All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Great Cszminoothe by Leila Allison

Long before the birth of God, the Torqwamni People crossed the land bridge that connected Asia to North America and glacier-surfed south to the Puget Sound Region. They eventually settled in an area known today as Philo Bay, which became home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and its attending city of Charleston, Washington, toward the end of the nineteenth-century.

Although the county in which the PSNS and Charleston are situated is named for the tribe, you’re as likely to meet a full-blooded Torqwamni nowadays as you’d be able to hook-up with an Inca or a Mayan. Yet there’s nothing sad or shameful to report here: no genocide; no government-sponsored theft of land; nor had there been more alcoholic Torqwamni than imported drunkards (the Torqwamni had been brewing and fermenting their own hooch since the days of Ramses); nor had there been a plague contrary to the Torqwamni immune system. Simply put, the Torqwamni were bright, friendly, attractive, amorous, and very much on a mission to spread their seed.

Soon after Captain James Philo had skippered HMS Vagabond into the Torqwamni’s secluded harbor in the summer of 1843, the process of assimilating the newcomers into the tribe began. The process, in the ever-confident Torqwamni mindset, not only sought to improve the quality of life for the ragged pioneers (who certainly looked as though they could use improvement), but it also was the fulfillment of the tribe’s destiny, which had been foretold centuries earlier by the greatest Torqwamni of all, a prehistory super-genius named Cszminoothe (Ziz-MUH-noo-THUH), literally, “Girl of the midday sun.”)

Currently, ninety percent of the long term local population of Torqwamni County is at least five-percent Torqwamni, but only a fraction of one percent is as much as ten. And although the Pacific Northwest was home to scores of tribes, with whom the Torqwamni also had good relations, a thick, well-wolved forest (which had seemingly sprung up overnight, after the tribe’s arrival) made accessing the Philo Bay area almost impossible, save by boat. This allowed the Torqwamni to thrive in relative seclusion.

Moreover, the normally open-minded Torqwamni Powers That Be (the Keeper of the Word of Cszminoothe) had made it clear to all that there would be no mixing blood with the other Nations. The tribe held onto its relatively unadulterated bloodline until the European and American pioneers showed up on their shores. Suddenly, the Torqwamni blood began to diversify, and plenty. It didn’t matter to the Torqwamni what color or race the pioneer was; the only thing that mattered was the assimilation of the outsiders into the tribe. At first glance it may appear that the Torqwamni had gotten it the wrong way around–but rest assured the little Nation had known what it was doing. By holding onto their maidenhood, so to speak, the tribe was as pure as a race can be when the outsiders “discovered” them. By giving themselves over to the ever-roving newcomers, the Torqwamni sent their seed out into the world the same way dandelion fluff can travel for miles and miles.The idea here, according to the Word of Cszminoonthe,  is to conquer the Earth via the bedroom. About 1.6 million years from today, as it was originally explained in an almost impossible to grasp form of fractal-calculus invented by Cszminoonthe, the suddenly busy Torqwamni libido will result in every human being on Earth (then, an estimated thirty-six billion) carrying the seed of a nation whose population had deliberately never exceeded ten-thousand.

Four items distinguish the Torqwamni from other civilizations: 1) The tribe was a matriarchy. (There’s a positively elderly joke passed among Torqwamni historians; they say that the tribe’s name translates to “Yes, dear.” Actually, it means, “Of the land.” ); 2) They practiced birth control (the same wits also say that Torqwamni is a lot like Aloha, for it also means “No, dear”). 3) Although they were spiritual, and believed in ghosts, the Torqwamni did not buy into “handmade” gods. (But they were smart enough to be quite tactful about this. They greeted Christianity with respect, and even played along to a degree, but among themselves they referred to the reproachful and mean-spirited and egotistical and arrogant God of Abraham as “OOM-mo”–literally, “The hole of the ass.”);  4) And of course, The Great Cszminoonthe, whose hundreds of accomplishments include items one through three.

