Authors: Alanna Markey
copyright © 2012 Alanna J Markey
my mother for encouraging me to pursue my dreams and remain courageous in the
face of doubt.
Monuments have been erected by enslaved disciples of this ideal striving to
bring forth a new era superior to the one at hand. Technological advancements
once invaded the lives of each and every being inhabiting this spherical globe
with the disclaimer that every loss of privacy, every step toward complete
exposure was a move to benefit mankind in its power-hungry quest to control
every aspect of its environment. Competition became an organism, pulsating and
blooming as the path towards the future was etched in the metallic implements
and concrete slabs that would ultimately plague humanity. This driving force, a
desire to outshine and undercut all other sentient beings, fueled the demise of
society as it was formerly known and ultimately generated a new system from the
shambles it left behind: a reformation.
clutch the plastic bucket frantically as a wave of nausea sweeps over me,
shaking me to my very core with a fierce cramping sensation. A guttural moan
escapes my chapped lips as I brace myself for another round of pain to pass through
my slight frame. This pale green artifact from another century is my life raft
as I am thrown about deep in the throes of sickness.
In a brief reprieve from intestinal
agony, I begin to contemplate the swirling pattern of dirt caked onto the
plastic, the result of multiple lifetimes spent servicing owners in various
stages of life.
Perhaps it once belonged to a successful
entrepreneur who relied on the diligence of his staff to wash and polish a
Or maybe it was a source of endless entertainment to a child
frolicking about on crystalline shores as frothing waves lapped at his
I am yanked from my reverie by
convulsions as my stomach tries desperately to rid itself of its pitiful contents.
I give in to its protests and plead that relief shall soon find me and drape
its silken arms over my weakened body.
Sunlight peeks in through my makeshift
curtains constructed from a patchwork of moth-eaten drapery and soiled linens.
Its warm kiss upon my cheek rouses me from a restless sleep. I can never rest
well after a bout of food poisoning, and last night was no exception.
I lift myself from the comfort of my
sunken hollow of a mattress perched precariously upon a cracking and splintered
wooden base. The matted carpet beneath my feet snags my big toe and I stumble,
almost collapsing on the ground. If I wasn’t awake before, I am now having
successfully provoked my lethargic reflexes into action.
I quit my bedroom and traverse the
dormitory hallway to reach the small, shared kitchen. There is hardly enough food
to support a group of this size, but we attempt to make do with our meager
rations. I settle for a wheat roll tinged blue with a hint of mold and continue
to the study.
Here I find my cohabitants bent over
battered textbooks, furiously scribbling notes and highlighting passages of
little importance. No one looks up from his or her studies to greet me.
I tuck myself neatly into the dilapidated
armchair leaking white wisps of stuffing onto the worn oak floorboards. Opening
my own text,
Biology of the Human Immune
the familiar crack of the spine and musty scent of the yellowing
pages immerses me in yet another day of revision.
Things were once different. The new system
was determined in a past no longer accessible to its descendants.
At the dawn of the 21
century, more individuals were completing secondary education degrees than ever
before. New college graduates were entering the workforce with a passion for invention
and a desire to build lasting careers for themselves that would enable
attainment of tangible material gains and rewards. Large mansions. New sports
cars. Shimmering jewels.
These aspiring students were socialized
into accepting particular professional paths as the means to achieve these
ends. Business, law, politics, engineering, and medicine were some of these
approved avenues. As time progressed, students eventually gravitated almost
exclusively towards these predetermined career options without considering the
arts and humanities as viable alternatives to satisfy an insatiable craving for
Everything changed with the collapse of
the economic system. As people scrambled to rescue themselves from the brink of
destruction, many disowned the previously profitable ventures of business and
law as career choices. These intellectuals instead turned to medical industries
as a means to secure lasting success and prosperity. Medicine was believed to
be an infallible field capable of persisting through any disasters mankind or
nature could throw at it. Regardless of environmental or societal conditions,
humanity would always require doctors to care for the population and prevent
the species’ demise.
