For Lack of a Cure

Somewhere, some when, far in distance and time, Herbert lived in utopia. He wasn’t particularly happy but at least he was modest. Every day the sun rose and the people greeted each other with sweet authentic welcome. They lived their lives integrally working towards a better tomorrow. Each had their place and each had their duty. Herbert knew his place and preformed his duty well enough. However, Herbert could feel that something was coming, something bad.

Herbert knew this for what it was: insanity. Plain and simple, bad things didn’t happen anymore. They hadn’t happened for three hundred years. He saw dark clouds coming, yet meteorology was perfected four hundred years ago. It only ever lightly drizzled at 2 -3 pm. He would flinch when a retailer took out a price gun despite the fact that medical science had made bullets and all conventional weapons basically non lethal. The doctors called it paranoia, the treatments of which were lost to the ages.

A man apart from the rest of society, Herbert felt lonely and miserable. He knew unhappiness, cruelty and hate. He did not know them well but better than any other person alive. From time to time, when a dispute broke out he would feel glee, hoping a combatant would descend to his dumb little plateau. They always managed to come back to peace and Herbert was left behind feeling a little lonelier ever time.

Day by day, year by year, Herbert found guilty petty little pleasures that curbed his dark desires. Mainly he tied shoelaces together although sometimes he would indulge in falsely advertising free candy. He grew a myth about him that painted him as a dastardly malevolent force. Lying about free candy became a sin and tying shoelaces together became blasphemy. Anyone caught doing either was met with a stern disapproving glare. It was the harshest condemnation available.

One day Muffy, a coworker of Herbert’s, was going to the store to redeem her coupon for free candy. They happily obliged her but told her that the coupon was invalid and as this was a free candy store, somewhat inane. Her face burned red; she had been made a fool once too many times. She stormed out of the candy store only to find the lord of lies himself standing outside.

“Herbert, I should have known it was you.”

“Yet you didn’t. Did you not see yesterday’s expose on my coupon scheme in the newspaper. I gave them an interview and everything.”

“Why are you so wicked? What in this perfect world could possibly turn a man so evil?”

“Perfect? My dear, what just happened in there?”

“I got free candy.”

“But was the coupon valid?”

“No,” she crumbled onto the sidewalk. “No, it wasn’t.”

As Muffy came to a terrible conclusion, Herbert could only smile.

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