Unfortunately for “Cyzz” (as she was known, for her full name has always been too long for any language to have a comfortable go at it ), she had been born into an isolated tribe during a brutish era in which life had been both very hand-to-mouth and brief. She had neither history, nor books, nor (obviously) an education, nor much in the way of Torqwamni technology to draw from and build on (oh, they did have fire, the wheel and lever, and a rudimentary scribbled, runic written language, and could count to two, and more than two, but little else). Here, imagine Albert Einstein living in a world prior to the invention of mathematics, or Lionel Messi having the rough luck of being born and raised in the United States. Yet through observation, experimentation, imagination, persistence, a perfect memory, just plain old fashioned ego, and a little help from her only friend, brilliant Cyzz was responsible for taking the Torqwamni out of a brutal world of superstition and into one of light and possibility, all during her remarkable lifetime (which had lasted ninety-four years–nearly four times greater than the life expectancy at the time). Although the Great Cszminoonthe has been dead for more than three-thousand years, her influence, as they say in the publishing, has never been out of print.

Inevitably, there’s a school of thought among many Ancient Peoples scholars that claims Cyzz is actually a compilation of many female chieftains. No one primitive person, so they say, could have introduced the Scientific Method, smelting, cleanliness through the boiling of water, government, medicine, the pump, the gear, crop rotation, the concept of zero, higher mathematics, and proof that the world is round and orbits the sun. Poor Cyzz is a victim of the same sort of snobbery that has dogged William Shakespeare for a much lesser amount of time: No low born commoner could have shone so bright–especially an Injun squaw.

Although nothing is known about her childhood, Cszminoothe’s story began on a winter afternoon when she sprinted out of a clutter of pines into a clearing, which led up a hillside dominated by an immense oak tree. Cyzz knew if she could make the tree that she could defend herself from her pursuer.

Although the Torqwamni were essentially a peaceful bunch whose members looked out for one another, in Cyzz’s day, however,  the concepts of “romance,”  “foreplay,” and even thinking about asking for sex had yet to evolve from the extremely A to B ambush rape stage. The First Form Torqwamni word for “man” had been , perhaps all too accurately, “bozo.” And there had been a bozo in hot pursuit of Cyzz, who, at thirteen, was nearing the Torqwamni version of spinsterhood.  Just when it seemed that the only thing she feared appeared a certainty, Cyzz dared to take a peek back over her shoulder to see if she still had time enough to climb the tree.

The bozo had indeed closed within reaching distance of Cyzz, but he wouldn’t get her, nor would clambering up the tree be necessary.  An invisible hand grabbed the bozo and jerked him fifty feet into the air. He hung there flailing and bellowing inarticulate noises for a second or two, then whatever force that had acted upon him flung the bozo a good hundred yards downhill. His flight path took a high arc (in which Cyzz spied structural usefulness; two years later she used it to create a parabolic arch), and it ended with a loud squelchy splash in a marshy pond that lay at the bottom of the hill. Despite the height and velocity that his sudden ejection from the hillside had achieved, the bozo seemed uninjured. The last Cyzz saw of him was a muddy streak dashing off into the woods. She figured the wolves got him. “Oyvoo-tak-Icculiuck”–”Always think happy thoughts.”

Another Torqwamni saying: “Meeyop-o’twot acain?” or “What the fuck?” exited Cyzz’s mouth.

Most people would have run away. But no people had Cyzz’s powerful and flexible mind. A mind that in later years envisioned a reverse Big Bang theory–in modern English it goes: “There were two Nothings, before Before. One weighed more and sank into the other. Existence came out of the resulting implosion.”  She ordered her mind to calm and examine the possibilities. One huge piece of evidence came to her right away. She would have noted it the second she had entered the hillside if it hadn’t been for the stress caused by the bozo’s pursuit.

“This tree,” she thought aloud, “is new.” Cyzz’s forgetless mind knew every square inch of Torqwamni land, and there had been no tree in this hill until now. She reached out her hand and touched the tree. The slightest charge of static electricity zapped her fingertips, in an almost playful way. A smile bloomed in Cyzz’s face when she realized that she had made contact with a thinking being. In her orderly and highly compartmentalized memory banks, Cyzz had the ability to store information and seek more unencumbered by fear and confusion.

She pointed to her head with her free hand and said, “Cszminoothe. Vee-vee?” To “who are you?” the mind inside the tree replied, via a telepathic image that Cyzz immediately understood, “Keeper.”


Leila Allison

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4 thoughts on “The Great Cszminoothe by Leila Allison”

  1. At first I thought this was going to be the Keeper’s back story, but quickly realized the Keeper comes before all! This world is getting more and more real. And now I’m motivated to learn to speak Torqwamnian. Anxiously awaiting the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a bit torn. This is unbelievable, but charming. Two major major religions’ cosmology state that the earth is supported by the famous pillars, so I suppose that this is no less credible.

    Liked by 1 person

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