(If you’re new here, feel free to start at the beginning.)
Qualidadiania is populated by the alphabet. Which alphabet? Every alphabet.
Letters from every language walk and talk and gallivant and have a grand old time. And the letters could be in several different fonts. The children are lowercase, obviously.
Take the letter “A,” for example. She—yeah, she’s a she, being a vowel and all—she would stand a little more than five feet tall and be completely A-shaped, but with some depth, not some flat thing. Plenty of room for a brain, nervous system, heart, etc.
I really hope the different fonts would get along. You always expect letters to be civilized, but then you come across something like Finnegans Wake and realize just how odd they can be in certain combinations.
What if numbers are also on this planet? That might not work so well. Letters vs. Numbers. Who do you root for?
That would be a neat world. And highly educational. I can see it now, as a clichéd, melodramatic war drama…
Narrator: On the distant planet Alpha Numeri, war rages between the mathematical race of Numbers and the once-peaceful literary folk, the Letters. The conflict has lasted decades, with no end in sight. In the midst of it all, a humble family of Letters is about to learn one of life’s simple yet essential truths.
(Bombs blast in the distance. Door opens. Letter family is A, the mother; B, the father; and little a and little b, the overly-innocent children. It’s all quite over the top.)
A: B! B, you’re home! I was so worried! How is it out there?
B: (harried soldier) Getting worse all the time, my darling A. The Numbers have figured out how to use their division signs against our sentences.
A: Gasp! (actually says “gasp”)
B: It’s true! Even our strongest compound sentences—reduced to fragments!
A: That shouldn’t even be possible! I always thought Letters were immune to division.
B: That’s the way it’s supposed to be, but war changes everything, and
always for the worse. Don’t worry, we’ve got a new weapon—
Little a: Poppa!
Little b: Poppa!
B: Little a! Little b! Oh, my children, I’ve missed you so!
Little a: Poppa, why are the Letters and Numbers always fighting?
A: Now, now, dears, let Poppa get some rest.
B: It’s okay, A. You see, kids, it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, Numbers would happily appear in sentences, and Letters would participate in algebraic equations.
A: I remember when algebraic equations were so much fun. Maybe they can be again, if we stop this senseless struggle.
Little b: Poppa, what’s an algebraic equation?
B: I’ll tell you when you’re older. You see, kids, somewhere along the way, we stopped playing nice with each other, and when people can’t play nice, they make war, and war is bad, very bad, and—
B: Get down!
(The door breaks.)
A: Gasp! It’s Number Two and Number Three!
B: The scoundrels!
Two: Come on out, Letters! We know you’re in here.
Three: We’re taking this place. Your home is ours now.
B: (under breath) Not if I have anything to say about it.
A: Dear, don’t–!
B: It’ll be okay, my darling A. It’ll be okay. (louder) Here I am, Numbers! I’m not afraid of you!
Two: That’s not what the others in your paragraph were saying.
Three: Ha, ha!
B: My paragraph! What did you do to my paragraph?
Two: Let’s just say, once you remove the punctuation, everyone becomes helplessly lost.
Three: Ha, ha!
B: Blast you, you nefarious numbers! I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but you monsters leave me no choice.
(Sound of a small machine warming up.)
Two: No! Not that!
Three: It’s—a subtraction symbol!
B: And I’m not afraid to use it.
Subtraction: (cheesy robot voice) Three minus Two equals…One.
Two & Three: Nooooo…!!!!!
One: No! I’ve been subtracted to…to One!
B: And now you’re all alone. Working together, I would’ve been no match for Two and Three. But One is only a fifth as powerful as Two and Three combined.
One: I just need to find an addition symbol! And I will! You mark my words, B! I’ll be back, with greater Numbers than ever!
B: You won’t be getting that chance. Subtraction symbol, what’s One minus itself?
Subtraction: Calculating! One minus One equals…Zero!
(One lets out a horrific scream.)
B: You mess with my alphabet, you get subtracted.
A: Oh, B! You were so brave!
Little a: You did it, Poppa! You did it!
B: I’m just lucky I was paying attention in school the day we learned about arithmetic.
A: Not lucky—smart!
Little b: Poppa, will you teach me how to subtract?
B: Of course, son. You never know when subtraction might just save your life! And the lives of your wonderful family.
A: Oh, B! I love you!
B: And I, you, A. And I, you.
Narrator: And so, the Letters learned a most important life lesson. Never underestimate the value of subtraction. Oh, and war is bad. Very bad.
I’d love to play peacemaker between letters and numbers. But come to think of, this one’s a tad, just a smidge far-fetched.
I can think of something less far-fetched…
To be continued…