Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

For a Lesson in Evolution, I Visit the National Zoo

Ever in search of the truth about the great lie of evolution (the sick brainchild of a dead white man pushed by the Godless, left-wing, liberal, hippy, Communist, Pinko, etc., etc. agenda), I walked from my D.C. hotel to the National Zoo. There I met with my (new) friend Silvia, a six-year old low-land gorilla. I actually don't know if her name was Silvia, but I think that's what she said. It was difficult to understand her with mouth full of grass. Not that it mattered what she had in her mouth. Gorilla's are ill equipped, physiologically, to produce speech. So, I switched to signing, remembering that some apes have been taught this non-verbal way of communicating.

"Mind if I take your picture?" I asked.
"I don't have a choice, do I?" she asked, rhetorically.
I snapped a few photos and when I asked her what she thought about the idea that we, humans and apes, were all one be happy family, she laughed a sad, mouth-full-of-grass type of laugh and started wagging her fingers and moving her hands. She said, "Now there's a crazy idea, Dougiea. You'll never see a low-land gorilla hunting down and killing, say, mountain gorillas. Or anything else, for that matter. No one in my family would never do a thing like that."

"Well," I said, "as crazy as it seems, there are those misguided, atheistic types who believe it; that apes like you are related to humans like us."

Silvia sighed a patient sigh. "I'll tell you, when you find a bunch of humans who like to sit around and peacefully eat veggies all day, maybe I'll agree we're related."

"Actually," I said, "we do have groups of humans who behave that way."

Silvia shot me a look and asked, "They eat grass, too?"

"No, they smoke it. The grass. At least that's what they call it. It's not exactly grass, though."

"Do they look like me?" she asked.

"Sort of. More than the rest of us, at least. They prefer wearing minimal clothes and tend to be hairy."

"My type," she said. "Maybe there is something to this Evolution theory after all."

"You mean," I said, "that apes are descended from liberal, grass-smoking, vegetarians?"

"Sounds like we're getting somewhere now," she said.

"What about the right-wing types? What do think their lineage might be?"

Silvia wrapped a long arm around herself and scratched the middle of her back, something I wish I could do. In silent retaliation, I waggled my opposable thumbs. "'Don't try that old line," she said, "apes and opossums have opposable thumbs and even some dinosaurs had them. Now, tell me about these right-wing types."

"They believe that shooting animals is a deeply meaningful way to get in touch with nature. They believe in doing just about anything to anyone if there's a lot of money in it. And they pray a lot and they believe that anyone who doesn't believe in what they believe in is going to burn in Hell forever."

Silvia looked thoughtful, paused in her chewing for a moment, and signed, "Do right wingers have opposable thumbs"
"As far as I know," I said.
"Well," she signed back. "Evolution is a process. It takes a long, long, long time. Sounds like they're getting there. Just be patient."

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