by William Thomas
The little girl plays alone in her room. She is so 'dorable. Everyone says so. She lines up her favourite dolls: Farmer Juan, Little Lucas, María May I, Sister Sophia.
“Don't hurt me!” squeals Chatty Carla. Too late. With the sweep of an arm, the little girl scatters her playmates across the bed. “Bad peoples!” she says.
The bedroom fills with radiant light. The child steps back, gazing calmly between her fingers at the two figures who appear within a scintillating golden nimbus.
“Are you a angel?” she asks the taller visitor, who is muy hermosa, very beautiful.
“You can say that,” comes a warmly feminine voice.
“Do you live in God's house?”
“Everyone lives in God's house,” the angel says. “God's casita is everywhere.”
The little girl considers this. How can there be a heaven on the Earth when her parents say the Earth is becoming infierno? She wants to ask, Is God in hell, too?
“My name is Samantha,” she says instead. “What's your name?”
“You may call me Arielle,” the angel says.
“But what's your really name?”
“I'm afraid it's not very easy to remember.”
“What's you're really name?”
“Angelica Rafaela Isabella Emma Lola de Luna Emilia. Arielle for short.”
“Is that your doggy?” The little girl points to the smaller shape crouched by the angel's side.
The 'doggy' barks “guau-guau” in perfect Spanish.
The angel laughs. “That's my friend. You can call it, 'Benjamín'. It is very wise and comes from far, far away in the Tau Ceti cluster.”
“More far than thirsty São Paulo ?”
“Yes,” says the angel. “Further than thirsty São Paulo.”
“Oh,” Samantha says. “Are you here because I was bad?”
“You weren't bad to knock your dolls down,” says Benjamín in a voice like a friendly Saint Bernardo. “We understand your fear and frustration. It means you are aware.”
Samantha looks down at her pretty pink dress. She understands 'wear'. And she is happy that she's not bad.
“Why are you alone in your room?” the angel asks.
“My parents are watching the news and they don't want me to see,” Samantha says. “And my papa says it's too smokey from the fires to go outside.”
“Do you have a sister or a brother?” asks Benjamín.
“You talk funny,” says Samantha. “For a doggy.”
“Do you?” Benjamín gently prods.
“I want my momma to make me a little brother,” the little girl admits. “But papa says there's too many peoples eating all the foods and making p'lution because rich peoples want more toys.”
“Maybe they just want to eat dinner,” Benjamín says. “Like you.”
“Maybe,” says Samantha. Her papa hadn't mentioned this when he told her rich peoples are too shellfish.
“Do you want more toys?” asks the angel.
“Oh yes,” says Samantha before she can stop herself. Covering her mouth with one hand, she says through her parted fingers, “Am I bad?”
“No. You're a good girl,” says Benjamín. “Remember. Playthings don't just come from stores and factories across la mer. The Earth around you can be your friend and teacher. If you listen and take care of her.”
“I'm sorry I hurt my dollies,” says Samantha. “They were bad. They were going to drink all the water and my papa says soon we won't have any like last time and we'll have to move again. But when I asked my momma where we go, she said she didn't know yet. Just about everyplace is ranning out. It never rains here for my whoooole life.”
“How does that make you feel?” asks the angel.
“Like a big scary monster is going to gobble me up,” Samantha promptly replies. She clenches and relaxes two tiny fists. “I am so totally angry at all the stupido peoples.” Then her expression crumples into a sadness that would break any heart. “I am mostly cry. I love my Mommy Earth and the big peoples are making her sick... ”
Then she puts it together: Nice angel... Friendly alien...
Samantha's eyes sparkle. “Did you come to save us?”
“Save you from what?” asks Arielle.
“From the Earth getting too caliente for the birdies and the fishes and the polo bears. Farmer Juan says he can't grow foods in a dessert.”
“Do you mean 'desert'?” asks Benjamín. “A place like here of poquito agua and more and more sand?”
“Sí. Are you going to save us?” she asks again.
Now the angel looks troubled. She nods to her celestial companion.
“The First Law of Intervention says that the inhabitants of any dying world must deserve help before we can help,” Benjamín quietly explains. “This means even if they don't yet realize who their original mother is, they must start acting as if they comprendes they are onboard a space colony shedding parts as it hurtles through vacuum. First, everyone has to stop hurting themselves and each other and all the places that give life. Then they can start helping by not taking so much and allowing the Earth and her big blue ocean to heal.”
“Then peoples are healed, too,” Samantha declares.
The angel chokes up. “You are a very wise child,” she says.
“I'm going to help la Tierra when I grow up,” Samantha cries. “Honesto, I will!”
“You are already doing it,” Benjamín says. “Because we have seen you being careful with water and the creatures around you. And because you show respect. Because you care.”
“Look at you,” Arielle chimes in. “How can anyone look at a little girl or little boy or any little creature and not want to do everything necessary to make the best world for them?”
“It's wrong to hurt all the aminal and human childrens,” Samantha agrees. “Everyone used to know that. Are you going to save us now?”
“When they remember,” Benjamín says. “When they remember and act in that knowledge. And then you won't need to be saved.”
- There are no typos in this story.
- Photo: Leticia of Brazil
SAVING SAMANTHA is inspired by:
Drought Grips Brazil's Largest City: One of the world's most populous cities is running out of water. The city's main water supply is running on emergency reserves. Normally this time of year, the city's main supply would hold more than 155 billion gallons of water. But that water is all gone, and the government has been forced to tap into emergency reserves. [NBC July1 1/15]
Six million people in Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, may at some point find themselves without water. The threat is especially frightening for millions of people who have flocked here from Brazil’s poorest region, the semi-arid Northeast and the droughts that are so frequent there. The Nordestinos did not imagine that they would face a scarcity of water in this land of [water] abundance.[Common Dreams; Inter Press Service Mar 11/15]
At the epicenter of these losses is a massive reservoir called the Cantareira. A great lake once filled with enough reserves to supply over 6 million people that has been reduced to what amounts to a giant, drying puddle of mud. A situation that has forced water managers to pump sludge... 'like what comes out of the back end of a cow.'[Robert Scribbler July 17/15]
Neighbours are fighting over water access... “Now, when you look at these levels, things are really, really bad. I'm not sure what you can do now for a solution,” said Prof. Carlos Lima, who develops statistical models to improve water management. “Even if you reduce the water consumption for the city, you don't have the water.”[NBC News July 1/15]
Spanish is the world's second most common language (after Mandarin), with 405 million Spanish speakers. [Accredited Language Services]