Excerpt: Will Kaufman, "The Beginning of Peace"


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"The Beginning of Peace," by Will Kaufman

It started as an epic of man versus beast, the sailors hunting a male swold whale, capturing him, and performing a vasectomy. There are etchings of men crushed by the two-hundred-ton monster as they struggled with its genitals on the deck of a ship. And their job was not done then, for after they had ensured the male would not inseminate the female, they needed to attach a yeast bundle to the tip of the male’s penis. Thus, when the male penetrated the female, she would be fooled into believing she was pregnant, when all she really carried was a colony of eager bacteria.  

Swold whales choose to be pregnant. For years, cetologists attempted to inseminate females artificially, with no success. The female would slough the fertilized egg because she had not heard the male’s song of impregnation, had not felt the male’s bulk against her back as he entered her, filled her with life. Now, of course, with the whales laid bare in their tanks, it’s a simple matter to pipe in the song, to send a diver in amongst their organs to prod here and stimulate there.

In the early days of the art, the sailors had to track the male, sometimes for months, until he copulated, then track the female for the twelve years of her pregnancy, never knowing if the yeast had been successfully delivered, if they or their successors would capture the creature only to receive from its womb the bath of sugar in which an infant was meant to have grown.

The sailors eventually discovered that the vasectomy was unnecessary. So long as the yeast payload had been delivered, the alcohol would kill the fetus before it grew large enough to affect the taste of the wine.
I longed to wash my hands and mouth in wine as it poured onto the deck of a rolling ship, fresh and sweet from a whale racked with pangs hidden by skin. I longed to believe in the sea, and the song. I longed for a tiny crew to climb inside my frame and manipulate my organs so that I might swell with honor and nobility.

Read the rest of this story in Unstuck #3.