With the influx of massive numbers of
bright young minds, medical schools had difficulty coping with the increased
burden at first. Eventually, the relentless beast of competition took care of
Students began feverishly studying in an
effort to best their peers in the face of classrooms bulging at the seams. Examinations
became more rigorous and detail-oriented in an effort to stratify the student
body into increasingly compartmentalized intellectual groups.
The pressure imposed on students as a
result of this combative environment resulted in disturbingly drastic actions
on the part of individuals struggling to remain above water amidst the violent
swell of continuous and scrupulous judgment. Cases of suicide grew exponentially,
and college campuses became repositories of depression and strife.
Others turned to performance-enhancing
drugs as a means by which to overcome the barrage of comparative evaluations
and a newly
developed derivative of caffeine that could be swallowed or injected directly
into the bloodstream to provide the user with limitless energy. These narcotics
enabled students to operate without sleep and with increased focus and
concentration, and their popularity encouraged the emergence of a dangerous
black market. Many faulty and haphazard replicas of these compounds were sold
primarily to middle and lower class students that could not afford the premium
prices of the pharmaceutical-grade drugs. As a result, these less financially
stable students frequently fell victim to poisoning through ingesting toxic
materials that killed many and permanently maimed others.
A social hierarchy already in place was
strengthened and reinforced since the wealthy were able to equip their
successors with the resources necessary to manipulate the system through deceit
and heightened pre-existing academic aptitude.
Soon the governmental framework began to
transform because the most prosperous and intellectually superior (on paper)
individuals were exclusively medical doctors. Thus, the chain of command became
a mere carbon copy of the stratified delegation of medical titles based on an
academic performance reflective of a socio-economic tier. The country was no
longer governed by a slick lawyer or businessman turned politician, but rather
the valedictorian of a prestigious medical academy. His cabinet of lackeys
consisted of brilliant doctors that had fought tooth-and-nail for a position of
authority obtained by climbing on the backs of peers to reach the pinnacle of
academic distinction reserved for the few cutthroat individuals finishing at
the top of their class.
The dominoes began to fall in succession
as social and biological evolution began to take root in the bosom of the human
race. Children became products of an environment that programmed them to
believe in the superiority of intellectually gifted individuals who demonstrated
this prowess through achieving unrivaled results in academia and earning
themselves power garnered through flimsy medical titles. Prosperity, and thus
happiness, was a reflection of academic performance that must be proven within
the sanctioned venue of medical schooling and education. Every child, even from
a young age, was conditioned to accept the progression from high school to a
medical collegiate program as an unquestioned fact of life to be observed.
Once in this hostile environment of
ruthless examination and comparison to others, many weaker minds were
eventually pruned from the societal human tree through mental breakdown and
even death. These socially estranged outcasts were relegated to the fringes of
civilization, unable to reproduce for lack of access to companions and doomed
to wait out their days in isolation.
Over time, the population came to consist
primarily of the socially lauded individuals that prioritized academic
excellence and continued to reap the reproductive advantages of titles directly
resulting from this mentality. Thus began the feedback loop that cemented
humanity in the throes of a competitive and vindictive academic cycle.
The global population fell rapidly
following the decline of economic prosperity that triggered an emergence of
medically focused academic training in combination with an ever increasing
number of individuals seeking stability through secondary education. The number
of mechanics and technicians declined rapidly, thereby allowing technologies
such as automobiles and metallic computers to rust and decay. Construction
workers no longer strived to repair the ruins of skyscrapers and domiciles, and
rubble began to crowd the streets with forgotten markers of eras since past. The
very competitive and power-hungry ambition selected for by the differential
success and reproduction of people based on intellectual achievement caused an
irreversible reconfiguration of the human psyche.
Men no longer
settled for the mundane, but rather acted exclusively on an insatiable craving
for material goods and intangible success documented in a few carefully
selected words denoting a title.
The most significant repercussions lay in
the production of food, a monotonous and unappreciated aspect of societal
functioning. This oversight had catastrophic consequences.
The emerging new government of medical
professionals failed to see the importance in protecting nature’s bountiful
gift to mankind, capable of sustaining its life force. As men flocked to
medical schools and left their posts on farms and in production facilities, a
famine plagued society. Hundreds of millions died, their emaciated bodies
lining the once glamorous streets of New York and Beverly Hills.