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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: Dr. Krebnitz's Moment of Glory
By Jan Ackerson


Dr. Zoltan Krebnitz peered over his spectacles at the white-coated scientists gathered in his lab. He willed his racing heart to slow. In moments, his years of dedication and toil would finally pay off, and the world would at last recognize his genius. A flush colored his cheeks.

With a triumphant gleam in his eyes, Krebnitz launched into his presentation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, since time immemorial, certain questions have disturbed the sleep of nearly every human. Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? For centuries, we have searched for answers, but philosophy and religion have provided only superstition and empty platitudes. The answer, my esteemed colleagues, is in science.”

With a flourish, Krebnitz lifted a cloth from a nearby table, revealing a small instrument which resembled a fountain pen.

“This is the PEN—the Purpose Evaluation Nodule. Inside this PEN are thousands of microscopic nanites, programmed to enter painlessly into a subject’s brain. Once inside, the nanites examine every axon and dendrite, every actual and potential neural connection. When finished, they send a signal back to the PEN, which displays the result—the subject’s true purpose—through a wireless signal onto any computer monitor.

A few scientists stepped in for a closer look at the device. One started to ask a question, but Krebnitz stopped him.

“Please, allow me to demonstrate. All questions will be answered shortly.”

Krebnitz picked up a small, transparent box. “Within this box is a single mosquito. Haven’t we all wondered why mosquitoes are here? Observe!”

The scientist inserted the PEN into a valve in the container. A hiss could be heard. Seconds later, a nearby monitor flashed the words:


A few scientists laughed.

Krebnitz made his way to a series of small cages. “Let us move on to a more interesting specimen, shall we?” He took a lop-eared rabbit from its cage, and pressed the PEN to its neck. One of the scientists gasped. “Don’t worry—the PEN is absolutely painless.”

After a few suspenseful moments, the monitor displayed four words:


Everyone grinned; a few scientists nodded and took notes. Krebnitz chuckled; he knew that result would amuse the assemblage. Passing over several cages, he opened the last one and allowed a small gray cat to leap into his arms. “Are you ready, my little Igor?” The cat purred loudly, and once again the PEN hissed. The monitor blinked almost immediately.


Krebnitz placed the cat back into its cage and faced his audience, nearly dancing with excitement. His moment of glory was at hand.

“So, there we have it. Surely you can have no doubt as to the validity of this device, after such a convincing demonstration! Now, as the inventor of the PEN, I will use it for the first time on a human subject—myself. Soon, you will all see the purpose of my life. Imagine, if you will, the possibilities for the world. People everywhere, living fully realized lives—no more unsatisfying jobs or fruitless relationships! One use of the PEN, and we all will be able to discover our own meaningful, purposeful, productivity!”

With that, Dr. Krebnitz pressed the PEN to his skin.

All eyes were drawn to the monitor. The cursor blinked for an agonizing minute.

“Don’t worry at the delay, my friends!” Krebnitz held out his hands in a reassuring gesture. “The human brain is a very complex organism!”

Finally, the display lit up:


There was a collective intake of breath from the gathered scientists. Krebnitz paled.

“I’m so sorry…there must be a mistake…let me try again. Would any of you be a willing subject? I assure you, there can be no harm.”

A scientist stepped out of the group and gestured for Krebnitz to apply the PEN. Again, every head turned toward the computer.


Krebnitz’s hands were trembling now. “Can’t be…must recalibrate…years of research…” He dropped the PEN onto the table and hurried out of the laboratory, muttering.

The scientists watched as the door closed behind Krebnitz, then turned to look at the PEN. One of them picked it up, examined it, shook it a bit, then pressed it into his neck. Another took it from his hand, and soon each of them had taken a turn. Again and again, the PEN hissed. Again and again, the monitor blinked.


