Friday, January 25, 2019

The All-Mine Osaurs (1947 short story)


A Short Story from the June 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard
Prior to the “Atomic Age" the earth was ruled by the All-Mine Osaurs. For many years these creatures' main habitat was in and around London, but they soon spread to other cities and lands. Eventually they also established themselves in very strong numbers on the American continent. They were chiefly to be found in large blocks of offices and flats, centrally heated, as well as in the dining-halls of exclusive clubs and hotels. In appearance they were not unlike human beings. Heavy jowls, protruding ears, bulbous noses and gimlet eyes hidden behind glasses often gave them a frightening quality, especially when pictured in the press of the day sitting behind large wooden desks. Their waistlines had the tendency to wander beyond their circumference and get lost.

Their nomenclature is still the cause of many arguments. In their day this group liked to be known as "Captains of Industry." Other names such as "Managing Directors," “Chairman of the Company," were also applied to them. In the United States they liked to be known as “Presidents" after the titular head of the country. But most scientists agree on the first classification because of their enormous acquisitive powers.

Their possessions were fabulous in size and variety; there was nothing on the earth, below or above it which they did not own once they perceived that the object had some value. Their appetites being insatiable they would kill off the weaker ones amongst them and devour their property. Periodically whole groups engaged in battle. Then the earth shook under the conflicts of the monsters.

To a certain extent their origin is shrouded in mystery. The folk-lore of their day speaks of many of them being found under the counters of shops when young. Also several pictures that have been preserved bear the caption: “From Office-boy to Managing Director." This metamorphosis must have been as startling, if not as colourful as that of the caterpillar to the butterfly.

Some data exist as to their life and habits. It makes strange reading. An abnormal extension of their biological functions enabled them to sit on numerous different "boards" at one and the same time, many sitting on sixty or even more. They also read reports to company meetings, made after dinner speeches and played golf. The last two functions appeared to have been their main occupation. Scrupulous in adhering to the customs of the group, they never missed eating their dinners before making their speeches and this gave them paunches, flatulence and acidity of the stomach and speech. Then they attempted to rid themselves of these complaints by means of golf, a game played with wooden sticks and a ball. So the two functions seemed to have been complementary.

They were continually harassing the other species to produce more. "More Production and Greater Speed in Travel." The records speak of fantastic achievements in these spheres and of innumerable thousands of the lesser species who died of overwork or fell victims to the beserk speed of travel by crashing from the air or being hit by moving objects on the ground.

Except in rare and notorious cases, the All-Mine-Osaurs were never observed in the actual act of hatching wealth. Consequently legends were told to explain their enormous wealth. The few who attempted to spread a rational explanation were scoffed at by the majority, although the evil effects of their rule was plain for all to see.

However, after many years of popular clamour the government of the day issued an edict ordering their gradual extinction. For a time hopes were high, but after a while the decree was seen to have achieved nothing. The All-Mine-Osanrs simply disguised themselves as "Chairmen of Public Utilities," "Directors on Government Boards" or as “Government Stockholders" and continued to pile up wealth as before.

Finally, during the Atomic Upheaval, they disappeared without a trace.
Sid Rubin

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