A Big Change

A piece of flash fiction with breaking news about the letter a….


A Big Change
by Dave Williams

The a has decided to change its form. The a realizes this is a big change, so it hopes you are seated while reading this.

The a has been the same ‘a’ and ‘A’ for many years, and it would like to “mix things up.”

After this change, the a would like to retain its position in the forefront of the alphabet. No need to mess up the countless alphabetical lists in the world. If the lists were rendered out of order overnight and required reordering the next day, chaos would ensue. We don’t need additional chaos in this sensitive time.

While the a recognizes this design change to be significant, it does not view the change as chaotic. Does a caterpillar cause chaos by transforming into a butterfly? A tadpole into a frog? A blossom into an apple? The a states a firm “no” to these three questions and hopes you do the same.

The same: that can be comforting in a predictable sense, but also yawn-inducing. The a has had quite enough of the same. The a is weary of stifling its yawns due to the worry of offending people. The a has decided that anyone offended by this change can take their offended emotion and stuff it up the back end of the z.

Do humans not embark on vacations? Do birds and whales and caribou not migrate long distances over land and/or sea? Through four generations, Monarch butterflies complete a 3,000-mile migration through North America. Think about that as you sit on your fanny and sip coffee and complain about rush-hour traffic.

The a does not wish to migrate in the physical sense of the word. It is fine with staying at each place it is typed or written on a page or screen. Each of those places in a word and sentence and paragraph is distinctive and carries the potential to be thrilling. Indeed, each word carries emotional weight. The word “sad” is, of course, sad. Not just for readers, however. The word is also sad for each letter within it. Contrast that with the word “hullaballoo.” Not only is that word fun for humans to say, it is also fun for the letters within it. If you look closely at the word, you may even see the letters quivering from the mirth they feel.

Some humans may complain about the a’s choice to change its form. But the a counters that humans change names with marriage, adoption, and the desire to do it. Humans change their hairstyles (including facial hair) to try something “different.” They change their wardrobes for the practical purpose of seasonal weather changes, as well as the whims of fashion. They change their appearance through acquiring tattoos. Some may wear a new hat for a week “just to see how it looks on me.”

The a asks: Do you believe its desire to change is unfair? If so, why do you believe in different rules for humans than letters?

The a states the change might not be permanent. It might be, as with the example of human vacations, a temporary change. The a acknowledges this would cause additional confusion, changing then changing back to the previous form, yet the a finds this to be an acceptable consequence of its actions.

The a considers the most significant consequence of changing is the use of the term “A-frame house.” After all, the A reflects the actual form of the structure. Yet the a believes in humans to be creative in inventing a new term for these structures. The a humbly suggests “Upside-down V-frame house.”

The a is mulling over a few options of its new form. Below is the forerunner. Please keep on the lookout for news of the a’s decision.

Drawing of possible new a design. The character resembles the pi symbol, but instead of a flat top, this character swoops upward. Also, it has two dots above it, as if a lowercase i had two dots.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

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