"Ouch! Ampun! "

En route to overseeing workers who have recommenced erection of an aviary (linking Vina's bedroom to The Lab), Doctor Windmollen arrests his daughter's bug-bash.

"Doesn't hurt; I'm quick," she vouchsafes...

...demonstrate; he prevents her by positioning his hand above a target she selects, his having knelt in front to offer sound advice.

Vina, sensing 'lecture,' speaks up first.

"Ever notice death can come like THAT?" she snaps her fingers, looking Poppie in the eye as if to ascertain his mood. Is he upset with her for pulverizing half a dozen insects? The foundation, which they occupy, smothered countless more when poured, interring thousands that got stuck in the outspread flood of wet cement, their exoskeletons fixed like hapless tar-pit fossils.

Pausing to decipher Vina's cryptic observation, Doctor W is reminded of his dear, departed wife, whose exit happened with a comparable abruptness. Could their daughter be remembering? Reenacting? Lashing out? A mother's loss, a spouse's absence, scars ones psyche.

"When we kill on purpose, good and bad must be considered."

"Oh? And when we kill by accident?"

Poppie ponders, knits his brow.

"Then, too; you're absolutely right. The realm of morals is pervasive. Every human being of conscience needs to grapple with its codes. The ones most common are provided by religion, law, society; every group attempts to help its diverse members get along. And though they vary in specifics, general views find wide acceptance. First and foremost is the premise that pronounces Man supreme - no matter whom or what has granted such authority."

Vina has been listening with an urge to interrupt. She is indifferent toward the right or wrong of what she does. Morality smacks of silly superstition; she prefers to face the facts. Engaging good and evil sidetracks active minds from paths of research. What is good is what succeeds; what fails is bad; the proof? Results. Imposing moral judgments smacks of Faith-based claptrap.

"The thing I really want to know is, how come death's so final? When I bang these bugs, that's it; they don't exist. Except as goop. If they were big enough to do the same to me, would I be kaka?"

"'Kaka'?"

"Blood and guts and poop and stuff."

"I do believe you would. Does that distress you, Vina?"

"Sometimes."

"How?"

"I think it's unacceptable. I'm a genius; that's an ant."

     BANG!      

- she resumes her lethal sport.

Her father checks his patented laugh, "You missed my point."

*

*