Darwin’s Plight

Posted: October 1, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , ,

Messy nests of grasses, weeds, feathers, and hair littered the ground.
Each one held three speckled eggs.
Hundreds of long-legged, white birds filled the air with a cacophony of squawks and whistles.
Still, the men could be heard.
“The Misses would love some of them plumes for her hat.”
“My son would enjoy bathing in a tub made from the shell of that enormous tortoise.”
“By God, we could shoot thousands of these beasts and never kill them all.”
Off to the side one man sat, notepad in hand, hurriedly recording all he saw.
“Darwin, come quick. Bring your rifle!”

Not for a minute do I believe Darwin would have traveled with a group of men like this. But what if he did? Who would have won the battle between men with guns and men with deep curiosity?

  1. Sorchia D says:

    I live in a part of the world where the most common reaction to a beautiful or unique creature is “Let’s shoot it.” Poor Darwin. Interesting use of the prompt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ypu really went deep with this one. Very thoughtful.


  3. plaridel says:

    to answer your question at the end, sadly, the men with guns hands down.


  4. I wish that Darwin had shot some of the men… survival of the fittest and all that. Harumph.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Perfect story! I imagine Darwin had lots of trouble with the men travelling with him at that time, you got it right.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandra says:

    A piece with a message – sadly all too realistic. Great take on the prompt.


  7. Dear Alicia,

    And then we wonder why some species are endangered. Well done.




  8. Dear Alicia,

    This was stellar writing. Darwin lived among these people and they’re still out there doing their grim work. I really enjoyed this piece. It reminded me in a way of For a Coming Extinction by W.S. Merwin. Very well done.



    Liked by 2 people

  9. draliman says:

    Great story! I get the impression that Darwin is hurriedly noting everything down because in a few minutes all the creatures will be shot dead.


  10. Caerlynn Nash says:

    I sure hope Darwin didn’t travel with people like this. Very original story idea. Well done.


  11. I think that the drawback of being more resourceful than curios.. sometimes it doesn’t even require guns.. sticks can be enough..


  12. wmqcolby says:

    You contrasted the two views very well. Charles Darwin might very well have traveled with these guys. Times were what they were and that’s all they were. Good take on the prompt, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I thought about that later – he wouldn’t have traveled with them as “colleagues” but they would have been his shipmates because they sailed the ships. Indeed times were what they were. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Amy Reese says:

    Sadly, I think the guns would win, Alicia. We don’t always use our brains very well. I really enjoyed your take. Nice one!


  14. rgayer55 says:

    I always thought the American Indians had it right. They honored the sacrifice of animals they ate and respected them as a sustainable resource. The white man’s motto was “if it”s brown, it’s going down.” Great story this week. Very thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. margirene says:

    They’re everywhere – the shooters, catchers and trappers. It’s so sad. Thank you for your story. Great snippets of dialogue which show the short-sightedness of the human race – mostly.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. An interesting thought. Clever piece of scene setting here.


  17. K.Z. says:

    very clever take on the photo! very impressive considering the difficult prompt.


  18. Swoosieque says:

    I love where you went with this most difficult prompt! You’ve reminded us of man’s vicious nature, that’s for sure! 😀


  19. R. E. Hunter says:

    A vivid story. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the early exploration was like that. Nobody dreamed humans could have such an impact until they saw the disappearance of the dodo, the passenger pigeon, the rapid decline in whale populations, near extinction of the bison, and so on.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. What an intriguing idea, Alicia! I love the idea of Darwin stuck with these buffoons, and faced with his way or theirs. I love the descriptive opening; I could see, hear and feel the place. Nice job!


    • Although I added a disclaimer at the end I think he did have to travel with buffoons. Who else would sail those ships (maybe not ALL were buffoons.) Thanks for taking time to read this.


  21. Alice Audrey says:

    Actually, he might very well have traveled with a few of that kind. The supremacy of man was indisputable at the time.


  22. I think Darwin would have found those guys very low on the evolutionary scale.


  23. hafong says:

    Birds of the feather, flock together. Whatever that means! 🙂 It reminds me of all the Canada geese on the river.


    Liked by 1 person

  24. Sarah Ann says:

    Oh dear, you just know it’s the end of another couple of species with the line ‘we could shoot thousands of these beasts and never kill them all.” Man can be so arrogant. I enjoyed the momentary look at the beautiful world you created from the prompt.


  25. MissTiffany says:

    Poor Darwin…I think he really is the odd man out in this party.


  26. You got that right. Thanks for commenting!


  27. yarnspinnerr says:

    A thought to delve on ….. friend, 🙂


  28. John Yeo says:

    I think this is a very inspired brilliant piece of writing showing empathy with all wild creatures who have no defence against the blood-thirsty killers you describe. This reminds me of two friends who live nearby. One is a shooter who kills game for sport. The other is a photographer who shoots and respects wild life for love. Well written my friend ~


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