Jenni Clarke - Author
Cole is a dreamer in a future world, where choice is not an option.
‘Always the last.’ Cole glances at Spindle.
‘Always stating the obvious.’ Spindle shakes his head. ‘Our number hasn’t changed from birth. Why would it be any different now?’
‘Because today is a momentous occasion. Today we throw away childhood and become…’ Cole picks the skin around his nails.
‘Adults.’ Spindle stares at Cole’s hands. ‘Do you have to do that?’
‘What do you want to be?’
‘Whatever the nanobots decide, they’ll know my strengths.’ Spindle shrugs.
‘Yes, but, what if you could choose?’
‘Choose?’ Spindle narrows his eyes. ‘An outlandish, old-fashioned idea.’
Cole sighs. ‘Humour me. I doubt you and I will ever meet again.’
‘For the last time, I will pay your childish games.’ He frowns. ‘I would choose to be a medical, nano- engineer.’
Cole leaps from his seat and paces the room. ‘A surgeon. In the old days, you’d have wielded a laser, and cut people open, blood pooling around organs as you fought to cauterize, remove and replace flesh and bones.’ He mimed his words, with relish.
Spindle flinches. ‘You’re disgusting, that’s barbaric. I’m so glad I was born sixteen years ago, and not six hundred.’
Cole stops moving. ‘I’m not.’ He shakes his head. ’People had freedom of choice, back then. Don’t you think you’d be happier if you could make decisions about what to eat, wear, do?’
Spindle chuckles. ‘Cole, you’re such a clown. Humans have evolved beyond choice. Choice creates chaos.’
‘Chaos is the birthplace of creativity. Creativity is how humans evolve. No chaos and we stagnate.’
‘Cole.’ Spindle glances around the room. ‘You go too far. Sit down and tell me what you would be if you could choose.’
Cole sits down and scratches his head. ‘I want to be myself, and I’d like to be the first human to step onto a new planet. I want to breath fresh air, walk on soil with my bare feet, and swim in a sea full of creatures and plants.’ His eyes shine, and he laughs.
‘You’re crazy. Breath fresh air? The nanobots would need to adjust your lungs.’ Spindle shivers. ‘Swim in water? Do you know how many bacteria would invade your body?’
Green light flashes above the door opposite their seats.
Spindle stands. He holds his palm vertical. Cole mirrors the action.
‘Goodbye, Cole. You’re crazy, but I kind of hope the nanobots agree with your choice.’ He walks through the open door.
‘Bye, Spindle.’ The door closes.
He wipes a solitary teardrop away. ‘There are no jobs. Not even for you, clever Spindle.’
The green light flashes.
Cole walks through the door. A cup and a couch await him. He lifts the drink, trying to glimpse the particle-sized robots who will determine which mundane job he will do until he dies. He swallows the liquid in one gulp. His eyes roll. Mumbling, he slumps back on the couch.
‘Cole. Push this button, repeatedly.’ Spindle sighs and turns away. ‘Why do I always get the idiots.’
Cole whispers. ‘Chaos, creativity, me.’
Fiction - What do you want to be ?
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