CREATION BY COMMITTEE
CREATION BY COMMITTEE
The committee is to design part of the universe. They can imagine something, anything into reality, a space, a face, a world. This day, Gordon, Etta, William, James and Phyllis met following a four day holiday. Phyllis, obviously in a bad mood, asks grumpily, “Why did we decide on seven days as a week?”
“Phyllis we have been over that again and again. It’s settled, don’t go there again,” Gordon replied.
“OK, but I’m still not sure about that. I saved a vacation day to make this a four day holiday. I think we should just make all holidays that fall on a Friday or Monday a four day weekend holiday.”
The committee consisted of five on this day. Of course that number could come and go depending on the day or month or year but this committee had been pretty stable for a while.
Gordon, with a tendency to take charge says, “OK where were we last Thursday?” He turned to Etta “Weren’t we talking about gravity? What do your minutes say?”
“Yes we were talking about gravity,” and Etta read from her notes. ’How else are we going to keep people from flying off this orb we have designed?’
Phyllis sat up straight and said, “Thursday? Did everyone take Friday off?”
“Yes Phyllis, we all took a four day weekend,” said Gordon.
“Did you take vacation time? I had to use one of my vacation days.”
“Yes we all took vacation time. Can we get back to today’s agenda?”
William, who had been grimacing over Phyllis’ inane questions said “Can’t we get to and stay with the work we need to get done today?” William is not very creative but he stays alert and keeps up and does his job.
James, a creative thinker, began to talk about centrifugal force, “That would hold people onto the planet.”
“Hummmm, we would have to adjust very carefully so that they weren’t using all their strength to stand or move forward and just cling to something to stay on,” said William.
“Uuuuh, I think that would throw them out into space” said Gordon looking incredulous at the suggestion.
“Yes,” said Etta, “who has the ability to calibrate that?” Etta is very efficient and one of two members who take notes and keeps track of each meeting.
“George has the ability and a good staff to do those calculations for us,” said Gordon.
Once again Phyllis speaks up and says, “I want to settle what we are going to do about breeding plants. We started to talk about that a week, no, two weeks ago and got interrupted by a need to talk about the Sun. the Sun, the Sun, you’d think it was the most important thing in the plan. We just drop everything to work on the Sun when someone complains or sends a message to the committee that they need more information on the Sun.”
“Phyllis, the sun is just about the most important thing in the plan. You really need to get that through your -----Uh, you really need to understand that,” William answered.
Phyllis was hurt, she is often reminded that she is a little slow and it hurts all over again when someone gets frustrated with her.
Etta says, “That plant business is unfinished; perhaps we should give it some thought.”
James says, “I did give that some thought after our truncated session. We had discussed the impossibility of people having the strength or energy or even interest in mating the male and female flowers that we designed to multiply plants. If you remember, it took us weeks to come up with a plan for plants to proliferate but no idea how to get the male and female flowers joined. So! I came up with the possible solution of a third party.”
“You mean like a ménage a trois?” squeeks Phyllis.
“Insects!!!” crows James proudly with a big smile.
“What is an insect?” asks William.
“How about a flying being, a small being to fly from flower to flower carrying semen from the male plants to the female plants?”
“A little person with wings to do nothing but mate plants?”
“No,no, an animal. A tiny thing like a miniature animal.”
“Like a tiny flying dog. He would lick the male plants then lick the female plant?”
Everyone was very quiet as they tried to visualize this process.
“Make the male plants issue taste like food that a flying insect would desire and after it ate it could spit some food on the next flower when it went there to eat,” said James.
“What if the insect went to a male flower next?” asked Etta.
William, with a huge sigh said, “Let’s go back to flowers. Review for me the make-up of flowers.”
Etta looks back through her notes, “What date was that when we worked up flowers? By the way have we gotten a mock-up back from the work shop?”
Everyone muttered something like “no” - - - “haven’t seen anything” - - - “we should check on that.”
“OK” Etta says. “We have had more than enough time to get a mock-up back. I’ll contact the work shop after we finish here,” and reading from her notes she says “The flower will be part of the plant that erupts in the spring, male and female flowers to mate and create seeds to plant the following year. How do they mate?”
The meeting was interrupted by Jason, a designer, passionate about his ideas, he is agitated and muttering something about another orb out there, right in the path where his design was supposed to go.
“It is impossible that there is another orb out there. Jason, you must be mistaken. Committee has not set up another orb,” Etta said as she stood up prepared to follow Jason so that he could show her what he had seen.
“That’s impossible; we haven’t even finished the earthy planet yet” said Gordon. “We did decide to call that orb where we are putting people a planet, right?”
“Yes” said Etta.
“Now why do we refer to that orb as earthy? Isn’t there more water than soil?” asked Phyllis.
