Never Say Never by Roger Shipp

“Never open that door.” Those were the last words Aunt Agatha said to me as we finished our tour of her house. My new home. 

I was the first boy Aunt Agatha had entrusted to her upbringing. She had finished raising each of my older sisters as they turned of age. 

I probably need to explain. 

My birth parents reside on Planet Xexeron (found in the Zepada Solar Symposium of Life-Planets). Family is different there. 

All children are propagated. (Birth begins in the test-tube. We are sheltered in infertro-tubes until our becoming.) Designated couples are allowed one child every seven years… indefinitely… while on Xexeron. 

I am the eleventh child gifted to my family. (Both my parents are well over 150 years.) Completely normal, if you understand the science. 

Babies, on Planet Xexron, were a by-product of the BAMAP (Behavioral and Motivational Awareness Program). Researchers discovered that allowing babies in residential families contributed to their workers overall mental health. Analytics also revealed that there were diminishing returns on workers’ efficiency with the raising of children beyond the age of six. 

Therefore, older children were transported to a neighboring housing facility for their further development. 

Being Mom’s and Dad’s only boy, they had a hard time letting go of me. Finally their hand was forced. 

Mom was brokenhearted. 

Dad said, “Boys will be boys.” He wasn’t real crazy when I was caught for the seventeenth time wandering around a Restricted Research Facility, but he wasn’t mad either. He just said, “Randal, remember, ‘Curiosity killed the cat’.” 

I don’t think I’m going to last long with Aunt Agatha. 

I suspect Aunt Agatha was a great surrogate Mom for the girls, but I don’t think she’s much of an inkling about boys like me… 

You should NEVER say “Never” to an eleven-year-old boy. 

Published in Issue #21

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