A Modern Version

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Were too busy deciding who would be king…
To even TRY to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
And he’s just sitting there, all yolk and shell, waiting…

A Prudent Quarantine

Five Members sat in council. There are some activities, some patterns of human group behavior, that transcend era and culture, and meeting in council is one of them. In spite of the youth of the participants – they were in their late teens and early 20’s – and the informality of the setting – leather couches covered in scratch marks, unfinished walls – they still clearly were sitting in council. The seriousness with which they were watching the video, their intentional and controlled posturing and nuanced glances, would have been instantly recognizable to any Parliament or Diet throughout history.

A Respectable Octopedian

In front of Penny in line was a 7 foot tall humanoid with glowing blue skin. She suppressed the urge to ask what species they were, and let the alien order their vegan breakfast burrito. The barista at United Planets’ first-floor Starbucks looked human except for the extra hands. Polycherian, Penny remembered. When the barista handed Penny her order – an egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel – Penny bowed respectfully and said pflintsu – Polycherian for “thank you” – before getting on the elevator.

Just Jump

Kayleigh needed a break from work. When you need a break from work, sometimes you go to the bathroom. Sometimes you stop by the coffee machine, chat with a colleague while it brews. And sometimes, you straight-up leave the office and walk to a nearby bar. Today, Kayleigh found herself taking that last option. She didn’t normally do this — she felt that, as the boss, she had to hold herself to a higher standard than anyone else, and drinking before the end of the workday was against policy.

The Letter from the Trees

ENVELOPE HEADER: Date: January 5, 2027 To: Rachel Friedman, President of the United States and Leader of the Free World From: The Roots of the Great Trees of Galaxy-Wide Civilization Subject: An Offer, an Apology, and an Explanation The Offer In the name of the One Almighty God: in the name of the Many Stars through which God is made manifest, in the name of the manifestation of God you call the Sun, and in the name of Original Star from Before Time, we offer you peace, not of a lack of conflict, but of a mutual growth.

Extra Version

There’s a lot of books and articles out there about how to interact with, or be, an introvert. Society really looks down on introverts, we hear, and even when it doesn’t, it certainly isn’t designed to be navigated by introverts. They’re a very misunderstood bunch, but they have a lot to contribute. Here’s how you can properly cherish them, etc. etc. Katelin couldn’t relate to any of this at all. Society not designed for introverts — bullshit!

Putting On Airs

Julia liked Eric. She wasn’t in love with Eric, she didn’t fantasize about marrying him or idly think about what their children would be like, but she liked him, an appropriate amount for having met him only two times. Internet dating was strange to her, and she knew that dating took work. And besides, it was a good sign she was mature enough to not feel those goofier feelings yet. She would instead be, appropriately, cautiously yet earnestly excited.

Soulfully

When Rajnish had agreed to mentor an intern, he was not expecting such a young girl. He was a little bit reassured when he was told how well Erica had done in college, that she was a “genius” — a dubious word, he would’ve preferred a “hard worker” or a “promising candidate” — but how could anyone deserve to be a junior in college at 17? She must be tricking everyone.

Angels

The intern was nervous as she approached her boss, manila folder in hand. “Congresswoman Fischer,” she said, “I’m not sure I was actually supposed to see this document — I think it might be classified — but you did say you wanted me to look for examples of wasteful spending that might make for good PR…” Congresswoman Fischer waved the explanation away and then reached her hand out for the document.

Are you sure?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the local clergy, and the town council had been planning this concept for over a year. Finally they did it: Right in the town square, they installed a giant loudspeaker. From thenceforth, every two minutes, a booming voice would spread all over town, announcing “Are you sure?” Foolhardy decisions, they had decreed, would soon be a thing of the past. The locals seemed to adapt pretty readily.