To The Dust: Vesuvius and Groomstool discuss their Lord and Lady
“What can I do for you today, Lord?” Vesuvius asked. “Tea?”
Groomstool sighed as he took his seat. No way was he going to drink Vesuvius’ tea, usually a micro dose of LSD. “No tea. I have much to do.”
Vesuvius chuckled mischievously. “My Lord, old friend, it is merely a little black tea. Nothing more intoxicating than a trace amount of caffeine.”
Despite reservations, Groomstool nodded. “Very well, if you promise.”
Vesuvius snapped his fingers and a faceless monkey man appeared, its titanium head reflecting the low, orange light. He wordlessly signalled to the hybrid beast, who returned with a pot of tea and poured them two cups. “How are My Lord and Lady these days?” asked Vesuvius.
“Honestly, they get more and more feeble with each generation.”
“It’s not my fault! Their intellect is fine, it’s their appalling personalities. True, in fixing a number of flaws, and boosting their fertility, I seem to have delayed maturity.”
“Their mental development is largely a function of their socialization, we can’t pretend to be other than the way we are,” Vesuvius pointed out.
“You know that, I know that.”
“They attended school with normal children.”
Groomstool shifted in his seat and sipped the tea. It was still too hot. “In what sense, exactly, is any child born here to be regarded as normal?”
“Our measure should not be Earth, at this point, anymore than a Renaissance Prince was a Roman Senator. Worlds pass, and while our aspirations and affections may be framed by the dead, reality is a quality of the living.”