rare occurrence of existence.
planet whose inhabitants seem to have little more significance than
the countless other particles that drift through space.
And apart from it all, unseen, unheard, are the Overseers.
see all and hear all.
“Do these beings even deserve their
existence?” asked one Overseer to the other.
“I believe they do.”
“Why? The longer the planet has persisted, the more damaged and
dysfunctional it has become.”
“This one may be different.”
“I find that to be improbable in the highest degree.”
“Observe this example. Here is a being that I believe is of
“How is this being different than any other that came before it? It
comes from the same pathetic gene pool of other simian primates. The
end result of their activities has no real distinction from any
other aggregation of alternate species. They fight, they destroy,
and only the strongest and most selfish beings survive.”
“I believe you are wrong. I believe this particular being to be like
no other. Please observe.”
“As you wish.”
The Overseers turn their gaze to a blue radiant orb marbled in a
swirling white haze. As they move closer, the haze clears and large
green and brown formations emerge. Moving closer still, they begin
to see gray constructions protruding from the landscape. They start
to see signs of animate matter moving in perpendicular patterns
among the scattered formations of varied colors and shapes. Finally,
they turn their focus upon a small red construction not unlike
others in the surrounding vicinity.
This is the habitation of a primate of the homo sapien species; a
human who is known by the name of Rodney Neilman.
Birds . . . spiders . . . grapes . . . various faces staring right
back at him.
He has been awake for an unknown
amount of time, visualizing images in the random textured design on
his bedroom ceiling.
He considers getting out of bed,
but what would be the point? His life is pointless. No job. No
meaningful relationships. No purpose at all.
A short, pale, unsightly man,
barely over five feet high, increasing in mass and becoming
gradually more unhealthy in his twenty-some years of life. His dark,
unkempt hair and uneven beard give him a very disorderly appearance.
He has been diagnosed with
several developmental and neurological health conditions: learning
disabled, attention deficit, Tourette syndrome and possibly others
which remain undiagnosed.
He lives in the same house in
which he has always lived: A red brick home in the Midwestern
region of the North American continent, which is owned and also
inhabited by his mother.
His mother has always appeared
oblivious to his problems, but in reality, just doesn’t really care.
She has been a heavy consumer of alcohol since her husband—Rodney’s
father—left several years prior.
As promised, he left on his only
child’s 18th birthday, but did not survive a heart attack a few
Both unsupportive and neglectful,
the effects left upon Rodney by both of his parents are severe. His
father was concerned solely of the status of his career and his
mother by the need to keep an outward appearance of prosperity. Both
shallow and superficial, they were far more concerned with own
preoccupations than caring for their son’s development. To them,
Rodney was an embarrassment; a constant inconvenience to their
lifestyle. Their abuse has left him with no confidence, no
motivation, and none of the functional abilities that most are able
to acquire through a supportive upbringing.
Like many progenitors of the
species, Rodney’s father and mother did not understand that any
short term economic gains attained in lieu of attentive nurturing
are lost in the less productive future generation. That is, if they
really cared about contributing to their society at all. Rodney's
father's business trips were little more than lavish vacations to
escape from his debilitative family.
His mother and father’s own
relationship was not amorous. When he left for good, his mother
mourned the loss of the income he provided. To this day, she still
blames her son for the separation.
Emotional, as well as physical
support is critical to the development of offspring and instead,
Rodney’s entire life has been filled with nothing but lies,
arguments, disappointments, and cruelty.
Most primates know
their mother, but not their father. The most common social structure
among non-human primates is the multimale-multifemale grouping.
Although it can vary among humans, Rodney lives in a communal region
where the monogamous family group is most common. Unbeknownst to
him, however, Rodney’s father did not adhere to this practice.
“Get up!” his mother yells from
downstairs—which snaps Rodney back to reality. Always irritable, if
she isn’t drinking and ranting about her son’s life, she is hungover
and whining about her own.
“All right, I’m up!”
He slowly gets out of bed,
feeling the many pops and creaks of his small skeletal frame which
has been gradually weakened from the excessive girth surrounding it.
He wanders downstairs and passes his mother’s vast collection of dog
figurines in the living room; an entire wall of shelving dedicated
to small statuettes of various canine breeds.
