Rhino Season on the Moon

The moon is not a planet because it can't make its own decisions

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

PROMPT: Every person has the ability to go back and change the past exactly once. But if anything too significant is changed, everyone influenced directly by the change turns into the mental equivalent of a vegetable.

And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s reversible. As a result, for many people, the past has remained safely hidden from sight. They feel that if they can’t see it, they can’t remember it and it remains at the mercy of the stars.

It is an extraordinary phenomenon. To see the natural world in such detail, and to have the natural world to look at, is to feel that you have to be there. You can’t. You can only influence it by observing and discovering. And when you discover that the stars are moving, or that the moon is making a slight turn, or that there’s a slight wobble in the clouds, it becomes clear that the past is something you can influence. You can influence the course of history, but you can’t change it.

And this is why it’s so difficult to understand the argument that the moon is not a planet. It’s not a planet because it can’t make its own decisions. It’s not a planet because it can’t get around in a circle. For a start it doesn’t have the circular momentum to pull it around at the same time the other way round. The moon follows a different trajectory and approaches the Earth round a much steeper angle. But it doesn’t have the mass to support it. It follows a different trajectory from the Earth and from us.

The moon follows a different trajectory from the Earth because it is a sphere. When you’re wobbling around a sphere like a basketball that’s spinning round a little more slowly than a basketball is round, you have to make a lot of assumptions. You also have to assume that the juggernaut is following you around, i.e. that it’s a four-dimensional ball with momentum that is being exerted on it.

We are in the presence of an alien, who has turned out to be a representative of one of our own governments, or in fact there may be several governments represented by this representative. We don’t know what he wants with regard to our return, but we do know that he wants us to go there to look for some rhino.

I have to say, quite animatedly, that this makes our faces just look like mushrooms. He bows, grins, nods, and says, ‘It’s all right, monkey.’ We thank him, appreciate his enthusiasm, and bow out again. We have a few more hours to kill before we have to leave again, and then only two more before that, which will hopefully be enough time for us to get back to the Landrover in the unlikely event that it still has the machine.

By now I have begun to feel seriously skimpily dressed for a planet I haven’t seen the sea in years, and a rhino is clearly a high temperature register event. I look forward to the day, and before I know it, rhino season is over, landrover season, and rhino season in general. I feel a bit knotty about rhino season, but there’s not a lot of point in me being flagrant about it because it’s not about that. I could care less about the landrover season. It’s about the rhino season.

We pull into a side ward of the clinic, and the rhino greets us with a thuggish openness that our rhinos rarely display, and certainly not in such a gross, fat-soaked way. The clinic is well marked out from the surrounding bush, and the road is well groomed. We keep to the right side of it, and sometimes even though we’re not looking, we can be heard to calling our driver to indicate an upcoming bend in the road. The rhinos take us with a bit of a jab.

We quickly learn that every road in the area has been regularly shorn of its cattle for the last twenty years, and that this, together with the periodic occurrence of sudden kidnappings and the continual threat of starvation, is now, sadly, the only reliable way of keeping the rhinos out of your way.

The clinic is small, but it is well hidden from the main road, which means that we are slowed down, and have to take another tack if we want to get to the point. We are also skirting a bit of a wad of mud, which means that we slow down even more and have to stop to look at another tack. It’s a dilemma of sorts. If we want to get to the next stage quickly and easily, yes - but if we want to stay on this side of the wad of mud for the length of the journey, or even if we want to stay on the other side, then it’s a problem. We are skirting a bit, and within a few minutes we come to a large patch of open land, where the


Editor’s Notes

Prompt comes from Reddit

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This text came from one run of 25 samples