A Perfect World

| Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is a story I wrote for a class recently. The assignment was to write about a perfect world. I took it in a different direction.

The formatting didn't transfer at all from the original copy. I tried many methods and eventually got tired of copying in space symbols just to get some of the original. They would vanish when I attempted to do any editing. After some messing about, I settled on this: center alignment with slightly smaller text. It's the best I could do with limited remaining patience. I apologize for it looking so strange. My goal wasn't to be artistic or anything like that, I just wanted to get things less shoved to the left side.

“Dr. Fritz, you had something to show me?” “Yes! It will be marvelous. Come, come into my lab. Let us see!” This was the usual initial exchange between Drs. Fritz and Folak. For five years they had kept up this pattern. For five years Fritz had brought forth one wondrous idea after another, brilliant and unimaginable, at least to Fritz. In practice they were all useless except to add another entry to the Book of Those Things Which Have Been Found to Not Work. He had several chapter devoted to his research.

“It is only in the preliminary stage right now. I’m working out the details. But it is there; the core idea, the concept to change the world!” This had repeated for five years as well.
“Let me guess: Nirvana, the end of hunger, the thwarting of the apocalypse, the coming of the apocalypse?”
“Of course not. I deal in the real and tangible. The practical. This is the most practical idea I have ever had, for after it, we barely need anything else.” Folak had heard this before as well. After five years of absolute impracticality he could only conclude that his friend was the most skilled pickpocket in the world, for how else could he still have any funding?

“With this we can solve the greatest challenge of humanity. Nature has already bowed before us. Or will soon. We control genetics, we control the weather, we control the very chemistry of the world. All that is left is us. We do not control ourselves. Now, we can.” This was new.
“What are you suggesting?”
“A perfect world! We will conquer the last barrier. No longer will we feel pain or grief or anger or sadness.”
In response Fritz pulled out a globe.
“See here?”
Dropping the globe, Fritz rummaged through his drawers, withdrawing a plastic brain.
“I’m not a neurosurgeon.”
“This is the emotional center. If we remove it, not just with surgery, but at the genetic level. We can tell future generations not to be afraid and filled with negative emotion. After I release this virus it will cure the world!”
“Of course. We still have so many negative emotions, the world would never accept the possibility of such a bright future. We cannot simply offer it to them; we must give it to them. I think it is a great irony that I used a modification of HIV, a virus spread by our base emotion and lust and irrationality, to spread emotionless rationality to the world.”

“It won’t work.”
“You doubt my science?” In truth, Folak doubted everything he ever said, for none of it ever came to anything productive and rarely was it even science.
“I doubt your philosophy. What good is a perfect world if we cannot feel it? If we cannot be happy, what is the point? Maybe we will be more efficient, but to what end? If we cannot feel pain or joy, how can we ever decide anything? We might one day decide that if nothing is good or bad, they maybe nothing isn’t bad.”
“Mass suicide? That’s absurd. The very idea is emotional, irrational.”
“Is it? It is our fear of death, our love of life, which motivates us to avoid death, to stay alive. Without emotion we may simply stand here doing nothing as a beast breaks into the lab and devours us. Without fear or pain, what do we care?”
“Absurd. You’re just being emotional and ridiculous. You are exactly why I had to make it a virus to spread and not just a pill to swallow. The world will not accept this gift, but it must! I will ensure that it does!” He was shaking and very red as he spoke these words. This worried Folak, for Fritz had drawn a small syringe from his pocket.

“In here is the future. A quick shot and the cure will spread to the entire world.”
“Get that thing away from me!”
“You? No it’s not for you. It is for me. I will take this and then I will go to where I can bless the world. I may feel a bit ill though, so I will need you to drive me.” With a quick motion he jabbed the needle into his arm. He shuddered and then slumped slightly. “It is faster than I expected. Take me to the homeless shelter. They will help me to spread it. Quickly, before I become entirely immobile from the transition.”

Fearing for his friend, Folak carried him to his car. Along the way his friend seemed to grow heavier and heavier as he carried himself less and less. Folak felt a warm touch on his arm and saw that the needle wound was bleeding. The blood was on him, on a scar he’d gotten during the previous of Fritz’s demonstrations. He shuddered as Fritz had and loaded him into his car. Starting the car, he began to head towards the hospital to seek help.

As he drove down the road he noticed that it required effort to press the accelerator. Why do that? It seemed pointless. What difference did it make? He didn’t need to go to the hospital. So he sat in his car. Why turn off the car? It made no difference. There was another car in the road, approaching. Why have hands on the wheel? It takes effort to do that. It is easier to lay them on the armrests. He watched as the other car swerved to avoid the now-veering car with the doctors. It was too slow. Folak didn’t care either way, but he did have some curiosity. What does death feel like? He didn’t like or dislike it. It simply was.


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