Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
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Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Hello and welcome to the July 2016 issue of Aphelion!

It is a holiday weekend here in the US, July 4th, Independence Day, our national birthday so to speak. Not everyone gets to have the day off, however. Some folks will still be going to work as if it were just another day. Mater of fact, if I were still working swing shift at the factory I would be ending up a week of night shift on the 4th. If my break times were luckily placed, I would be able to go out into the parking lot and see some of the annual fireworks shows taking place miles away from the factory. Now that I am on a Monday through Friday day-time-only schedule, I do have the actual holiday off. But what does this holiday really mean? Picnics and family? Fireworks, and idiots shooting guns into the air heedlessly of where the bullets will fall, while marching bands play the national anthem and John Phillip Sousa music to folks attending the safer option if those two? Watching those movies? It is a bit more complicated than that, actually.

Back in 1776, a lot of the colonists of the UK's North American colonies were pretty fed up with various taxes being levied by the UK government at the time, without allowing the colonies to have any sort of voice in Parliament to represent them. Not everybody, mind you, but enough for folks to start grumbling about unfair practices and for others to try their hand at putting their thoughts on paper about how things might possibly be made a bit more equitable. Those documents, today they'd be considered blog posts really, those essays wound up being printed and sent around. Newspaper articles and printed pamphlets and the like. And eventually some of the essayists and philosophers among this vocal crowd of rabble-rousers decided to hold a convention to debate the best way to deal with the growing dissatisfaction the colonies were feeling against their far-off and largely uncaring government over in the UK. I'm not certain, but I believe the only cosplayers of the day were on a Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket trip, but I am reasonable certain that there were a few Lolitas and several hogsheads of some passible wine vintages involved that history didn't want to record in the public record, if you catch my drift. Might even have been some brandy and homebrew being passed around too. Room Parties may have been invented at this time as well. Seriously, Ben Franklin was involved, so how could there NOT have been room parties? Dude had an eye for the ladies and never got far from a keg of something or other!

So these august personages got together and talked, and argued, and talked some more, and finally some scribe was tasked with putting together the best bits of everyone's witty repartee. And then they appointed a committee to be the official editors of the scribe's notes. What was eventually produced was seditious, treasonous, an incitement to open rebellion against the Crown, and quite likely to lead to every one of them being hunted down and executed if their little social experiment wasn't successful. Some of them had to be afraid of signing their names to this revolutionary document. For revolutionary it most certainly was, the idea that a colony or an alliance of colonies had a right, even a duty, to revolt against an unfair and oppressive parent country and government. Not only the right, but the duty to take up arms against what they had known as their legal government for their entire lives. So they eventually agreed on a final edit, then signed it. Imagine how angry they were. Imagine how scared they must have been. Imagine just how much booze it must have taken to get them to all agree on this, essentially criminal act of open revolt.

The Declaration Of Independence, not a perfect thing by any means. For instance there was no recognition of the rights of slaves or women or the original natives of the continent. In fact, the references to Native Americans are downright insulting. But the language used in the Declaration also directly leads to those rights eventually being recognized, as we did actually do when civilization advanced enough to make those glaring omissions evident enough to us. Should have happened sooner, should have happened faster, should have been there from the start, but it wasn't. Wasn't perfect then, still working on perfecting it, but progress has been made and one day those words will indeed apply to every human being on the planet. We just have to break down those walls, smash them completely, teach our kids that even though the differences of race and gender weren't specifically addressed with the recognition we now know to be necessary, the poetry of the words chosen hinted at such, and should be deemed included as the human species matures. Indeed, if these words do not apply to every human being everywhere for all of time, then they mean less than nothing. These words are an ideal for us as a species to strive to live for, to embrace, to work and fight and strive until they DO apply to everyone, EVERYONE!

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.傍hat to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, 傍hat whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.亡uch has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

Mare Inebrium Anthology


First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine. As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very useful. Given our different locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room days.

My first collection of Mare Inebrium spaceport bar short stories was published in February by Dark Oak Press. It is available in both Kindle an Nook e-book formats, paperback, and hardback. I also that thre albums of instrumenal music out throgh the Create Space self-publishing website. If you like, you can click on the photo or the link below to fin all the info you would need to purchase my book in your preferred format, or an e-book of Flash of Aphelion, buy a CD of my music, or listen to tracks off of the albums on my Bandcamp website. Enjoy!

Dan's Promo Page



Smoke Ring for a Halo

Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt