Genetic Drift
by KJ Hannah Greenberg




Husband: “So, I’ll attribute your short-temperedness to shared genetics.”


Wife: “We’re married, not biochemically related.”


Husband: “After this many decades, there’s been genetic drift.”


Wife: “Arctic drift?”


Husband: “Certainly strong currents of air have made their impact.”


Wife: “We have no heir, if that’s what you mean, no one to whom to bequeath our genes.”


Husband: “Hence my point.”


Wife: “I’ve long admired it.”


Husband: “Our genes, m’dear, instead, passed to each other.”


Wife: “Ya don’t say. Did you know that the Japanese make statues to memorialize their miscarried fetuses?”


Husband: “We don’t; that’s idolatry.  As I was saying ...”


Wife: “‘Comfort’ isn’t just a stiff drink.”


Husband: “And all stiffness is not goodness. Humanity has to get used to living among Komodo dragons.”


Wife: “Among carnivores of the worst kind? Do you realize that I have no blanket box? The hope chest I relied on was…


Husband: “Sciences trumps dreams! Laboratories can eliminate nightmares. Forget the past. Let’s focus on our current relatedness and the strength it generates.”


Wife: “Even if my most thought-provoking URLs have suddenly kicked out?”


Husband: “No.”


Wife: “Even if we will go to our graves without descendants?”


Husband: “We can’t tweak nature. We’ve spent a fortune in ultimately useless medical interventions. I’ll never divorce you just to have offspring. What do you mean, ‘kicked out?’”


Wife: “Honey, it’s you who shoots blanks. I think your sloppy twiddling with my code messed up my Facebook page. Do I have to forgive you?”


Husband: “Maybe?”


Wife: “Expectations are a bowl of eels. I wanted a baby. I never got one. I wanted working software. Several of my social media pages simultaneously crashed.”


Husband: “I still love you. That’s worth more than the tastiest of dead oceanic predators. I’d even jump from salt water to fresh water for you. Besides, you get what you pay for with IT help. Look, I’ll reset your software and throw in some nookie. As always, no charge. Did you consider that we might be associated through parthenogenesis?”


Wife: “Doubtful. There’s nothing asexual about you. Do you really think you can fix it this time? Can you fix it quickly? Don’t you have to have administrative keys or whatever they’re called to tamper with public sites? All things being equal, I might be persuaded to engage in some afternoon delight. I just wish you would restore my pages.”


Husband: “Our genders are not immaterial!”


Wife: “You’re right…as always. Top or bottom… or in the shower? How did you do that? Is that legal?”


Husband: “So you agree that our closeness has generated progeny of the heart? An hour, max, and all will be well in your electronic world.”


Wife: “Whatever you say, Dear.”


Husband: “You, Woman, are a wonderful, empowered synthesis of your DNA and mine.”


Wife: “Yada, yada. Honeyed words and embraces? Not yet. If you can’t entirely fix my pages, I’ll still have to hire someone. If I have to hire someone, I can’t spend alone time with you.”


Husband: “I’ll fix them. I’ll fix them. Stop fretting. Stop worrying, too, over children who will never be.”


Wife: “Excuse me! Menopause might be here to stay, but there’s nothing in your biological code that should make you fall asleep early most nights.”


Husband: “Yup. There’s the proof - genetic drift has overtaken us. I emulate you, the sweetums who would rather wrap her arms around her pillow than around me.”


Wife: “Snarky amoeba.”


Husband: “Mitosis has nothing to do with us. It might, though, be an insight into your software glitches.”


Wife: “Scientists think Acanthamoeba employ meiosis. What do you mean ‘insight?’”


Husband: “AI evolves. Deuces! This stuff’s tricky. Maybe I should ask one of the guys at work to help me debug it. More importantly, I was top last time. Would you like me to rent a private bungalow and a secluded pool?  I can’t stop thinking about cytoplasmic extensions.”


Wife: “Arc on back. AI doesn’t evolve. You’ve been reading too much speculative fiction. Yours, at least, isn’t a false foot. Social experimental randomness! Can’t you just restore function to my media and be done with it? If we don’t rent a bungalow and pool, we could go out for steak.”


Husband: “Animal protein makes you nauseous.”


Wife: “…but it energizes you.”


Husband: “Sandwiches.”


Wife: “?”


Husband: “You could order avocado toast and I could order something that has ceased to breathe.”


Wife: “That’s not exactly language that’s conducive to our comingling.”


Husband: “Those are your words, recycled. You harangue me with them every time I want dead cow or stifled chicken. I’m not surprised I’m parroting you. I told you we’re experiencing genetic drift.”


Wife: “Maybe. Omelets and then cuddles? Wow! That looks better already. You should give up corporate work and freelance as a hacker.”


Husband: “How would we fuel your online subscriptions? How would we buy eggs for omelets or pay mortgage or …”


Wife: “Enough! Are you ever going to acknowledge my losses?”


Husband: “Wanna buy a baby?”


Wife: “Really? I mean ‘no!’ That’d be either criminal or very, very expensive. Even you don’t earn enough to cover those fees.”


Husband: “Then no. While I’ve got these files open, want me to fix your source code?”


Wife: “Literally or figuratively, the source code, that is?”


Husband: “I thought you knew me - both, of course.”


Wife: “Let’s back up this machine beforehand. Maybe tofu instead of omelets? It’s weird for me to eat eggs after I’ve stopped producing them. Did you know I felt that way?”


Husband: “PB & J works, too.”


Wife: “Hard to get out of the sheets.”


Husband: “But delicious on sourdough. Sheets? I’m confused. Priorities, lady, priorities. Read ‘em off one at a time. Sourdough’s in the freezer?”


Wife: “We’re not fixing my source code?”


Husband: “Royal ‘we?’”


Wife: “Genetic drift.”




a line


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