Entering the kitchen, Rodney
grabs something from the freezer and throws it into the microwave.
“Is that diet food?” his mother
asks from her recliner, cigarette and newspaper in hand and a half
empty bottle of vodka within reach.
Visibly much older than she
actually is, Rodney’s mother’s long gray hair and darkened, sun
withered skin covered in a stained white night gown is a common
sight for Rodney in the mornings.
“Yeah,” he responds
Besides not being a smoker or
drinker himself, Rodney has never taken much care of his own health.
The backaches, knee aches and occasional odd chest pain meant
nothing to him. While he is not suicidal, he knows the eventual
consequences of his habits.
“We outta soft drink?” he asks
“Well, did you buy some? How can
you be so stupid?” she says as she begins to cough.
He didn’t respond for moment.
Having become all too accustomed to his dependence on her, he rarely
contributes to his own subsistence. His mother provides the majority
of his living and government checks fill in the gaps.
“I’m goin’ out today,” he says.
“It’s about time,” she replies.
“When was the last time you went anywhere, you lazy runt?”
Even he doesn’t remember.
He rarely has any reason to go out and when he does, it’s usually to
fulfill his junk food habit.
“Or when was the last time you
cleaned your room, or shaved or—”
“I said I’m going out today,
Mom,” his voice raised out of frustration.
“Good. You can get a job and a
girlfriend while you are out too.”
He mumbles an unintelligible
“Just shut up.”
He practically inhales his
breakfast and then heads to the garage. Rodney trips and stumbles on
the leg of a kitchen chair on his way out.
“Quit actin’ retarded,” his
mother says, without even bothering to look up.
After several turns of the
ignition, the engine of Rodney’s car finally begins to turn. As the
garage door opens, the blinding light of day makes Rodney shut his
The vibrant green glow of the
summer foliage against the deep blue of the morning sky is enough is
make any normal human happy and content, but not Rodney. He despises
the warm summer days. While it encouraged most to get outside for
enjoyable outdoor activities, for Rodney it simply meant more
nagging from his mother to get out of the house.
As his eyes adjust to the light,
he rolls his car out onto the street and begins making his way down
He sees his neighbor out in his
front yard as he passes by. Rodney waves, but the man pretends not
to notice. Rodney has never been very good around other people. He
tries to get along with them, but they are often too put off by his
seemly strange behaviors and appearance. The symptoms of his ADD and
Tourette syndrome are all too apparent to others, but very
imperceptible to him. This causes much confusion and difficulty when
he tries interacting with others. More often than not, he just tries
to avoid them all together. It’s much easier that way.
He continues to drive the
straight, simple two-way road along his route. His air conditioner
is turned to maximum despite it being a relatively cool day. His
radio doesn’t work and all he can hear is the loud rumble of his
aging engine. He stares blankly outward as he drives, thinking about
what he is going to do at his destination. If anything were to dart
out in front of him, he probably wouldn’t notice in time. His lack
of accidents is nothing short of a miracle.
He eventually pulls into the
supermarket parking lot. He parks his car and makes his way toward
Not paying any attention to the
moving vehicles crossing the lot, he is almost hit. The jarring
sound of car horns sends his heart pounding. Embarrassed but
unharmed, he jolts inside the building.
He grabs a shopping cart and
takes his usual route. He skims the produce section and checks the
deli counter for free samples of the snack dip on sale this week.
“Can I help you?” a woman behind
the counter asks.
He shakes his head in the
negative and quickly scoops from the open container before moving
Moving across the end of the
aisles towards the chips and snack food section, something distracts
him. It wasn’t the latest innovation in bacon and cheese technology
or any other ingenious grocery store marvel that usually catches his
eye. It was something completely different. It was something in an
aisle in which he usually ignores.
Among the magazines and romance
novels, out of the corner of his eye, he sees a bright blue flash
which lasts no more than an instant.
It stops him in his tracks.
He looks around and sees no
apparent source for the light. He walks over to where he believes
the light occurred and sees something that did appear to belong.
On the shelf, sat a single, small
black leather bond book with no title or author’s name; only a large
white > symbol on the front cover. He picks up the book and begins
Advancement of the Species