Peter Lingard, Three’s a Crowd

When a youngster, Peter Lingard told his mother many fantastic tales of intrepid adventures enjoyed by him and his friends. She always said, ‘Go tell it to the Marines.’ When he asked why, she said, ‘They’ve been everywhere and done everything, so they’ll want to hear about what you’ve been up to.’ Of course, Peter joined the Royal Marines as soon as he was old enough and now has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of tales to tell.

Peter has had 300+ stories and poems published, as well as having many pieces aired on Radio NAG, Queensland and 4RPH, Brisbane. Professional actors have performed some of his doggerel and he has appeared as a guest on Southern FM’s program, Write Now, to read and discuss his work. He recited and chatted about some of his poems on 3CR’s Spoken Word and had a monthly spot on 3WBC (94.1FM) to read his tales. Contact him at plingaus@bigpond.com

The world did not end in a bang or a whimper but rather one scream at a time. The two that were left that day had witnessed fear, panic, hatred, and death.

Most humans quit the failing Earth long ago. The Chinese had found a planet with an atmosphere that suited the human race perfectly and they shared it with anyone who wanted to join them. They even allowed importation of some earthly flora and fauna. Residents named the planet Utopia (the Europeans and Americans had found the Chinese word, Wutuobang, ethnologically unacceptable, though why the Chinese didn’t feel the same way about Utopia tells of their altruism). It was administered by a global government primarily made up of environmentalists and scientists. People applied for the right to vote, having had their intelligence and character assessed. Those elected were paid by their electorate. All armed forces were banned, as was religion. Anyone who needed an imaginary being to help them through life was advised to stay on Earth. Equality of all inhabitants was guaranteed. Politicians had no business interests and businesses had every aspect of their operations approved by the relevant branch of the administration. Rules, regulations, think tank ideas, et al, had to maintain the quality of life for the planet and its inhabitants above all else.

Earthly assets were declared useless on Utopia. Immigrants’ possessions, save those needed on the five-month journey, remained on Earth. At Utopia, people were disseminated around the planet and given whatever needed to establish themselves according to their reasonable desires. Costs were partially borne by an earth-based agency that used settlers’ no-longer-needed money. Most Earthly governments surrendered all finances to help pay for the mass migration and establishment of new communities on Utopia.

Some Earthlings were contemptuous of the new planet. ‘Don’t Abandon The Lord,’ said some. ‘Keep Your Feet on the Earth,’ said others. Many stayers, whose right to remain was respected, thought they were getting bargains by buying leavers’ possessions at knock-down prices. They stayed because they saw opportunities for great wealth, not realising Earthly society was destroyed and their newfound wealth meant nothing. Wars started and people slaughtered each other, imprisoned them, or forced them into servitude to create a lower financial class.

Eventually, the have-nots, known as The Rumps after the American president who, in early twenty-first century accelerated the decline of Earth, tried to kill everyone not of their belief. It was a war of mutual destruction. They found an obscure writer who had predicted a similar situation and made him their inspiration. The Rump leader was the last man to survive. The other survivor was a woman he had raped and who carried his child.

“I hope you can handle solitude, arsehole!” screamed Eve. “I’m leaving.”

“You’re not going anywhere!” Adam screamed back. “My child will be born.”

“What?’ the woman shrieked. “So you can claim to be the father of mankind?”

“You have no choice!” he bawled. “Do as I say!”

“Or else?”

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