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This article has been read 1886 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Folakemi Emem-Akpan06/01/06
Can you hear me clapping? Not only is this story a light read, it also carries a very important message: WE WERE MADE TO GLORIFY GOD. I wish i was there to see the scientist's face as he discovered his PURPOSE. But I do wish there was something like PEN. It would save a lot of us headaches and fruitless years trying to find our purpose in life.
Just joking. God made it so that we always return to him in seeking our purpose in life.
Thanks for sharing. Hope it places.
DeAnna Brooks06/01/06
This should be read each morning, before a single foot touches the floor. If we did, we'd be one of the "People everywhere, living fully realized lives—no more unsatisfying jobs or fruitless relationships! Using the PEN each morning, we all would discover our own meaningful, purposeful, productivity!
Sherry Wendling06/01/06
Brilliantly satisfying sci-fi sermon! TO GLORIFY GOD...and of course, to enjoy Him forever. I'm hooked!
Jen Davis06/02/06
Loved it! This story is creative, funny, intriguing, and very on topic. A real delight to read and if that is not enough—it is very well written too!
Rita Garcia06/02/06
Delightful, creative! "To glorify God." YES!
terri tiffany06/02/06
Wow!! This was wonderful! Very creative work here!! One of my favorites for imagination and meaning!!!
Venice Kichura06/03/06
Now that's what I call a creative entry! This should score high.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/03/06
Very creative story! I love it!
Sue Dent06/04/06
Even if it doesn't score high, it scored high with me! OMG! I was drawn in, waiting for some silly response from the PEN about everyone's purpose. Thought of all the books out there on the subject and then read on as you brought it back around to the truth of the matter . . . to glorify God! HA Great stuff!!!
Martin Strom06/04/06
Very clever! :)
Maxx .06/04/06
wow, Jan, can't you give the rest of us a chance? lol! I think you might have won with this piece except for one fatal error. Cats: To bring joy to humans? Cats bring no joy! They're misery! You really should fact check before you write! ;-) Kidding aside. Msterfully written. You'll score well as you hit in every judging catagory. Another well done piece. Excellent.
Jessica Schmit06/04/06
Ok, where to begin...

Jan, you're a liar. Yes, you heard me a LIAR! And it looks like you're going to have to buy brownies once again. I'll be at 7-11 picking up the diet cokes. Yes, it's great. I don't know what you were thinking calling this one "horrible." It was wonderful. You nailed the topic. Fabulous job!
T. F. Chezum06/04/06
Excellent and creative. "To Glorify God" ... definitely tops on my list this week.
George Parler 06/04/06
Excellent, brilliant, fantastic, creative... it's just a great heart warming, affirming read. Thank you.
Ann Grover06/04/06
Excellent, Jan... and brilliant as always.
Lynda Lee Schab 06/05/06
Bravo! Bravo! Wonderfully and cleverly written - AS ALWAYS! Every week you confirm your brilliance as a writer. This one had it all - particularly a bold message, relayed in a non-preachy way. Awesome!
Rachel Rudd 06/05/06
Wow!!! I love this!! With two agnostic brothers, I was totally engrossed! Wonderfully written, Jan!
Dara Sorensen06/05/06
Amazing as always! Such a creative piece, I would have never thought of something like this. I see this placing in EC for sure!
James Clem 06/05/06
Great job Jan! This was fun! Zoltan Krebnitz - very creative. I hope this does make the book.
Joanne Malley06/05/06
My gosh - to get into your brain! You're a creative genius. What more can I say? Loved it. :) Jo
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/06/06
This is so clever. Great job. I loved it.
Edy T Johnson 06/06/06
This is so clever! I hope you get it published so many more can have the pleasure of reading it! Thanks!
Suzanne R06/07/06

As a child at an Anglican school, every week, we had to recite the catechism. "What is man's chief end? To enjoy God and glorify Him forever." Your story would have made the message sink in much better!

Perfectly on topic, extremely well written, entertaining with a real message - wow.
Rachel Rudd 06/08/06
You go girl! (heehe...lady) Congratulations! I'm so glad that this gets in the book. It's excellent and a well-deserved win!
Jessica Schmit06/08/06
Well Jan. I can see why you hated this entry. it really sucked. LOL. Congrats!!!!!!!! So proud. We can actaully celebrate with brownies together this week. I didn't think that would ever happen! LOL
Sharlyn Guthrie06/08/06
Congratulations! This is a great, entertaining story, right on target with the topic!
Sherry Wendling06/08/06
Congratulations, Jan! So glad this piece won; it was going around in my mind all week. Your creativity is absolutely inspiring! Paint me green.
Sally Hanan06/08/06
Very clever lesson on our purpose Jan, and of course, your writing always brings the visuals in so well. Congrats!
Shari Armstrong 06/08/06
Love it!!!
Debbie OConnor06/09/06
Woo Hoo! What a great entry. Jan, you blow my mind. That was FUN and packed with meaning.
Debbie OConnor06/09/06
My nine year old daughter likes this too. She didn't understand why the scientists didn't want to glorify God, though. :)
Crista Darr06/09/06
Oh wow, Jan! What a creative mind! Excellent message. You're a living example of fulfilling your purpose to glorify God - with your PEN.
Sheri Gordon04/26/08
Wow--this is incredible. What a powerful message. I love that science turned on the scientists. If only...