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Somewhere on a Flattened Earth
    by David Lubar

Somewhere on a Flattened Earth
Artwork by Lance Card

I thought everyone knew the Earth was flat. But today, in my new school, Mrs. Amstrew talked about how the Earth was round. Seriously. At first, I thought it was some kind of joke. But I snuck some glances at the other kids, and nobody was laughing. After a while, I realize Mrs. Amstrew thought it was a fact, and not some kind of crazy story.

I wanted to raise my hand and tell her she was wrong. Mom and Dad had taught me all about it. The Earth is flat, of course. You can fall off the edge if you're not careful. That's not a big problem right now, since we don't live near the edge. Dad wouldn't make us move some place dangerous, even though we move a lot. But maybe, when I'm older, I might travel. If I ever get close to the edge, I'll be real careful, because there are dragons waiting to eat you if you fall.

After school, I ran right home and told Mom what had happened in class. I could tell she wasn't happy about this. "You can't fight ignorance," she said. "Just be a good boy and listen to their lies. Don't let them discover that you know the truth. If they found out, you'd be in danger. We all would."

"Yes, Mom," I said. "I'll never let them know. I'll never put us in danger."

"They'll tell you other false things, too," she said. "That's how they control people - with lies and misinformation. But you're smart enough to see the truth."

She was right about the lies. A week later, we saw a film that showed baby mice being born. It was a fake. I know that for a fact, because Mom and Dad had already explained how baby animals appear. Mice come from old bits of wheat that are sitting on the floor of a barn near sweaty pieces of cloth. That's why it's important for me to pick up my clothes. Each animal appears in a different way. That's a fact. But it's all spontaneous.

As ridiculous as the mouse thing was, it didn't come close to being the stupidest thing they taught us. There doesn't seem to be any end to the nonsense. Yesterday, my teacher told us about atoms. Boy, talk about a wild imagination. According to her, these atoms are so small you can't see them. And you can't cut one in half without making a big explosion. Even funnier, my teacher told the class that everything is made of these atoms. There are supposed to be hundreds of different kinds of them.

No way. The world is a lot simpler than that. Everything is made of earth and air and fire and water. Just different amounts. Nice and simple. Mom and Dad taught me that years ago. I think it was one of the very first things I learned.

This morning was the dumbest lesson ever. It took all my will power to keep from laughing at my teacher and walking out of the room. Or shouting. I wanted to yell at her and tell her how stupid she was, and how wrong. She said nobody has the right to hit a kid. She said it twice, and then wrote it on the board.

That's not what Mom and Dad taught me. I know better. I know the truth. But I'll make sure my teacher never finds out. I don't want to get in trouble.

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