The Riddle of Plastic

Scene: ——A much older Alexander Hambone is counseling his only son on the family-room couch of his palatial mansion. 

Watcha watching there little youngster?

Conan the Barbarian! *child swings an imaginary sword* the riddle of steel!

You really are taken with this Conan and his… Riddle of Steel.

Yeah! He’s strong.

He’s strong, huh? Well, do you think the Riddle of Steel is what lets us live in this huge house and have these maids and these servants——Thank you. Yes, right there is just fine——Huh? Is that what you think?

*Shrugs. Picks nose* I don’t know, dad.

Well, it isn’t. The Riddle of Plastic. The Riddle of Plastic is what you need. Not steel.

You mean like credit cards?

 No. Not credit cards. Look around you. Look all around you. Plastic. That’s what grows our bank accounts. That’s what feeds our every desire. Plastic! To be a master of this world, you must be a master of plastic. You must master it’s wily ways and make it bend to your will and come to your command. You see, boy, plastic is not like your strong steel. Steel is disciplined and forged under intense heat and quenched quickly. It’s tempered and alloyed to precision. It’s immovable and noble and timeless and strong:  All the qualities of the finest man. But this isn’t an age of steel any longer. And there’s nothing you can do about that, is there? This, my son, is an age of plastic. The word plastic means to flow. It means to change. Plastic flows and changes with the flexibility and destruction of water——of waves, of oceans. NO man can stand in its way. Any man would be a fool to try. Plastic connects the economy to the human heart. It’s a substance of ambition and ideas. It’s a blooming material. It lets undisciplined things bloom and it controls our thoughts and our desires. You can be a slave to this. You can be eroded by this, body and soul, or you can outsmart plastic. You can soar above it and ride its waves. And do you know how we can do that——?

No, dad. How?

I don’t know, son. I was seriously asking you. Here, can you hold this right here while daddy gets the needle ready?

Dad… why are you tying a belt around your arm?   

Some people can quit whenever they want. This is just how I party. 

About davidwallacefleming

David Wallace Fleming is a U.S. writer, living in Austin, Texas. He is the author of the coming-of-age, social media novel GROWING UP WIRED, and the satirical science fiction audiobook, NOT FROM CONCENTRATE.
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10 Responses to The Riddle of Plastic

  1. Reblogged this on bronwynschroeder and commented:
    Was he shooting up?

  2. Mason says:

    Liked the analogies through out the short story. Quite surprised by the ending.
    Didn’t see it coming.

  3. Maryann Olson says:

    Happy Thanksgiving:) Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2012 05:55:59 +0000 To:

  4. Guilie says:

    Whoa. Did not see that one coming. Nicely done!

  5. chuu2venge says:

    “Some people can quite whenever they want.”

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