Evolution

Adam said to Lucy, “This just won’t do, you know. I’m going to need a better story.”

Lucy looked at Adam with big, sad eyes. She said nothing.

Adam continued, “You’re very sweet, but you’re an Australopithecus. I can’t have people believing that you created me. They’ll always think of me as an ape. If I want to be more than that, I need to be free of my past.” Lucy groomed herself; she ate a mite. Adam said, “Look, I’ll always be grateful to you, but don’t tell anyone you know me, okay?”

Adam sat down and wrote a story. He created a Creator, and a garden, and he saw that it was good. He wrote for six days, and on the seventh day he rested. He had written the story of himself, and now he could be whoever he wanted to be.  

Adam was a man like any other man; he fell hard for the first naked woman he saw. Eve and Adam had three boys. Abel was their favorite, so it was easy for him to persuade his parents to send him to Europe for his education. He took his brother, Seth, with him, and when Seth was killed in an anti-immigrant riot Abel raised his brother’s children.

Cain was hell-bent on proving he wasn’t Abel, so he lit out for Asia. There, Cain could be whoever he wanted to be. For the first time, he wasn’t just Adam’s son or Abel’s nerdy brother. He changed his name to “Kublai” because he thought that sounded cooler than “Cain.” He dressed in robes and grew a hipster topknot and beard. He made friends. Life was good.

Cain/Kublai married Awan, who bore him a son, Enoch. One day, when Enoch had grown into a young man, he approached his father. “Dad,” he said, “Asia is cool and all, but I gotta go some place where I’m not just your son. I gotta be me.” Enoch kissed his parents goodbye and tramped northward. He walked through Siberia to Alaska before turning south. When he found good weather he set up camp, changed his name to Old Crow, and began writing the story of himself. Old Crow wrote that Earth Maker and Coyote sang together to create the world, and that Coyote endowed Old Crow with his cunning and wit. In this way did Enoch/Old Crow make himself a great man and escape the shadow of Kublai.

Abel raised Seth’s kids. There were so many people in Europe by this time that they needed last names to tell each other apart. Seth’s kids were given the name “Abelson,” after their uncle. One day, the eldest, Enos, shouted at Abel, “I have absolutely fucking had it with this place! All day long it’s ‘Enos Abelson will make his family proud.’ ‘Is Enos Abelson going into his family’s cattle business?’ ‘Enos Abelson looks just like his siblings and his uncle!’ No one in this burg knows the real me! Even I don’t know the real me! I have to get out.”

Enos Abelson hired out on a galleon and sailed to New York, where immigration officials changed his name to Eddie Abelson. He and his wife, Martha (née Orlovsky), became citizens, opened a dry goods store, and started a family. They became civic boosters, proudly displaying the flag of their adoptive homeland on every national holiday. Their lives were good.

Eddie and Martha’s oldest son was Abraham. One day, Abraham said to his wife, Sarah, “Why are we starving and freezing in New York when we could be starving and warm in California?” They rented a car and drove to Los Angeles, where Abraham and Sarah Abelson became Arthur and Sasha Green. (They picked “Green” out of a phone book.) The family prospered. Artie Green became chief counsel at Paramount Pictures. He and Sasha entertained entertainers. Life was good.

One day, the Greens’ middle son said to them, “Mom, Dad, I’m feeling the need to strike out on my own. I want to find my destiny and my identity. Don’t worry, though. With social media now a thing, I can go anywhere in the world without leaving home. I can talk to anyone I want. I can be anyone I want. All I need is a user name. What do you think of ‘Sweyn?’”

Sweyn logged on. He said to Lucy0088, “This just won’t do, you know. You’re going to need a better story.”

Lucy0088 looked at Sweyn with big, sad eyes. She said nothing.

Sweyn continued, “You’re a bot. Those big, sad eyes never blink. They aren’t even your eyes. I wish I could find someone out there who was real, you know? Someone who didn’t pretend to be something they’re not.” Sweyn wanted to believe in such a place, so he sat down and wrote the story of himself. In his story there was a garden to the East where everyone was genuine, and everything was just as it seemed. The garden was named “Olduvai Gorge.” And Sweyn looked upon the garden, and he saw that it was good.

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