Saturday, 1 December 2012

Science fiction


I was just taking a rest on the Maldive Islands, drinking wine with peals and treating myself with caviar. My diamond necklace was shining in the sun and two muscular youngsters were giving me a foot massage.

Harold came in and announced the arrival of my guest. I nodded in confirmation. I was expecting this visit. There he was, an agent of Monsanto, in an attempt to bribe the scientists. That is, me.

I am just a neurobiologist, but as an amateur writer I am enormously influential. For example, I publish essays in the internet and in the university newspapers. It is wise, thus, to ensure my loyalty.

I didn’t intend to sell myself cheap. I needed another Mercedes in my limousine collection, and my cat was addicted to shrimps. Anyway, when taking bribes, one must preserve some class. A box full of cigars is good for a MSc student. I am close to my PhD, so I must price myself appropriately.

Of course there are limits. I’d have to be a full professor to demand a private Boeing.

The agent came in, dressed in a black suit, black leather shoes and black sunglasses. He also had a sinister moustache. We have discussed for almost an hour and finally came to an agreement. A suitcase full of money had a new owner. I like cash. It isn’t very classy, but at least it gives some freedom.

I told Harold to bring champagne.

Next, I was visited by a leader of an environmental organization, who gave me diamonds to ensure that I support the hypothesis of global warming. Then, another ecologist, who wanted me to talk about dying coral reefs. Two guys from Big Pharma - one wanted me to recommend his vaccines and another, his new chemotherapeutics. It made me shiver for a while. After all I still have some conscience and it bothers me to recommend chemicals, while everybody knows that a chickpea seed stuffed under your skin cures cancer.

But who cares anyway. As a scientist I am already very depraved. I’ve just asked the pharma guy one question, to tease him a little.

- Mr… how was your name? Mr. Evil? How come you have this much money to bribe us all? Only the San Diego conference hosted thirty thousand people, and these are just neurobiologists. There are much more groups in cancer research and microbiology. Even my field, which is quite niche, is occupied by several competing teams. I know you earn a buckload on drugs, but you have also to spend them on the distribution, clinical trials, licenses, even on the boxes…

- Madame - he replied. - We don’t have to worry about mere economy. As we all know, killing people is a lucrative business. For every cadaver Satan himself gratifies us with diamonds, cocaine and rare radioactive elements.

I thought about it for a while. Then I told Harold to bring more caviar.

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