The Eighth Age

There are seven ages in a man’s life and Tyro was in the seventh. As Shakespeare figured it (and he was a magnificent figurer), you had infant, school-boy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childishness. Tyro was in this last act and that scared the hell out of him, because after that came mere oblivion. The Bard had been proven correct so far, though Tyro had been seriously mistaken about the definition of pantaloon. He had hoped he’d be spending an entire stage of his life as an old-fashioned bit of women’s underwear.

That hadn’t occurred and what did he have left? He knew that if he wanted to live more than just a few more years, he’d have to invent an eighth age. The best he could come up with was Broccoli-Monster (dementia was setting in, you see) and so at Ninety-Seven years of age, Tyro Stubbs became a ten-foot tall creature made of broccoli who terrorized eastern European villages and drive-in theaters for nearly fifteen years before drowning in a vat of creamy ranch dressing. An ignominious ending, no doubt, but Tyro had become the Roger Bannister of life-extension and soon it seemed that everyone and her dog were becoming broccoli-monsters. Genetic research into aging fell by the wayside and by the end of the twenty-first century, the ages of man went like so: infant, school-boy (or girl, as the case may be), lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, second childishness, broccoli-monster, piece of gum on the sidewalk, and tidal wave.

That last caused just as many problems as you might expect.


Matthew Sanborn Smith  Matthew Sanborn Smith's website bleeds ketchup and often wakes up in the hospital after big family barbecues. His work has been seen or heard at Chizine, Albedo One, Challenging Destiny, Antipodean SF, Thaumatrope and StarShipSofa. He sang on the "We Are the World" follow-up single, "We are the Moon Too. We Forgot to Mention that Last Time."

Other works by Matthew Sanborn Smith