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In year 3000 humans spawn like salmon. This is evolution, says the scientist. The religious right is outraged. I don’t know how we ended up here, weeps one woman. They were swimming about nervously at the head of the river where it joins the Atlantic Ocean. They were naked and the sun was bright. Enjoying herself thoroughly, a younger woman dove gracefully through the water. Others looked on gravely, paddling gently. It was summer. Children were scattered about the shore. One child buried another in sand. They were having fun. The young woman surfaced for air and pleasantly remarked upon the weather. Blank stares. No matter, she thought, twisting and diving. Without a word the large group began to head towards the mouth of the river. As they left the ocean behind, the group began to urinate furiously. They had to compensate for the change to freshwater. From shore one child waved. Water lapped against faces whose thoughts were far away. A steady rhythm set in. The young woman’s mind wandered as she completed one lazy backstroke after another. She watched the sky go by. It became dark. The ocean was far behind them. Days came and went. The rhythm slackened. It wasn’t easy fighting the current. A frail woman closed her eyes and died. Few took notice, most swam by. The large group became smaller; bears picked off the weak. And the rest swam by. One man leapt over a rock. The young woman looked around pleasantly and remarked that the water was colder. Suddenly the water started to rush. Men and women splashed and dove with abandon. This is where I was born, said the young woman. She looked around and gave a wet blink. Women all around her began to lay eggs on the shallow pebble bed. Men raced to fertilize their deposits. It was frantic. Two weeks later the young woman looked around her. The dead floated. Bears with round bellies sunned on the riverbank; they were having fun. The pebble bed was rich with eggs. The young woman closed her eyes and died.

Back on the shore of the Atlantic, one child buried another.

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