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Designed By Committee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "This meeting will now come to order." The Grandmaster silenced the rustle of papers and the excited flow of ideas with his booming voice. "Today this committee is allowed to create, for all the necessary paperwork has been completed by the Land Committee, and now we must decide what forms of life will inhabit the land. This committee is the most important because its creations eventually control the fate of the planet. Remember, this is this committee's last chance. This is the last planet in the solar system.

"Right now I must get back to the drawing board. I have a whole universe to create, you know. Therefore, this meeting with me is now adjourned. Go to work!"

The committee set to work:

"I think there should be a beautiful sea beast."

"Yes, but it should breathe."

"It will breathe under water."

"It must have legs."

By the time the plans had been worked out, and the creature created, it was a strange mutation called an octopus.

"A land animal must be big and heavy."

"And it should make a regal noise to let every creature know if its presence."

"But I think ..."

"Nobody cares!"

"Let's stitch a long nose onto it!"

"It is strong enough to uproot trees!"

"Hey, is that what we agreed on?"

By the time the mayhem ceased for a moment, a strange beast called an elephant was formed.

The committee was starting to fight:

"It must have spots! I simply cannot picture an animal without spots."

"Only if it can climb!"

"It must have a long furry tail."

"Hold on! That was my plan!"

Thus, a leopard was created.

"Soft hooves!"

"Bumpy!"

"No! It can't be bumpy!"

The shrieking grew louder.

"Long legs!"

"Stupid! A bird can't have long legs!"

"Who says?"

"It can't fly then!"

"Fine!"

Finally the frenzy reached such a roar that nobody could hear anybody else. The shouting and arguing continued, as stranger and weirder animals spewed forth onto the small globe of land: camels, ostriches ...

"Stripes! There must be some pattern down there."

"You idiot! Next you'll be saying that it can change colors!"

"Great idea!"

"I thought of it first!"

"No, you didn't."

Zebras and chameleons ...

"Long necks and spots!"

"Stripes and claws!"

Giraffes and tigers were thus created.

The committee argued. And fought. And screamed. And pushed buttons on the DNA machine. And scribbled. And then yelled some more, adding to the din. And tried to make everyone else listen. The major accomplishment was complete and utter chaos.

The Grandmaster heard the confusion - and was happy. He mused to himself, "I hope they get it right. Those last eight tries simply demolished all life on the planets, but it sounds like they're actually accomplishing something big." He began to doodle small dots on his map of the universe. With a snap of his fingers, he made them glow. "I'll call them stars."

He stopped, listening. He could hear nothing. He guessed that his committee had finally finished.

When the Grandmaster finally reached the committee's planning lab, there was deathly silence. Then he heard nervous whispers as he threw open the door.

The committee stared back at him, their eyes wide and color ashen. The Grandmaster knew something terrible had happened. He demanded an explanation. "Did you ruin another planet?"

"No, sir, it's worse."

"Much worse."

"We were discussing, and everything got kind of confusing, and before we realized it, someone ... well, they ... ."

"You didn't. You didn't! You put a human on the planet, didn't you? And you knew that you couldn't reverse it! You knew , you were specifically warned!" The Grandmaster was incensed. "That was our last planet! The Council will not allow us to create life on any other planets. You have wasted an entire solar system!" Fury at the human race shook his voice. "Just watch that little planet. Just wait a few thousand years and see what happens. Then you'll understand why humans have been banned since that last ugly incident." He shook his head sadly. "Just watch that poor little planet."

A millennium passed. The committee, with tears in their eyes and anger in their hearts, saw the little planet deteriorate before their very eyes. They saw the humans polluting the air, water, and land, and thus killing the beautiful animals. They saw humans, for no reason, slaughtering defenseless beasts as well as each other. They saw humans make bombs.

The Grandmaster came into the room just as the first bomb went off.

"Do you see? Do you understand now, my children? Do you know now why we never make humans? They get out of control, like you did. They make errors, like you did. But they do it on purpose." n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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