Author : Donald O’Barra

“You’re so full of shit, Barry,” said Kent.

“No, I’m serious. I was reading about gene activation. They’ve managed to wake up really old genes in lab mice. What if humans thousands of years ago all had superpowers? What if they could fly or something and we just forgot how?”

“So I take it that your X-Men box set arrived, then?” asked Kent.

“Well yes,” said Barry, “but that has nothing to do with it. Look at the pyramids. They’re huge. They didn’t have machinery back then like we do now. The only way they could have built those is if they were super strong.”

“I read that they used ramps and levers. And they had a huge manual labour force”

“How do we know?” asked Barry defensively.

“Well, we don’t. But that’s the most logical explanation.” said Kent.

“See? I read somewhere that the pyramids are even older than we think. They just didn’t have the technology to do something like that. And anyway, they would take centuries to build with ramps and levers.”

“So that’s what you’re basing this on? The pyramids?”

“Not just the pyramids! What about those Nazi lines in South America? They’re pictures that can only be seen from the air. What would be the point if we couldn’t fly?” asked a triumphant Barry.

“Nazca Lines,” corrected Kent,” and those could have been done with rope and a brain.”

“But why do it at all if nobody could see them?”

Kent thought for a while and replied, “To pay homage to their gods, I suppose.”

“That brings me to another point!” cried Barry. There were little balls of spit forming at the corners of his mouth. “What if all these legends of gods and things were just people remembering how things used to be? It’s still happening! What if Superman is just a story about a normal, prehistoric human?”

“You seriously believe that we used to be super strong and be able to fly? What sense would it make for us to get weaker?”

“Aha! I’m glad you asked. Civilisation, man. Civilisation killed us. Think about it. We were suddenly banding together so we didn’t need to be so individually strong. And and and look at the dinosaurs! They were WAY stronger than the animals that we have now.”

“And the flying? Surely that would have been useful, even in civilised culture.” Kent allowed himself a smirk. Surely Barry wouldn’t have an answer for this one. Airplanes were only invented a hundred years ago.

“Well they didn’t have the technology to build skyscrapers, right? So all their buildings were squat and small. Flying would actually be a hindrance there! Evolution, man. You can’t be reproducing if you’re floating off all the time.” There was a manic glint in Barry’s eye.

“What about hunting?” asked Kent, trying to beat Barry with his own twisted logic.

“Oh, that would be silly. The prey would see you coming if you attacked from the air. You need ground cover.” said Barry dismissively, lighting a cigarette.

“I can’t believe that my sister is marrying you.” said Kent.

“So anyway,” said Barry, shrugging off the comment, “back to activating dormant genes. If they can do it in mice, why can’t they do it in humans? Just think about it! We could all be superheroes again. I’m going to become a biologist. They’ll give me a Novel prize or something!”

“Nobel,” corrected Kent automatically. “Listen, Barry, your psychotic ramblings have been entertaining as always but I’m late for class. I’ll catch you later.” Kent walked away, his feet never touching the ground.

“Yeah, bye, man.” said Barry staring at his cigarette, a preoccupied look of deep thought on his face.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows