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On Crafts and Flappadoodle

By S. Jayant


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There is a tiny ragged perforation in the armor through which a wisp

of yellow smoke enters the hull of the fighting craft. He looks absently

at it and thinks of his home kitchen, his wailing wife and young son,

abandoned in the name of duty. The war must be won.

The craft rumbles on. He systematically checks the rear gun;

sights the barrel at a grove of trees. Behind him, the spools

of tape that will later record his in-combat performance

flap idly. Flappadoodle.

A large shell hits the craft. It disintegrates, leaving no survivors.

Another craft arrives on the scene and surveys the fragments

with curiosity. This particular craft is sentient, of a

later series, with no human occupants.

A large shell hits this craft too. There are no survivors

again, this time because there were no occupants.

Ah, but when will this war end ? When will all such crafts

cease their relentless engagement of the enemy in this senseless

dispute over the prices of tape spools and craft fuel ?


I saw a dead craft in my backyard last night; a shattered

example of the craftsman's art. It lay still, its green body

inert, unmoving; its silken thighs untouched by the hands

of crewmen. I closed my window and waited for dawn.


I walked up to the craft. Its silken thighs gleamed dully

in the morning sun. Thirty-millimeter cannon shell casings

lay scattered about.

I picked up one shell and sniffed. It smelled of lost dreams

and lost love, clad in a brass jacket. Unexploded and impotent

passion unrealised. The craft gazed at me with unseeing dead

eyes. I peered at the builders' plate and marvelled at the

calligraphy and ornate metalwork. Crafted at the Kroft & Tinker

Works by some nameless craftsman. His dead hand was the last

to have skimmed over the silken thighs of this craft, not quite

touching the surface.

Birds fluttered abruptly out of my backyard orange tree. A flotilla

of crafts flew overhead, businesslike. Their synthetic leather

wings beat with the regularity of cold purpose. Another enemy

sighted somewhere; no end to war.

I picked up my garden shovel and threw damp black earth over the

dead craft. Its silken thighs disappeared early; one empty eye

gazed at me until the end even as scattered shells glinted.

The craft was buried soon; I mopped my brow and proceeded into

my kitchen for a cool glass of orange juice as other crafts roared

overhead. I remembered that time past; an era in in which crafts had

actually carried human crews, including real rear-gunners; along

with a large number of spools, their loose tape-ends flapping wildly.






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