The Cattle

Microfiction from the excellent current special issue of 91st Meridian, edited by Shabnam Nadiya and Daisy Rockwell:

“How are cattle born?” The teacher asked.

“When the cattle sprout legs, the cattle are born,” the child replied.

“Wrong,” the teacher said. The teacher recited the following from the textbook, “No one is born as cattle. Instead, first, one gets fifteen years of education, a job, a wife, a car and a television set. Then, in due course, as a child is born, a household is set up.

“Together, progress is dutifully achieved.

“Thereafter, horns begin grow on the head.

“Or else,

“They work in a factory or a field. Or even at a university or an office.

“They labor and struggle against difficulties.

“Together, they dream up revolutions.

“For all this too, as a reward, horns sprout on the head.

Hearing this, the child was overcome with sorrow.

“Is there any way to avoid becoming cattle oneself?” he asked the teacher.

“I don’t know,” replied the teacher as he scratched the tip of his horns.

Much more here.