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The Latest by Darwin
by Grace Mattioli

One dull day about a week before Christmas, while working at my bookstore job, I was approached by a small man with brownish skin and an overgrown mustache. “Has that Darwin fellow written anything lately?” he asked me in broken English.

“Excuse me?” I said trying to keep a straight face. I could have heard him wrong. It was difficult for him to enunciate because he only had about three teeth in his head. 

“You know that Darwin fellow- the one that wrote the books about the apes turning into people?”

I nodded indicating that I was familiar with Darwin, and he continued: “Well, I was just wondering if he wrote any new books.”

I would have been taken aback, but by this time I realized that he was not sane, so when I answered him, my face was expressionless and my voice was completely neutral. “I don’t think so. He’s been dead for quite a while now.” 

He scratched his head full of stringy hair and his deep black eyes opened wide and stared back at me with disbelief. Then he said, “Do you think that we came from the apes or that they came from us?”

I was ready to respond when I looked over at a group of crazed shoppers rummaging through piles of wall calendars in the gift section of the store. “I’m not sure,” I said to the strange little man, making him more baffled than ever.

He gave me a final stare. This one had much more disbelief than the first one. In fact, it had distrust in it, as though he thought that I’d been conspiring with this “Darwin fellow” all along. 

He then ran out of the store like he was being chased, and I haven’t seen him since.