“Yes Phyllis, you are correct but remember, we took a vote and we decided to focus on land because that is where the people will be.” Gordon often took pity on Phyllis when she became confused or misinformed.
“OK” said William. “Let’s just stop right here and get a name for this planet. If there is another orb, uh planet, out there we need to give each one a name.”
As Etta and Jason came back, Etta was obviously disturbed, but before she could speak she noticed that Gordon and William were not there. “Where did they go?” she asked.
James was explaining to Phyllis that there could not be something out there that committee had not generated.
Phyllis said, “But we are not the only committee members. Couldn’t another shift have thought it up?”
Everyone including Gordon and William, who were just returning stopped short, looking at Phyllis then to Etta.
“Of course not,” said Etta. All votes and decisions must be entered into The Record by either Donna or me and there is nothing in The Record about another orb being established.”
The committee was supposed to be made up of three to seven members who met continuously with the members rotating. Sometimes some of the members meeting now would be meeting with Helen, Richard and Donna. The mixture shifted with no schedule or plan and sometime there would be an even number and they would have to go out and find someone to break a tie vote. Had Donna failed to enter her notes into The Record? Everyone spoke at once. Some said to fetch Donna. Others said there must be some other ominous reason that there was another orb out there. Everyone turned to Etta. “Is there another orb out there?” James asked.
“Yes” Etta said softly.
Donna and James were arguing about the area they had created to accommodate the committee meetings when Gordon appeared. Gordon had been away for a few days and asked why there were only two committee members working. “Where is everybody?”
Both Donna and James ignored him as they each were accusing the other of determining the small size of their work space. “I remember vividly that you made the final decision one night when I was not even around and this space is just too small,” insisted James.
“Whatever,” Donna said as she left the space. Donna was usually pleasant and well liked but James often irritated her.
“Well now we have to go find at least one more committee member in order to get to work,” Gordon says.
James sat down dejectedly. “The more work we do, the more complicated things become. The Devil is in the details.” He and Gordon burst out laughing.
“Who was that that suggested we design a Devil?” said Gordon.
“I don’t remember. We worked on that for a few sessions but I don’t think anything came of it,” replied James.
Helen and Richard and Etta came in, so with five members they could get to work. James didn’t like to work with Helen so he was not glad to see her but knew they really needed to do more work on planet P1, the name they had decided on for the earthy planet, to get it ready for the people they were developing. They had decided what the people should look like; Richard had come up with a good description that all members had liked and Donna had designed some refining characteristics. They had decided on conception and birth to get them onto the planet but had not decided how to get them off. A committee of Gordon, William, Donna and Jason had worked with George and his staff to fine tune the mechanics of how people would function and the next step was to talk about emotions.
James looked at Gordon and mouthed, “The Devil is in the details.”
Gordon, covering his smile, said, “Let’s start with compassion.”
No one had mentioned the new planet that Jason had discovered weeks ago in quite a while. There had been intense investigation into which committee members had created it and who had failed to record it. Nothing, absolutely nothing had come of that. They had never had to face anything like this and did not know where to go next. The planet was dutifully floating alongside P1. Jason had been very proud of a carpet of particles he had designed to be strewn alongside P1 for a few thousand miles. It was to reflect the sun once they had that up and running and he thought it would be something beautiful and sparkling for the people to enjoy. It had been approved and he had repeatedly asked everyone “Don’t you think the people will enjoy it?” But now this orb was there in the way.
After weeks of dedicated meetings working out the details of P1 and its people the committee was to begin work on the sun. They had worked with George and discussed many options and procedures and were ready to finalize the creation. As Gordon was on his way to the meeting he was stunned to see a second orb floating just beyond the first orb Jason had discovered. What was that? He rushed into the meeting and had everyone come out with him. Both Donna and Etta were there. They both began to exclaim that they had not been in any meeting where an additional orb was discussed.
Everyone was dejected, puzzled. The mystery of the new orbs was very distressing and they had started work on designing the sun and were amazed at the intricacies that were going to be involved to get the temperature that would be needed. How could they keep P1 at the right distance from it to provide enough heat and light but not too much? Now they had this challenge of two orbs appearing out of nowhere. The committee that morning was made up of Etta, Gordon, William and Richard. Richard had only recently joined the committee and seemed a little disinterested. Maybe when everyone got to know him better - - - - -? George had been invited to the meeting to report on progress of calculations for the design of the sun. He said, “Before we get to the sun project, another problem has been brought to my attention. The rain from the clouds we created just washed all the plants and soil away. It all fell down in a huge gush and just washed everything away.”
“How do we get water to the plants then?” asked Richard, “smaller clouds?”
“What do you think George?” asked Gordon.
George was deep in thought when Etta said, “sprinkles,” can you get the clouds to hold the water back and just release a little at a time?”
