Sunday, April 29, 2012

The End of Hunger

The End of Hunger
                They’ve done it, local botanists solved the problem of hunger! Ludzu can now grow anywhere without human care. The highly nutritious plant can flourish all throughout the Earth with little to no tending. They’ve spliced genes from the prosperous Kudzu plant with genes from Lima beans.  The lime green plant grows to epic proportions in less than a week. The fruit of this remarkable plant can feed a family for a week, the vine can feed them for two. The poor can now feed off of the ever flowing vine to ameliorate their hunger.
                However, combating one problem soon led to another. Ludzu grew to one hundred feet in height, could it be eaten fast enough? The towering vine soon blotted out the sun, climbing trees, choking them out and reaching even higher. Low flying transporters had difficulty circumventing the heaven reaching vines and had to weave and dodge.  Green expanses over took and conquered many of the crafts, parked at their space ports, sealed in. The vines had an uncanny ability to work their way into buildings and structures. People armed with chain saws and torches fought back the vines, clearing the area for maybe a day or two, the vines always grew back. Scientist contemplated importing a herbivorous beetle to wipe out the plant, but then what would that do to combat hunger?
                The plant didn’t grow too well in Africa, something about the sweltering conditions didn’t allow it to reach the same size as crops in America. When leaders and scientists got wind of this, they saw it as an opportunity. Soon the vine was chopped up and shipped overseas. Crate after crate of the massive plant filled up cargo planes and boats. 
The gift of Ludzu made its inventor very rich. He bought yachts and mansions. He purchased fleets of space crafts. It was said that he even had a house on the moon. He was dubbed the savior of his time, creating something glorious that ended one of the world’s problems. But he was unhappy, even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He became a miser and a shut in, shying away from public attention and fanfare. He was now the J.D Salinger of his time, cursing his innovation for creating his horrible life. People came to visit him, fellow scientists and innovators. He always sent them away.
Then one day, a certain visitor came to see him, he sent him away as usual. But this man was different. He said to the inventor:
“My name is Mutumbo, I was raised in a small village in Ethiopia. My neighbors were starving, I was starving. We never had enough food for everyone, our meager rations went to the young, but that was still not enough. Then one day, a transport landed in a field down the path from our hut. We slowly approached it, not understanding what it was or had for us. A hatch opened and down walked two pale faced men. They each carried a box and placed them on the ground next to the transport. They unloaded more boxes. Soon the entire transport was unloaded and they pried open the boxes. Inside were nutrition bars of Ludzu, a plant, we learned, that came from America, from your lab. From that day forward we had food every day. I want to thank you sir.” He extended his hand to the biologist, who immediately shook it and hugged the man from Africa.
The man’s story touched him, he donated much of his money to fellow researchers and went back into the lab to find more answers to solve life’s problems. The biologist went on to cure cancer and AIDS. His work will never be forgotten, even after he dies.         

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Brink Part 2

The Brink Part 2
                Titus continued to look out the window for the entire trip. His hot breath occasionally fogging up the window, he wiped it off with his sleeve. The man in the seat next to him was sleeping the entire time. The doctor told Titus that it would take twelve hours to reach the moon. From there it was another two hours by low flying transport to reach the Brink. Titus couldn’t wait, he was excited to be going to the best facility, I suppose in the universe, for mentally ill people.
                He thought about talking to new shrinks, having to tell them all the same crap again. He had a good childhood, he didn’t take any recreational drugs, but he does hit the bottle fairly hard. Even at that moment of thought he took a swig of his thermos of whisky that he happened to smuggle on. He continued to take drink after drink from his thermos until he felt the rocket spinning. He couldn’t tell if that was the alcohol or if the rocket was actually spinning. He then passed out.
                Titus woke up to Dr. Mars standing over him. “We’re here!” Titus stood up and quickly noticed the reduced presence of gravity. “You’ll need this oxygen mask. It might be difficult to breathe without it. We still haven’t come up with creating a breathable atmosphere. One of the moon’s challenges, but we’ll figure it out.” Said the doctor.
                The first few steps that Titus took were exaggerated and clumsy, he was still drunk. He made his way to the elevator. Other’s boarded into it and soon Titus was surrounded by the chattering, yet silent, masses.
                He couldn’t get off the elevator fast enough. He tripped over his own feet and soon floated to the ground. Dr. Mars helped him up. “You haven’t been drinking have you? I’m just joking around, everyone has trouble their first time. Just pretend you’re a baby and taking your first steps. It’s ok to fall down.” Titus looked around, surveying the moon’s rocky terrain. It was just about how he pictured it, full of craters. There were no clouds, the sky was black, but sunlight still penetrated.
                The transport flew in and landed near the rocket. The patients boarded in, slowly making their way up the steps. Once again Titus had a window seat. The ride was pretty smooth, the transport stayed pretty low to the ground. During the trip an argument between two guys broke out. They were yelling then shoving. One of them tried to punch the other but his fist fell slowly, causing no damage. This act of violence scared Titus. He’s never been in a fight, or even seen one. He trembled in his seat and fought back tears. Dr. Mars came over to him: “sometimes that happens, Titus, people fight. A lot of our patients are volatile and aggressive. They mis-hear something or perceive something that isn’t true. I guess I’m used to the violence, I see it every day. But we’ll fix it. The patients are always raw when they first come in.”
                Titus soon felt better. He reasoned it out in his head, these people are just sick, they need help. He looked to one of the aggressive men and heard something: “you aren’t so tough; I’ll get you before you know it.” This happened just like in the elevator. He heard people talking even though their lips weren’t moving. It must just be the paranoid portion of his disease, but it didn’t seem like the man was talking to Titus. Maybe the doctor will be able to figure it out.      

