When I Grow Up

An essay by an anonymous entity, as provided K. Kitts
Art by Leigh Legler

When I ask my friends what they want to be when they grow up, they say a hotshot fireman, a policeman, the head of an assassin’s guild. Tyra’s always pushing the envelope. But when I grow up, all I want to be is what I can never be. I want to be like my friends. I want to be a human child.

In my head, I hear a beep. I ignore it. I know my report is past due. I don’t need the reminder. My friends act out their chosen professions.

Pronouns are tricky: he, she, it. Tyra is the most aggressive and the strongest in the neighborhood group and exhibits all the traits associated with being male, yet she is a she. Sangit is the smallest physically and the most artistic, and he is considered a he. To make it more confusing, as human children, the only difference seems to be whether an individual pees standing up or sitting down. They become dimorphic after they mature sexually. So I don’t understand the insistence that children practice their assigned sex. If it is all hormones, then what’s to practice? Is it possible to forget how one pees?

According to my security officer, females are less visible in society, and that is why we appear female. Although with my short hair and dirty fingernails, I am hard pressed to say that I look much like a girl. But my security officer clearly does, and “Mom” must fend off single, male, fathers regularly at school functions. I think this theory of female invisibility is flawed. To me, I have found it important socially to have a pretty mother. I do not know why, but because of it, I am accorded things others are not.

“Oh your Mom is stunning! I won’t count you tardy this one time. Here’s a tissue, wipe your nose.”

I feel the poke of a speck of gravel under the strap of my sandal. I flick it out. I adore feet. They come with lots of toes that spread on contact with the ground and absorb the stress. Toes help me keep my balance so the arch can capture the energy like a battery and spring me forward. Walking on two legs makes me concentrate, be more in the moment. If I get intellectually lazy, I fall over.

When I Grow Up

But when I grow up, all I want to be is what I can never be. I want to be like my friends. I want to be a human child.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2014 collection.

Anonymous is an alien Counselor who has continued to keep her secret from her people. She lied in her threat analysis report in hopes of returning some day to Earth to fulfill her dream of growing up to be a human child.

Dr. K. Kitts is a retired geology professor who lives in the high desert of New Mexico. She served as a science team member on the NASA Genesis Mission and worked with both Apollo lunar samples and meteorites. She has dozens of non-fiction publications, but she no longer wishes to talk about “what is” but rather “what if.” She is currently writing both short and novel-length science fiction.

Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.

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2 Responses to When I Grow Up

  1. Michael Peach says:

    Beautifully written. Instantly capturing the essence of childhood, it took me back to summers growing up in my hometown of Garden City, MI.

    O, to be a youngster once again…

  2. David Eisert says:

    Very nice story Dr. Kitts. I really like the line “Just not in a way my security officer or my people could ever understand. Also, very nice illustration. I look forward to more of your stories.


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