| In the test tube a mixture swirled with tremulous light.
“Tell them-“spoke the scientist.
A wrinkled man with gleaming eyes leaned forward eagerly- excited by the exposed secrets in the tangible gloom of the laboratory.
“Tell them that the solution is available for distribution,” said the scientist. She glanced up at the eager man and clicked her pen once, twice, in rapid succession. Irritation and boredom danced across her mouth.
The man’s eyebrows shot up in interest. This was wonderful news. He nodded once and turned on his heels, hesitant to leave the precious sanctity of the lab. But he had to retrieve the committee.
Outside the air was heavy with heat and reluctance, as if the air knew what unspoken promises the luminescent mixture in the laboratory held. The wrinkled man shuffled forward on the road to the committee’s headquarters. Too soon, he arrived.
“The solution is ready for distribution,” he repeated dutifully while peeking into the pristine white of the main room.
A clamor of ebullient cheers erupted, because at last distribution day was near. The committee of men made their way to the laboratory to view the miracle themselves.
“Are we sure of this?” one asked the scientist upon arriving. All were seated at an oblong table, fervent and bright eyed.
“We can never be sure, but it has to be done. We can monitor the progress for the first month on a test group before disseminating the product for mass inoculations,” the scientist replied with four quick clicks of her pen.
“And what are the plans for injection? What effects will the subjects undergo?”
Two slow clicks and two hasty clicks of the pen were the scientist’s first response.
“We insert the solution at the base of the skull, at the junction with the vertebral column- straight into the cerebral spinal fluid. It will be painful but quick. Subjects should show the effects within an hour. Tests of increasing difficulty will be administered over the course of the trial to determine the extent of our accomplishment,” she continued with several more clicks.
“So it’s settled then. Within two months, if no adverse affects are noted, the world will finally be literate!” a balding man with owlish eyes gloated.
“We can guarantee literacy, yes. But—“
But none of the committee was acknowledging the scientist any longer. The prospect of worldwide literacy, of worldwide intellect, was simply too electrifying.The scientist clicked her pen anxiously. One, two, three, four. They weren’t listening and she had an important point to make. One, two, clicks more sounded in her quiet, fretful corner. They had to know the possible long-term repercussions. She had had a dream, a silly dream, but it was plausible enough. From her hand one, two, three, four clicks echoed her thoughts.
The head of the committee stood and made his way to the test tubes, where the concoction swirled enticingly.
“We’ll be taking this now. There’s a surgeon lined up to administer it tonight,” he said.
“But you have to—“the scientist insisted, but was cut short.
“But nothing. This is a trial, and we won’t have you stall it anymore.” The leader raised his hand in dismissal and left the laboratory with the remaining committee in tow. The door swung shut with his departure and the scientist gasped as a sliver of her dream caught in the receding light.
The people sat in their houses, all work done, with their excess intellect languid in their heads. Under the sun, their new high arcs of graceful steel and glass caught the light in a metallic smirk as if to say “However-“