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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Staying In Africa

One hundred thousand years ago in a parallel universe, Ugg looked out across an African plain.

He had no way of knowing that his tribe, comprising less than five hundred homo sapiens, contained the only highly advanced intelligent life on the planet. He could not have conceived that his group included the only creatures with the potential to progress from hunter-gatherer expeditions to journeys to the stars.

Ugg spoke to the assembled tribe elders. ‘We’re here today to discuss the plan proposed by my brother, Ogg, to leave this place and explore what lies beyond our ancestral lands.’

The group muttered and murmured, then Igg spoke. ‘Why should we go anywhere? The weather’s good. We’ve all the food we need, and our numbers remain constant from generation to generation.’

‘Yes,’ concurred Agg, ‘it’s nice here.’

‘I though it might be fun to have a bit of adventure,’ explained Ogg. ‘We could have a continuing mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations and to boldly go where no one has gone before.’

‘Grapes and grain might not grow properly beyond the mountains,’ said Ugg. ‘Now that Agg has discovered how to ferment alcohol, I’d miss getting rat-arsed most days.’

‘And Igg’s cannabis makes me feel like I’m flying over the mountains,’ joked Agg, ‘so what’s the point in wearing myself out walking over the real thing?’

The elders all laughed.

‘I suppose you’re right,’ conceded Ogg. ‘Spreading out would just make life complicated. If we split into other tribes, we’d probably just end up fighting.’

‘We’re all agreed, then,’ concluded Ugg, ‘we’ll just stay in Africa.’


Today in the same parallel universe, Ugg’s modern descendent, Ugga, looked out across that same African plain.

‘D’you want a beer?’ said his brother, Ogga.

‘No thanks,’ Ugga replied, ‘I think I’ll roll another joint.’

Agga joined them, and they all watched the sun as it set behind the mountains. ‘Do you ever wonder what lies beyond those hills?’ he asked.

‘Nope,’ replied Ugga and Ogga in unison.

‘Neither do I,’ agreed Agga… ‘It’s nice staying in Africa.’