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Brink Part 1

The Brink
                It was a foggy, hazy morning when Titus Andromeda traveled to the Brink. He packed light, a fleece (for cold days) and jersey (for warm days) and a rusty thermos containing the cheapest Irish whisky he could find. The doctors told him to only bring himself, everything else would be covered.  He drove his rust holed Buick to the launch site. You would think with all his money he would be driving something better.
                The carefully selected members of the Brink would have to wait for a rocket ship to launch them to the facility which is located on the moon. The year is 2030 and Earth isn’t much different than it is today. One of the main differences is the colonization of the moon. The largest corporations in the world bid to have their subdivisions be the first ones built on the moon, where the only competition would be the best companies, which there is really only one. That one would have to be the first on the moon and in that case, there would be no competition. They would have a monopoly. Some of the lucky few were Nike, Pfizer, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and 3M. The government built a special mental health facility called the Brink. Their motto is: “a diseased mind is an idle mind; we can cure the disease and put the idle to work.” That’s what they did, they were the best.
                Titus Andromeda suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. The Brink is his last hope. He tried the other facilities on Earth. His billionaire parents sent him to the best psychiatrists in the world but they couldn’t help him. His disease was slightly different, still schizophrenia, but a different variety.
                He made it to the launch site and parked his car. He got out and looked around. The rocket was fire engine red and stood tall like a sky scraper. Running down the side of it were columns of windows and a white stripe. A man in a white coat walked over to Titus:
                “You must be Titus Andromeda, I recognize you from the pictures your parents sent.” Said the doctor as he removed his glasses and cleaned them on his coat, polishing the thick lenses, cleaning them with his hot coffee breath. He extended his hand to Titus: “I’m Dr. Mars, nice to meet you.”
                “Hello doctor.” Said Titus, a man of few words. It was difficult to engage in conversation for him when he thinks everyone is against him, he never feels completely comfortable.
                “Right this way, you’ll board the rocket from the elevator here, when you reach the second floor drop your belongings into the compartment to your left.” The doctor said. “I’ll meet you there and we can tour the rocket before lift off. Your seat is 201, lucky for you, yours is a window seat. Trust me, there’s nothing to be nervous about, these rockets are 100% safe.” 
                Titus made his way into the large elevator crammed with about a dozen other patients. He didn’t like small, crowded, places. Hopefully the elevator ride won’t be too long. He hummed to himself to keep his cool. He felt like people were talking about him but when he looked around, no one was talking.
                The elevator reached the second floor and Titus got out. Dr. Mars was there to meet him. He showed him around the floor just as the fasten seatbelts light came on. “No time for tours now, we’re just about to lift off, leave Earth. You’ll be under our care for one year. I hope you don’t mind being away from your friends and family for that long. Trust us, you’re in good hands. We’ll have you right as rain in no time.” The doctor said as he gave Titus a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Just then Titus heard a deafening roar, he looked out the window and saw huge clouds of smoke leave the base of the rocket. He could make out his Buick in the distance.