PUREBRED

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Some traits are more valuable than others.

Submitted: June 07, 2015

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Submitted: June 07, 2015

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“Myah, I’d like you to meet Ehron.”

I look at him, and he at me. The woman standing beside us smiles encouragingly and motions for us to shake hands, her movements twitchy like those of a rodent. Neither of us moves to touch the other. I study him and decide that he has not been chosen for his looks, which is fine. I have not been selected for my appearance either. Evidently the people behind the selections are learning: I was paired with a beauty of a boy just a year ago, and the results were the opposite of what was desired. Rather than beauty and brains, the baby was stupid and ugly. Bad genes on both ends.

But he, Ehron, is just like me. We are both small, and we are both unattractive. And we likely are both very intelligent. The chances of two brilliant mates producing an average baby are very slim, practically impossible. The breeders are beginning to pick up some tricks. The dull, smiling woman standing next to us is one such breeder, though she likely was not picked for her brains. Ehron, I’d noticed, seemed particularly interested in her legs as he followed her into the room.

Now, however, he is watching only me. It is unusual for me to be unable to read someone’s face, but his escapes me nonetheless. The breeder clears her throat and claps her hands together after realizing that Ehron and I have no intention to shake hands.

“Well, I suppose I’ll just let you two get comfortable,” she says after the silence becomes awkward. “Just buzz for me when you’re ready.”

Translation: when we’re done fucking.

Ehron and I both turn to watch her leave. The door slides shut behind her with a soft hiss, and then we are alone. I stare after the breeder for a few seconds before looking back at Ehron, who is staring at me. His eyes are bright behind his glasses. Bright and curious.

“This your first time?” he asks me.

"Third.”

He nods at this and offers me one of the ugly pleather chairs, which I gratefully sink into. I watch him kick off his shoes and sigh. There’s always a sort of monotony to these things: the introductions are made, the breeder leaves, and we get right down to it. In another life, it might humiliate me. Certainly it humiliated the boy before, the pretty boy with a head full of straw. He was a brilliant shade of vermilion throughout the encounter. Possibly he was concerned that word would get out that he mated with an ugly girl as a sort of experiment proposed by the breeders. Usually the handsome boys are only mated with the pretty girls so as to procure another generation of beauties. We were an attempt to merge the pretty and smart gene pools. Like I said before, it was a disaster. I imagine that the baby was sent to an orphanage with the other average children.

Much to my surprise, Ehron does not strip off the remainder of his clothes. True, he is lounging on the bed with his arms crossed behind his head, but he is clothed. I look at him and wonder what it is he is playing at. It’s unusual for anyone to hesitate during this sort of thing; usually we get it finished as quickly as possible so that we might go back to our regular lives. Ehron, however, looks ready to fall asleep. His eyes are already closed.

“Did she bother you?” he asks suddenly.

“Who?”

“The breeder.”

I shrug, then say aloud, “They all do.”

He cracks an eyelid at me. “Why?”

The faux leather squeaks beneath me as I shift in the chair, leaning forward until my elbows are braced against my knees. I consider his question. Why do I dislike the breeders so much?

“They’ve always struck me as pompous,” Ehron says before I’ve answered. “Pompous and arrogant.”

“That tends to happen when you fight nature.”

He pushes himself up from the pillows and looks directly at me, his glasses glinting in the harsh white light. We study each other. Ehron is built like a barstool: all long, scrawny legs and nothing to balance him out. Behind his glasses, his face is blotchy and broken out. I wonder what he is noticing about me.

“What was your name again?” he asks.

“Myah.”

“Let me ask you something, Myah. Do you believe in God?”

“What kind of a question is that?” I say.

Ehron pushes his glasses up his nose and says, “I’m going somewhere with it, I promise. So, do you?”

I look at him and fold my arms over my chest. “Not really.”

“It’s a yes or no question.”

“Why can’t I be placed somewhere in the middle?” I ask, frowning.

“Just for the sake of the topic.”

“Fine,” I snap. “No, I do not believe in God.”

