In the Far Future, Billy Experiences the Most Powerful Drug Known to Man1 min read
They call it the “pleasure center” of the brain and
Billy’s is flooded with norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin.
This is the chemical equivalent of the robot hiker
programmed last month to hike Everest in two hours,
climbing directly up the mountain, piston-legs driving
ice-pick heels, arms gyrating, all the news networks broadcasting
with a techno overlay. One hour, fifty-six minutes later and more
fissile fuel than you like to think, and the robot hiker is
frozen solid, dead, about a hundred feet from the peak.
He is born for this, Billy is, born to be near a happiness
just over the next horizon. Born to freeze solid just before he reaches it.
This happiness is all he thinks about. Fusion Man comics sit unread
on his desktop. He lays in bed texting. Flood after drought after
flood after drought hits his pleasure center.
He sinks slowly into the forming-foam and
envisions himself gone, envisions on his bed a Billy-shaped crater.
Somewhere far away, an errant electron leaps improbably into
the wrong location, and one of the power plant’s particle generators
hiccups, experiences temporary quantum failure.
Billy’s house loses power and he is plunged into utter darkness
and he does not care. His phone is still lit for one thing, and anyway
she illuminates his inner vision with her cold light, her smile
alternately freezing and thawing his poor, stuttering heart.