Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Oblivious and Beyond
By Linda Germain
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Dr. Byron Zabubbet thought he was dreaming until cold water hit him in the face.
“Wha…Hey stop it,” he sputtered.
Rogi was a small, homely, backward man with extra thick eyeglasses. He put down the pail and clapped his pudgy hands. “You must hurry, Doctor. Something is happening to the formula!”
The exhausted science genius ran down the secret steps to a place of private experiments. His faithful cohort clomped along behind as fast as his bowlegs would carry him.
The taller of the two burst into the lab in time to watch what he expected to be a bubbling blue substance race through a labyrinth of tubes exactly the way it should have – except it was red.
“ We did it, Rogi, we did it! Some day all of humanity will thank us for this miracle.”
Doctor Zabubbet had created what he called <i>Smarto-Juice</i>. He was positive its consumption would revolutionize the whole planet. The fact that no pharmaceutical, educational, or governmental agencies were interested did not stop his passion to convert plodders and n’er-do-wells into productive <i>thinking machines</i>. He figured the stuff was so potent even old Rogi might be broadsided with an original idea.
“Has the transport phase kicked in?” He had to yell over the noise from the massive, sophisticated equipment.
“Yes, Boss. I pushed the button when I saw what was happening-- just like you told me.”
A huge garage-like door opened to reveal two tanker trucks being filled with thousands of gallons of the doctor’s behavior-changing formula.
The self-appointed, unofficial modifier of the questionable human condition implemented a complicated plan to infuse water and food supplies with the <i>supplement to end all supplements</i>. It would be too late to thwart its effects by the time the <i>mistake to end all mistakes</i> was discovered.
In a few weeks, BeeZee, as Byron had been called as a child, began to get a nagging feeling that the experiment was going awry. He called his father, a revered professor at a prestigious Ivy League college.
“Hello, Dad. How’s the text book on quantum physics and black holes coming along?”
His usually precise and articulate parent said, “Huh?”
“Are you okay, Sir? You sound different.”
“Never been better my boy. Your mother and I are going away. This stuffy university is cramping our style.”
Byron was shocked. He wasn’t even sure if his parents knew what <i>style</i> was, much less if it was being cramped. “Dad, I’m coming up there –tonight.”
Something was eerily wrong. The unfamiliar sound of his father on the phone singing <i>99 bottles of something-or-other in the wall</i> made the young scientist bolt for his old Ford and speed to his staid childhood home. It was nearly midnight but the lights were on. Someone was playing the piano and someone else was dancing.
He stopped to get a better look through the picture window. “ Whoa! I didn’t realize Mother knew how to Charleston…and she’s barefoot.”
When his younger sister opened the door she grabbed his arm and began to talk like a crazed magpie.
“Me and Freddy from over at the shoe factory is eloping and then we’re gonna live with his daddy in back of the gun shop, but only ‘til the baby is born and then maybe Mum and Da will be back from that island place. Oh yeah, come look at the color I painted my room. It’s kind of like watermelon.” She furrowed her brow as if thinking was almost too painful. “Uh, wait …what’s that other thing we eat at breakfast that’s round?”
She paused and stared into his horrified eyes as he whispered, “Cantaloupe?” Satisfied, she rushed off to her appointment with an overdue emotional meltdown. That convinced him the formula’s red color was more important than he had first thought.
B.L. Zabubbet, brilliant academic who was sure he knew the answers for an imperfect world, single-handedly changed the course of human events. What he thought was <b>smart</b>, was just the opposite. Until his death in 2007, he made a half-hearted effort to document the amazing downward spiral of good sense, integrity, motivation, love of God and neighbor, fidelity, and anything else clean and decent.
He renamed the formula <b>DIPOOTS</b>, which is <b>STOOPID</b>, the other way. It may be where we get the term DIPSTICK.
His own small taste of the red stuff caused a significant decline in his ability to spell, but by then he didn’t really care. Who would even notice?
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