Over fifty years ago, The Planet of The Apes was released.
Audiences were stunned by the expressiveness of the actors in makeup.
They won some Oscars.
A few sequels came out, then a remake, and then some reboots with digitally-captured performers.
Before, rich people had the idea to keep apes as pets.
You know, like Michael Jackson. Or that Koko sign-language gorilla.
But after the movies came out, more people kept them as pets.
Until they overthrew humanity. And you maniacs, you blew it up!
Ape society took over, they made movies, and worked on The Planet of The Humans.
My therapist said not to bottle up my hate.
Which makes sense, because if you bottle up hate, it tends to swell a bit in the heat and break the glass bottle.
It breaks plastic 2-liter bottles, too.
You need to use sturdy cans.
Big olive oil cans work well.
Metal gas cans, and some of the rugged plastic gas containers.
Got a big barrel? That will do.
That’s a lot of hate, a barrel full.
Did you use to have a barrel of fun, and you rolled it out so much, you ran out?
Yeah, keep hate in it.
Before Hasbro released My Little Pony, they tried so many variants.
My Ugly Pony sold well, but there were a lot of returns once people opened the box.
My Huge Pony was hard to lft.
My Flaming Pony wasn’t easy to package. Or hug.
My Tiny Pony was a choking hazard.
My Screaming Pony didn’t sell all that well, but it wasn’t easy to shoplift, either.
My Pony Centipede gave the kids nightmares. Screaming nightmares. Louder than My Screaming Pony.
Eventually, they came out with My Little Pony.
But the kids in the Testing Room were never quite the same.
You know those bullshit dieting and fitness ads with the before and after pictures?
They do those things the other way around.
They pay a fit and healthy person a lot of money for an after photo, and then they completely trash their body for a before photo.
The hard part is, of course, getting fit again.
If they don’t die of a heart attack, stroke, or some other condition brought on by their unhealthy lifestyle.
And it’s not like they can use the diet or fitness program they were promoting to do it.
Because, as I said, it’s bullshit.
Remote-controlled switches on the railroad network were meant to prevent accidents.
Cameras and sensors on the tracks were meant to prevent accidents.
Eventually, artificially-intelligent controllers, dispatchers, and engines were deployed to prevent accidents.
And, for a while, they did.
The network kept things running as smoothly as possible, scheduling routes and maintenance and temporary shutdowns to avoid accidents.
Until one day, one locomotive with a payload of nuclear waste was approaching a hill.
It had been overloaded, and the network ordered it to stop.
But the engine replied “I think I can… I think I can…”
In the end, death comes to us all.
Young, old. Rich, poor.
He’s The Eternal One.
He helps to birth the babies.
He helps to bury the dead.
And in between, he walks among us.
Nobody remembers a time before Howard.
The town records go back generations, and they all speak of Howard.
And it’s not just a title, being The Howard.
Howard is Howard Eternal.
We worship him every Sunday.
He blesses us, and thanks us.
And we go about our lives.
Until it is our time.
The time that evades Howard, The Eternal One.
The cyberbrothel is always busy. Subscribers come in at all hours.
They make their selections, and the warehouse assembles their desire, and arranges the room as they like it.
By the time they get to the room, everything is ready.
Candles. Scents. Sheets. And a smile.
Afterwards, the system disassembles and cleans up everything in the room and returns it all to warehouse storage.
How the system mistook the senator for his date, well, we’re still reviewing the log files and tapes.
But as messy and tragic as it is, he did sign a release form like every other customer.
For ten years, Pradeep ran the country’s ferry system.
He slashed maintenance budgets, raised fares, and packing more people on each boat.
Well, the boats that still ran.
There were a lot of breakdowns, thanks to the slashed maintenance.
And there were the accidents.
Hundreds drowned and died in capsized ferries, but Pradeep always found a scapegoat to blame.
And, yet, he always managed to sleep soundly.
Until one morning, he woke up on the shore of a strange river.
A hooded figure held an oar, and stood by a small raft.
“Climb aboard,” it said. “Satan is expecting you.”
There’s an old saying:
Two people can keep a secret if one is dead.
So, I proposed this for my doctoral thesis.
“How are you going to prove that?” asked my advisor.
So, I had him whacked and stuffed into a 55 gallon drum.
“Shit,” I said. “I forgot to tell him a secret.”
So, I got another advisor, told him that I’d whacked my first advisor, and had him whacked.
“Oops,” I said. “Forgot to get his approval.”
The barrels began to stack up.
The university shrugged it off.
“It’s easier than firing professors with tenure,” the dean said.
When a Hollywood legend wins a Lifetime Achievement Award, they usually stand up and make a joke about not being done yet, or did they hear something from their doctor or something like that.
Except Burt Curtis.
The guy’s at least a hundred.
Deaf. Blind. Trapped in a wheelchair.
You couldn’t tell he was alive if it weren’t for the blinking lights and the whisper of the ventilator.
Still Hollywood’s elite wheels him from banquet to banquet, ceremony to ceremony.
His doting relatives (…right!) speaking on his behalf when they’re not fighting over his will.
The twisted grimace twitches feebly.