hotdensestate Posted August 2, 2010 Share Posted August 2, 2010 It's not the same as the one I've been talking about which is about something pretty different and is going to take like a month of polishing, but it IS sort of sci-fi, or at least, set in the future, and it IS also really short (like the one I've been talking about. But this is different. Different plot, different concept, deals with different things.). Erm, I guess I am just whoring it out for reviews now. I am probz gonna edit it some more but I'd like some criticizm yo. It's like less than 1000 words long so you bitches should read it, cuz it'll take like five seconds. (in other words PLZ GIVE ME REVIEWWWWSSS :bigcry:) Placebo Sara Sinback The Board of Health has formally halted the funding of all public antibiotic research in Mumbai, effective immediately. Civilians are not to be informed. Possibly the shortest statement ever given out by the Board, streamed to everyone's phones and notebooks; and it ended an era in Mumbai: not with a bang, but with a whimper, as they say. A collective sigh was emitted by those still remaining in their lab jobs, but nobody cried in the hallways that night, for most of us had already looked into jobs oversees or in other fields. “Shame they've finally given up,” Raj said casually at his station. “We're relics, Raj. We can't keep up with diseases anymore. To them it's useless to fund research on diseases that takes months. Nobody has months anymore.” “Ah, for the old days,” he yawned, stretching luxuriantly. “When a simple vaccine for a flu would earn you accolades, medals...” I flashed him a look. “Not accolades or medals. Respect from your colleagues, maybe. The public wasn't very grateful in those days.” He shrugged. “Don't blame me for my nostalgia. It's all we've got left.” He paused and took a bite of his tofu burger. “So, where are you going next?” I grinned wryly. “Switzerland.” “Nice. Funding there might last a while yet, you know.” “Yeah. We can hope.” I twiddled my pen for a few seconds, then asked, “You?” “I'm going into pharmaceuticals,” he said with a rougish grin, then picked up an official-looking bottle, with labels and warnings stamped all over it. “It's the only place where the money's at these days. Government's doing a lovely job of not letting anybody know that up-to-date vaccines are merely the wishful daydreams of undergrads these days.” “You're selling water.” “Salt water,” he corrected. "And come on. Vitamins too." A pause, then he said earnestly, "Face it, Pam, it's where the money's at. Don't diss the power of the placebo.” I said nothing. “Stamp a fancy name with enough Latin roots on the label and you've got yourself a legitimate drug that produces legitimate results. I went into this business to make people feel better, Pam. This is all we have left. People are sick out there. And this,” he held up the bottle, “has the power to stop them. Homeopathy works, dude.” And then he carelessly cracked open the bottle, spilling its contents all over his desk, and drained it dry, with a satisfied smack at the end. “I feel better already. And so will my patients.” He fiddled with the puddles of water with his finger. “I guess it's all we can give them,” I said dubiously. He glared at me. “It is these days, Pam. We've been fighting diseases and the diseases have won. That's all. We can't keep up with them. Testing drugs takes too long. By the time they're approved the disease has almost already moved on completely. Do you want to just kill off half the population to slow down the spread or something? Like it used to be?” I stiffened and glanced away. “No.” “Well then! People're gonna die. But for the people who may not die, we can help them with our meds! We have the technology!" I looked at him, baffled. "It's a reference," he sighed, then continued, "This is the only way to make them feel better. Not to mention it's where the real money's at. I bottled this at my grandmother's house and added salt from her table. And they think they're buying cutting-edge pharma! And that's the beauty of it.” “Well, they are,” I said drily. “This is cutting-edge pharma these days.” “Exactly.” He was almost done with the burger now. “You know, say what you like about fast food, but this is damn good stuff.” Awkwardness. “It's just a scam, though!” I finally exclaimed. A reproving glance from Mr. Scamming-for-Science. “Not a scam. Proven in trials not to be a scam. It works.” “But it's lying!” “But it works.” “But...” it's lying!!, I almost said, before mentally slapping myself. “Don't you...” He looked at me expectantly and I changed my mind. “Nevermind.” But then I changed my mind again. “Don't you hope that we'll have another breakthrough? Science has breakthroughs, you know. We might be due for another,” I said, smiling wanly. “Have faith...” He scoffed. “Faith. Don't make me laugh. You're too philosophical, Pam. Like I said, I want to make people feel better. And I'm going to. Maybe they'll even be a little better, if what they have isn't too serious." I didn't know how to respond. He was going to, after all. The placebo effect was, on average, more helpful than the drugs we spend billions of dollars on concocting these days. In technicality, placebo is more potent than an average “real” treatment. (And still nobody knows quite why. The brain, and of course in turn, our bodies, act differently on suggestions from authority, but we still don't know why. That's the crux of it, for me.) (Raj is right. I am too philosophical.) I paused. After a while, I added with awkward brightness, “I'll chat with you in Switzerland.” “Yeah! We should stay in touch,” he said cheerfully. Of course we wouldn't. The easier it's gotten for people to “stay in touch,” the less and less they've done so. Social niceties are no more meaningful in an era where we could simulate a legitimate meeting than when kids moving away from each other would promise to stay pen-pals. And I didn't even like Raj very much anyway. (The fact that he was going into selling snake-oil, as we in our technical chemical parlance call it, didn't exactly make me more affectionate, either.) “I'm leaving,” I finally said, grabbing my stuff and stuffing it into my purse. “Bye! Listen. We really should stay in touch. Maybe meet in London for some pasta or something.” He winked. He actually winked. Lecherous creature. On the way home I bought a bottle of antidepressants, hormone boosters, not keeping up with evolving bacteria strains and therefore in one of the last family of drugs that “worked” – but since the government started turning a blind eye to how drugs were marketed, I couldn't even know if they “worked” in the biological sense, unless I mixed them myself, and I was far too lazy to do that today. Sighing, I popped a few in my mouth and swallowed. I could feel the mojo working already. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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