other around the sweet little piece of chocolate. Then, suddenly he inhaled, plucking it from my grasp. He sat back, grinning, the blue candy now trapped between his beautifully white teeth, his equally blue eyes daring me to take it back.

The Littlest Fairy Tale

lilfairy

… and so the king and queen (and of course the princess) forged ahead with plans for the Royal Wedding, and yet there was sadness in the eyes of Prince Adam.

“What bothers you so, my son?” asked the king.

“The wolf who was my advisor, who guided me to you, has disappeared, and I want him at our marriage.”

“Then you must find him,” the king replied. “I will tell my daughter she must wait for your return. Come back with your wolf, and then you two shall be wed.”

So the next morning, the determined prince mounted his horse and set out in search of his friend the wolf. Finally, three days later, at the farthest extreme of the forest, he found the beast, sitting in a clearing and looking forlorn. “Ah, my liege, greetings to you.”

“Oh dearest wolf,” Prince Adam cried out joyously, “you must return with me to the castle, for I am to be wed, and I want you by my side. If it was because of you that I found the silver bird and the golden horse and freed the princess with the heart of diamonds!”

“I cannot,” replied the wolf.

“But why?” asked the prince. “You have been the only one true and faithful to me throughout this entire journey!”

“And you as well,” replied the wolf sadly. “But you are to be married, and I doubt your future in-laws, let alone your wife, would approve of my being at the castle.”

“I dont care!,” shouted the prince, as great tears fell from his eyes. “You are my friend!”

“My prince,” the wolf asked slowly, “do you even want to be married?”

The prince sat on the grass and sighed. “I dont know. The princess is lovely and gracious, and her parents are good and noble, but — ”

“But?”

“But… perhaps we should not talk about it.”

“Of course. But before you leave, I must ask you to honour your promise.”

Prince Adam stared at the wolf in sudden horror. “No! Please do not ask me to do this!”

“You must, my liege. You agreed that, in exchange for my wisdom and knowledge in helping you save the princess, you would cut off my head and release me from the witch’s spell. And now the time has come for you to do this.”

The prince tried every argument he could think of, but none would change the wolf’s mind. So, sadly, Prince Adam took out his sword and, with a mighty whack, separated the wolf’s head from its body…

… when suddenly there was a flash of light and a crack of thunder that made the prince look away. When he turned back, he saw that the lifeless body of the wolf was gone, and in its stead stood a handsome prince, one so handsome he took Prince Adam’s very breath away. “Thank you, Prince Adam,” said the prince with a dazzling smile of joy. “I am Prince Stephen, brother of Princess Eva whom you rescued. You have freed me, and I mmmppphh!” Prince Stephen was unable to continue because Prince Adam had rushed to embrace him and kiss him soundly on the lips.

“I dont want to marry any princess, not even your sister,” Prince Adam shouted happily. “I have found my love in my dearest friend, and it is you and I who shall wed!”

So the two princes returned to the castle, where the king and queen were ecstatic to see their son’s return after so many years. The king happily gave his blessing to their union, and — with the exception of the princess, who returned to her rooms in a snit — they lived happily ever after…

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If you enjoyed this, consider purchasing the first collection of “The Littles”, found here on Amazon.