Flash Fiction: the Age of Discovery

In a world similar in size to our own with a biodiversity quite as diverse as ours, there lived on an isolated continent a race of blue-green skinned people with large heads and slanted eyes.
The men shaved their heads but kept their black beards long, while the women wore their curly long hair wrapped up in buns except on special occasions.

On this day, they wore it down or in braids, wrapped up in horns they’d sawed off of unsuspecting albino reindeer, with red orchids sprinkled between the strands.

The grand ship Royale was setting sail to look for a shorter route to the nearest known land: the North West Islands of Eel-Hunt.
Eel meat was a luxury and the royal family, after sponsoring a scientific investigation that theoretically proved the world was indeed round, now wanted eel meat available on demand.
But to get anywhere near the islands, sailors had to pass through the Tides of Sirens where only one out of four ships survived.
It was rumored that naked sea-women crept onto the decks after singing them to sleep and then feasted on their hearts- but that is a story for another day.

The royal drum orchestra played while the royal choir chanted a blessing.
The sun was 15 degrees up in the east and a slight breeze flapped the ship’s sails from the west.
The king and queen rose glasses of champagne they had confiscated from an alien ship that had landed 50 years prior.
The heavy anchor was lifted and a prince’s slave untied the ropes from the pier in his name.

Six years passed and the only word of the brave sailors came from a letter in a bottle that said half the men had died of a stomach ailment and three others were eaten by the mighty 12-tentacle squid which until then had been considered to be extinct.
So in a way it was good news.
Still, no land in sight.

Finally one sunny day a crew of five came back in a modest motorized row boat.
The captain?
He had stayed on a newly discovered continent planting delicious crescent-shaped fruits that grew inside yellow peels.
He had decided to call them “capitanas” in honor of himself.
The crew of five sailors unloaded a crate of the exotic fruit and offered it to their new king.
The previous king had retired whence his son came of age.

“But the rest of the crew…” queried the young king, “Fare they well?”

“Arrrr, fare they excellent, our lord, for they have all started capitana plantations and here! They send thee applications for tax exemptions.”

“But if they all share my new land… who does the labor?”

“Arrrr, that is another detail, your majesty,” explained the tired sailors as they took out their smartphones and showed the king their social media accounts.
Images of blonde, pinkish freckled men, women and children drenched in sweat, picking different fruits from trees appeared all over the connectnet.

“What is that magic rectangle and where is mine own?”

The sailors explained that in the land of Capitana these devices were everywhere, handed out freely by the government to everyone who had an Oogle account.

“But where is mine?” asked the young king, becoming more green than blue as he lost patience.

By now a large crowd had gathered around the rowboat and they were all tasting the capitanas they had unloaded from a second crate.

“And what is this nonsense about another government? Why has the captain not declared war?”

“We were ill-prepared for war, oh highest mate, and you must be informed, they have fifty dozen trained squids, just like the ones that ate our first-mate, chef and doctor.”

A prolonged silence.

“You did get our letter, did you not? We sent it in a brown bottle.”

The king reacted from his trance.
“Fifty dozen?!? We haven’t a chance!” exclaimed the king.
“Father, what do you suggest we do?”

The retired king had a stack of capitana peels on the sand next to him.
“Don’t look at me. I just live here.”

“I’ll have no choice but to submit,” mumbled the king, bowing his head.

“Never!” exclaimed his fiancee, kicking the stack of capitana peels into a crashing wave.
“We will train our own squids! 100 dozen! We will not bow down to their oppression! We will show them we will not put up with this and teach them a lesson on civilized freedom and equality!”

One of her slaves stood up and clapped.

The king kissed her.

Ten years later, the blue-green people of Blue-Greenlandia were ready to attack the tranquil inhabitants of Capitana-land.
The war was short.
They easily overpowered them and turned every last one of them into a slave, from the pink freckled toddler to the pale beige old man.
There were exotic fruit plantations all over the new continent.
The young king and his wife were content.
The kingdom now had enough money to finance sustainable eel farms.
They even offered free college tuition to all of their blue-green citizens.
The king was at the top of his game, his legacy certain to survive him.

In time, the original sail crew that had discovered Capitana-land gradually died out.
Their heirs re-applied for tax exemptions.
The queen was not pleased.
“Who do they think they are?
Are we to feed them for all time?”

The tax exemptions were denied.
This provoked a revolt in that distant land, but that, friends, is a story for another day.

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