“Sprinkles, your right, sprinkles,” said George. He made a note. “We will work on that when we get back to the lab; now, back to the sun. My staff and I have done a month of calculations and there is no way we can get the heat needed from the sun the way we have it designed. We either have to redesign the sun or the people.”
“What about the plants to sustain the people, what kind of temperature do they require?” says William.
“If we up the temperature to accommodate the people the way we have them designed the plants will just curl up and die.”
“Won’t the rain we just talked about keep the plants alive?”
“I don’t think so. Not with the temperature we need, it won’t be enough.”
“The plants will be the easiest to redesign.” “Can you get your staff to work on that?”
“I’ll need more workers. We are maxed out with the sun project.”
“Once the people and plants can manage the same temperature are we going to be able to have the sun provide that?” asked Etta.
“I think so,” George says, almost to himself, rubbing his chin with head down as he heads for the lab. “We might have to make it bigger,” he mumbles.
“Can you do that?”
“Of course,” exclaims George. “Back to the drawing board, so to speak,” as he rushes away.
Gordon says he will find more staff members for George so that work on the sun and the plants can both go forward and he leaves also.
In the meantime Donna and Jason were chatting as they watched the new orbs. “The first time you saw the first new orb was how many weeks ago?” asked Donna.
“I don’t know, several,” shrugs Jason.
“It’s much smaller than P1 isn’t it?”
“Yes but prettier.”
“In what way?”
“Well I put - - uh it has little puffy clouds scattered around it.”
“What did you say?”
“Puffy clouds, don’t you think that’s attractive?”
“Jason, what do you know about the appearance of these new orbs?”
“Nothing, I swear, nothing,” and he rushed away.
Donna went into the committee immediately to voice her opinion about who created the new orb. She reiterated her conversation with Jason. All were very silent as they stared at Donna. Could this be true? This was a serious matter. There were strict rules about creation. All had the ability but it had been decided early on that creation must be done by committee. What to do about this? Should they approach Jason with Donna’s suspicions? What if he admitted he had created them? What could they do to enforce the rules? The meeting broke up as everyone contemplated this turn of events.
It came to light that Jason had had everyone so excited about his carpet of particles that he was going to spread alongside P1 that when he could not make it work he had created the first orb to distract everyone’s attention. Then he liked it so much he created another. “Jason, we have called you here to talk about the two orbs that you have created. I am sure you are aware of the rules concerning “Creation by Committee.” Gordon spoke for the members of the committee who were all present at this meeting to confront Jason. Jason did not respond and was obviously shaken.
“We must not have this happen again. Do you have any suggestions how we can make sure this sort of thing never happens again?”
Jason said “I understand that this is a serious infraction. I got carried away and behaved foolishly. I don’t know what I was thinking. I will accept whatever punishment you prescribe.”
The committee sentenced Jason to work with George for an undetermined period of time. To leave his creativity behind and help with the calculations and engineering work of that department would not be easy for him.
Work on the sun had moved along slowly. It was so very complicated. The idea had been for it to provide the light and heat for P1 that was needed for people and plants and animals to thrive. The first test models required more heat, which required more space, which required more fuel and the work had slowed for a while as the committee worked on perfecting their people, so all committee members had come together to celebrate the sun’s completion as well as the new name for P1. Phyllis had come up with the name and was very proud when everyone really liked it and had chosen it immediately. They were about ready to add people to Earth.
The following weekend, the committee was working on a plan for populating the Earth with people. Richard, William, Helen, Phyllis and Etta were working an early morning shift when Donna suddenly came in screaming - - - -“Earth is melting, it’s on fire.”
“What!” Everyone jumped up and ran out to look. Oh horrors, one side of the Earth was black with roiling black smoke billowing up towards the little moon the committee had put in place. The side of Earth facing the sun was burning away.
“Get it out, get the fire out.” Shouted Phyllis with hands to her face and eyes closed.
Donna and Etta stood transfixed as they watched the roaring fire.
Helen ran to get George.
Richard and William quickly backed Earth away from the sun and got the fire under control.
George rushed in with Helen exclaiming, “It’s my fault. My calculations must have been off.”
A gasp from Phyllis turned all eyes back to Earth as hot molten lava began to push into the blackened crater that yawned deep into Earth. A quarter of the planet was burned away. The glowing orange lava billowed up, turning black on top as it touched air. The white hot spots melted into red flow and little tongues of flame licked up here and there as the lava oozed up and into the black crater.
Two days after the fire, all members of the committee except Richard were meeting with George who was speaking. “I had decided that the Earth should rotate in order to have light on all sides of the planet on a regular basis and to keep the temperature regulated but I had gotten so carried away with finalizing the sun design – I - -uh - - - - well, I just had not presented that to you yet. I never dreamed it would burn the Earth to a crisp so quickly.”