He nods and sits back on the bed. I look at him, waiting for him to continue, but he simply closes his eyes again. After several minutes, I begin to wonder if he has fallen asleep after all. I debate getting up to fetch the breeder so that I might be paired with a less narcoleptic mate. The breeders wouldn’t protest: the process of weeding out bad genes means that sometimes I get to be picky. This very well might be one of those times. I’ve begun to stand when Ehron’s eyes jump open again.

“I thought you were asleep,” I say.

“Does it bother you that they’re breeding us?”

I blink at him. “Does it bother you?”

“Myah,” he says sternly. His glasses have slipped down his nose again, I notice. He looks very much like a little boy playing dress-up.

“Ehron,” I answer mockingly.

He doesn’t react to this, just says, “It’s bizarre, what they’re doing.”

“Why? Mendel did it with peas. Dog breeders have been doing it for centuries. It only follows the pattern that humans would start doing it to themselves eventually.”

“You said earlier that it was going against nature.”

I shrug. “It wouldn’t happen in nature, is what I meant.”

“No,” he says, sitting up again. “You specifically said that it was going against nature. Do you know anything about psychology?”

“Sure.”

“Then you know what our word phrasing says about us.”

We study each other carefully after he says this. Perhaps he is right and I do think, on some level, that the breeders are going against the natural order. Often I am impartial to it; the matings are just another chore to finish. Ehron is watching me intently, his eyes hard behind the lenses. The clock above us ticks twenty-two times before I finally answer:

“They want to believe that they’re making a better world.”

“And what do you believe?” Ehron asks.

I tilt my head at him and say flatly, “That they’re bringing about their own destruction.”

He nods at this and swings his legs off the bed so that we are fully facing each other. Up close, his skin is uneven and lumpy, though his eyes are wonderful. They could belong to one of the pretty boys were it not for the unmistakable intelligence in them. Once upon a time, it was possible for a person to be both attractive an intelligent. When they started breeding people for certain characteristics, however, the two pools separated and it grew to the point where you are either intelligent or attractive. Recent attempts to reconnect the two pools have imploded, as witnessed with the birth of my both physically unappealing and intellectually dull baby. The two lines are well on their way to becoming different species incapable of breeding.

“It brings about the question of what it means to be human,” I say aloud. “Soon we’ll be arguing over which side is the closest to the original homo sapiens.

“A whole new breed of segregation,” Ehron says.

“Clever.”

He smiles at me. It’s not a bad smile, though his two front teeth are titled ever so slightly in on each other. He continues, “You said that it will bring about our own destruction. What did you mean?”

“Purebreds. We’ll keep passing down the same bad genes over and over again, until every kid has my asthma and your acne.”

Ehron rubs at his face and says, “Half a world of nerds, all working together to further progress the science of human breeding. Maybe one day we’ll hatch from eggs.”

I laugh at this. “Better for me.”

He smiles again, but it fades quickly. “I suppose we’ll be similar to purebred dogs, then.”

I look down at my hands. He’s right, of course. Purebreds are often mated for a specific trait, which is all well and good if you ignore the fact that all the poor genes are passed down with the good ones. A dog might have wonderfully soft and dark fur, but it might also have a high susceptibility for cancer, or hip problems, or heart problems, or cataracts, etcetera, etcetera. Future generations of humans might be wickedly intelligent, or else inhumanly beautiful, but they will also have a greater chance of passing along HIV from mother to child, and of not passing along a tolerance for certain diseases.

“My prediction is that the population will die out within a hundred and seventy-five years,” I say, looking up again. “The human race will simply cease to exist. Extinct.”

Ehron sighs and takes off his glasses. “Well,” he says. “That’s bleak.”

I shrug. “We did it to ourselves.”

“I suppose you could say that we deserve it.”

“Sure.”

“In that case, then” Ehron says, leaning towards me to undo the buttons of my shirt, “we should probably help to speed up the process.”


© Copyright 2019 berktree. All rights reserved.

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