Black and White

“Rise in adulthood aggression and medieval pre-twenty-third century Earthen ideals.”

“Thought we coded them out?”

My research partner and I watched the latest group of toddlers through the window.

A parent entered, giving their child a new battalion spacecraft toy in place of its baby doll.

“You’ll be stronger than the last,” the parent said, leaving the room, “I’ll make sure your toys won’t hold you back.”

I looked at my research partner.

“It’s not really that black and white, is it?”

“We’re innately drawn to gentle things, until-”

Parent and child passed us in the hall.


This piece is inspired by this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt:

February 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads.

Our oldest started school for the first time this week, our middle is now in kinder (preschool) and our youngest will follow close behind next year, so I’ve been thinking a lot about children.

Our youngest, who is a gentle soul, no matter what society expects, is most often drawn to flowing and pretty things, because, which child wouldn’t like the sparkly crown or the twirly skirt or the pretty butterfly perched on a flower? It’s human nature to, because we are coded to search for water, and water sparkles in the sun. We’re coded to avoid dangerous situations, to want to create peace, to survive, to thrive, and to see others in our community do so too.

We were also coded to use aggression in life threatening situations and that’s where the line gets blurred.

What is a life threatening situation? One where someone has a gun to our head or knife to our throat? When the other driver almost runs us off the road? One where we’re scared of losing control, or where we might feel like we have no control? When we’re scared to lose someone? Or when we don’t understand why things are changing? Or why other things are different in the first place?

Aggression is more readily used when a person feels they’ve lost control over a situation, when there’s a lack of understanding or lack of support through these new changes, but also, when there’s that underlying encouragement telling us that being an innately gentle human is valued less than being in control. Where does that encouragement come from?