skulls

Before any of this, when lines of Time were as yet un-drawn, chronology an unimagined science (not so deep as Creation’s fundamental fog, though prior to Land’s continental notion to divide and drift), the Primogenitors dwelt. Theirs was a world whose surrounding sea churned mythically, outside the ken of all save a few who found its fringe, heard its surf, contemplated its shore with tremors of awe… then recounted. Only to be disbelieved. Theirs was an existence overwhelmed by topographic splendor, beauty so indescribable it might have been mistaken for Paradise… by those who subscribe to a pristine state free from Lucifer’s wing-flap; but Satan already had plummeted, so to speak, his vapor trail left in passing like pollution’s pall, settling, horizon to horizon, to taint the biosphere with a grim dis-order. Was it this contamination the Primogenitors confronted, their family sprouting a branch misbegotten by the Archangel’s dive?

 

Beneath a canopy dense with variations on virgin green, midst atomized dew and particles of aromatic pollen, lungs like gills filtering oxygen from air the consistency of stew, browsed (in motion aptly sluggish) a troupe of primordial apes… plodding through undergrowth lush and fecund… pausing to pluck whatever might prove palatable… nuzzling… sampling… devouring or discarding… their forage collected above layers of damp humus and ultra fertile loam with such carefree casualness as to suggest that all was well on their plateau of plenty.

Ahead, however, a second troupe similarly meandered. Similarly but not identically. Led by Juke (an adult male who had fathered the majority of his entourage), this band’s movements were slightly accelerated, coordinated, more purposeful. Eating some of what they came upon, they hid or destroyed the rest. Systematically. Beetles and slugs were mashed underfoot, berries snatched and hurled from the beaten path, while nuts and savory tubers were spirited into caches. To what end, was not apparent, until these forerunners entered a grove of sun-ripened trees whose roots they cleared of windfall by pulverizing it, tossing it afar, or once again stashing it. Then up the trunks they climbed to the choicest branches, gorging themselves before the stragglers came into view… stragglers puzzled by the lack of easy-pickings… likewise stumped by their brethren’s hostile dominance of the overhanging limbs; for, whenever ascents were attempted, they were repulsed by aggressive, ill-tempered outbursts. Unprecedented… except during drought periods, that is, when scarcity of food understandably spurred competition. Rain had been ample, however, the forest bountiful. What possessed Juke and his relatives to act in this unseemly way?

When asked, he simply glowered with an uncompromising scowl—setting off a spontaneous demonstration of abject HOWLS among the disenfranchised, not so much in protest as in disconcerted grief. Theirs was a bewilderment of sorrow (in anticipation of future inequities; no doubt iniquities), that shook even those overhead into a fit of sympathetic trembling—as if they, too, sensed the awful implications of Juke’s misbehavior.

Would that it had been merely that, a fleeting deviation from the ecological norm. But Juke’s aberration would survive his passing, somehow managing to infiltrate the Double Helix itself. Greed had been born (then reproduced), transmogrifying the very genetic code. Within two generations, Juke’s descendants would monopolize resources, exact sexual favors from their ‘underlings’ (become a recognizable subspecies), and dictate everyday access to life’s essentials. Submissive females would be mounted—after chasing off less bellicose males—thus exploitation reinforced by "natural" selection.

Life is Life. Chaos shrugged. If apes chose to evolve in separate directions, so be it. Let God, the Ego/Alter-Ego Supreme, be held accountable. Would not the apes, once reaching their finished form, be in God’s image, their dichotomy no more problematic than that of their Creator? Let Allah sweat the ramifications of creating supra natural beings—whose path led either to a peaceful coexistence or to utter extinction. Chaos was indifferent; good and evil would doubtless come out in the Universal Wash.

Thus Juke and company went forth and multiplied. As did Greed. A mutation? An adaptation? The answer, wrapped as an onion, proved untold layers thick—no end of retrospective peeling was apt to find its core. Apes, as a genotype, had split, each en route to becoming Lesser or Great.

 

And before this, when Ocean boiled like a demented brain pent-up with procreative juices, agitating elements into a frenzy of wanton clusters coupling, percolating protein from amino-acid tides, combining/re-combining, un-ruled and at random? How arrange confusion or explain the Pre-God Chaos? In the Beginning, there was no beginning. Chaos always is, always has been, and ever more shall be.

 

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