James asked, “George, can we repair Earth?”
“It would be almost impossible. The internal thermal heat balance is destroyed and would have to be corrected before trying to match the outer layers to what is left.”
Turning to the group James said, “So, destruction it is. Do we need to vote?”
“No” was everyone’s reply.
Turning to George, James asked, “So once we put another Earth in place you think the distance from the sun is ok, the earth just needs to constantly turn on its axis?”
“Yes and I think it would also be a good idea if the Earth rotated around the sun,” and George, warming to the subject, said, “Have the Earth tilt one way and then another at times to create colder and then warming areas.”
“Yes, I like that,” and turning to the group James asked if they needed to take a vote on that.
Everyone said no, they all liked the ideas.
“Thank you George. We will make that happen.”
When George had left, the committee members took a break and Donna did not return. Helen, normally withdrawn and hard to get to know, spoke up about the dilemma of destroying the burned Earth. “Do we just shove it out into space, way out in space?”
James spoke up, “Let’s blow her up! Let’s have a giant explosion then start from scratch.”
“We would have to make sure none of the particles blew toward the sun.”
“We can do that. Think about it, we can make anything happen just the way we want it to. Let’s do something spectacular.”
“Yea!” many agreed.
“Yes,let’s do something spectacular,” said Etta.”
The next morning the committee had called Jason into their meeting. Gordon spoke for the group. “Jason we want to blow up the burned Earth and have the particles float out into space. Some will be large, some will be small, some will be way, way out and some will be closer in but all will reflect the light of the sun to some degree and the people will be able to see that sparkling sight when their part of Earth is in darkness. Will you get with George and see if our idea will really work?”
Jason’s eyes lit up, “I will get with him immediately.”
Before you go, we want to tell you that we want to have your two planets rotate around the sun just as the new Earth will.
“You don’t want to blow them up too?”
“No, they’re sound and will reflect the sun well just as they are, and Jason, you have done an outstanding job working with George and we want to invite you back onto the committee.”
Jason was very pleased and rushed off to talk to George.
It took some time but finally the committee had the replacement Earth with its little moon rotating around the sun at the proper distance. They had moved Jason’s two orbs and had them rotating around the sun also. They had accomplished keeping the sun and those planets safe from debris when they exploded the burned Earth. The remains scattered just as they had planned so that the night sky from earth had a show of lights.
“It has been a long time coming but we are just about ready to populate Earth with people,” said Gordon.
Richard replied, “Yea those dinosaurs are amusing but we need some people out there.
“Exactly, I think the animals that are evolving now will be compatible with people.”
“Yea, I like our people. I like the emotions we came up with. l like the male and female concept. The breeding plan to make more people seems sound.”
“OK,” says Etta, “shall I make a note that we will launch people onto Earth within the month?”
“Yes, yes” all agreed.
People were thriving on Earth. The sun was a raging mass of heat and light. Animals were evolving and providing food as were plants. Committee members were very pleased with themselves. They were looking forward to the upcoming gathering of all committees. They felt sure they would win first place when awards were handed out. They were very proud of their creation and had all gathered today to determine who would accept the trophy for the group. “Just look at our work, the beauty of it,” said Jason.
“And how smoothly everything works,” exclaimed James.
“My favorites are those beautiful snow covered mountains and the golden undulating grasslands as far as the eye can see.”
“The green tropical forests are my favorite,” whispered Phyllis.
Gordon expressed his delight in the deserts of the Earth and they were all admiring the smooth blue lagoons and the crashing waves of the oceans onto rocky shores.
Gordon spoke up reminiscing about the week they had put Earth’s little moon in place. “Remember how we had to make it smaller and move it out a little to adjust the tides because the oceans were sloshing up onto the land for miles at high tide?”
“I love that our people and animals seem so content and happy,” said Helen.
William adds, “Did you notice? That group of people over there planted seeds and harvested grain for the first time, how clever of them to discover that.”
“Look at the family on that beach over there fishing. Wait! What is that?” exclaimed Phyllis.
The committee members stared in disbelief.
“What are they doing?” uttered James.
“Did we plan that for people?” Phyllis whispered.
Gordon stared at William. “What is that?”
Two men had just stabbed a third man who was trying to defend himself. Blood was streaming down his naked chest. Both attackers continued to thrust their knives into their victim until he collapsed onto the ground. He did not move. His blood seeped into the sand of the beach they were on.
Suddenly Helen shouted, “Look!”
Other men, totally nude like the attackers, long black hair flying, appeared out of the trees and ran out onto the beach towards the companions of the victim. They drove their spears into the startled men and threw the women to the ground and raped them.
“What are they doing?”
“Oh my God, what have we done?”
CREATION BY COMMITTEE - A tongue in cheek look at human behavior.