The Reality Institute

Reasons to Run by Roberto Figueroa

Reasons to Run

Alexander shifted the garbage with his feet. He stared at the refuse, and ran his eyes over every used coffee filter and crumpled paper. His feet moved slowly, spreading out the garbage until only the lawn showed beneath. Alexander looked for several more minutes, and then went back inside his house.

“Honey!” he called, “I didn’t find it!”

A voice came muffled back. “Look harder! You’re not getting to put on clothes until you find it!”

Alexander shifted a bit on his garbage covered feet, and looked down at his boxers.

“I’m getting cold,” he said in a softer voice.

“Tough,” said a softer but still muffled voice. Alexander walked back outside to section of the lawn covered in garbage. He went to the highest mound of garbage, which came up to his knees, and started sorting with his feet again.

After a while, he found what he had been looking for. He reached down with a look of distaste, brushed away an apple core, and picked up the sleeping baby. The baby’s back felt sticky to his touch. The baby woke up when Alexander straightened up. Alexander didn’t look at the baby, and walked back into the house with his arms outstretched in front of him.

“Honey!” he called, “I found it!” A door opened, and Rachel walked out.

“His name is Ben, not ‘it’,” she told Alexander. “Put him in the crib and- oh my god he’s filthy!”

“Well, he was playing in the garbage, so…”

“The garbage? Are you fu- freaking kidding me? For God’s sake, clean him off!”

“Can I put on pants first?”


Pantless, Alexander carried the baby to it’s room. He lay the baby down in the middle of a white crib. As his arms left the crib, the once white crib glowed a soft blue, and a computer screen to the left said, “HI DADDY.” Alexander’s eyes shot momentarily to the screen, then away. He reached for some moist napkins. The words on the computer screen disappeared, and new text said, “CLEANING TIME?” The baby in the crib stared at Alexander, but his only response was to reached down into the crib, turn the baby, and quickly run the wet napkin back and forth over the sticky area. The crib lost the blue glow when Alexander put his hands and forearms inside the crib, and when he backed off the glow came back, with new text on the screen. “CAN WE READ A BOOK NOW? THE ONE WITH THE PRINCESS?” Alex left the room.

In the kitchen, Rachel made coffee. “What was he doing in the garbage?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, didn’t you ask him?”

“No, I just cleaned him.”

Rachel sighed and turned to face the still pantless Alexander. “We’re supposed to ask as many questions of him as we can.”

Alexander stared down at his boxers. “It’s creepy,” he said in soft voice.

“We’re not getting into this conversation again.”

“It’s just a 4 month old baby! They’re not supposed to talk and ask questions and understand what we say. They should be pooping and smiling because they farted. How can you say it’s not creepy that it’s learning multiplication tables, but it can’t even talk because the body isn’t mature enough?”
Rachel turned her back on Alexander to keep working on the coffee. “It’s name is Ben. His name is Ben, I mean. You know, the told us what to expect way before they started the in utero injections. You had plenty of chances to say you didn’t want this.”

“Yeah, but-“

“Just think of it, Alex.”


“Ben could grow up to solve all the world’s problems. A brilliant scientist or mathematician or something. Don’t you want to be one of the people who made his existence possible? The parent of the savior of humans? Plus with the all the money they’re paying us, we’re set for life now.”
Alex turned and started to walk out of the kitchen. “It’s still creepy,” he said. He walked by the room with the crib to the bedroom. He closed the door and locked it. He took off his boxers, and put on a clean pair. After that, he put on his pants, a comfortable shirt, and running shoes. He checked his wallet, and put on his watch. Faintly, he heard Rachel talking to Ben. “Hey, honey. How are you? I’m happy you’re happy. You silly little goose. What were you doing in the garbage? Playing with daddy? He put you there?” Alex opened the window.

“I’ll be right back honey. I’m going to go talk to daddy a little bit about how to play nice.”

The doorknob shook, and the banging started just as Alexander’s feet touched the rose garden soil under the bedroom window. He was halfway down the street before he heard faint yelling behind him, and soon all he could hear was the wind in his ears.

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