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The Purple Flower
The hard clunk of black rubber to pavement echoed to every extremity of Crows Ville. Each stride was like a silver polished sword cutting through a black veil of silence. The sound continued on stretching for miles, until suddenly it stopped. A quite average looking man was standing in the middle of the street staring up at a bright red banner. The man blinked a few times to adjust his eyes. The color was a sickly one that reminded him of warm, trickling blood. The man blinked one last time and was back in the cold harshness of reality. He looked around being reminded of the grey houses and streets. He recognized the hint of grey spray paint on every petal in the gardens and the familiar ominous clouds leaving puddles from unseen rain.
The man continued on his journey remembering the words he had seen on the banner, “Celebrate Our Founder Leonardo Montollo!” To most in the city these words were simply familiar words. However, as Bob had stared at them he could not help but be transfixed by their unstated meaning.
The streets were empty as usual. Bob was used to silence, but unlike most had a mind to question it. He finally seemed to have reached his destination, for he turned in to one of the indistinguishable buildings.
“Hello Mr. Baker. What can I do for you today?” a man with almost identical features to Bob politely questioned.
“Hello Alex. I am here for the latest article by Mr. Shrew; I hear that it is terrific,” Bob replied with a hint of irony, repeating the words of his wife Christine from earlier that day.
“Yes, he always seems to have such meaningful works,” Alex said watching Bob pick the work off the shelf.
Bob walked back to the grey cashier’s desk and placed a thin tabloid magazine on the table. The magazine read, “What’s New in Normal, By: Mike Shrew” Alex took the magazine to ring up and began the conversation again; “I hear Mr. Shrew’s latest work has an excellent article about your soon-to-be-daughter. She will be amazing. I cannot imagine a child more perfect, considering both you and your wife’s flawlessly average looks. I mean, you two are the image of the future.”
“Yes, I am sure that’s true,” Bob said grimly, while attempting to ruffle his hair out of “perfection.” For a moment there was silence, and then as if the thought had hit him by lighting, Bob quickly brought his voice down to a near whisper and leaned in close to Alex to express his new revelation, “I do not mean to bring up an abnormal concept, but perhaps, do you think, He could be responsible for that?”
“Why Bob, I never knew you to bring up such imperfect conversation topics. I do not mean to drag this conversation on, but of course, He’s responsible. You were blessed, both you and your wife. Mr. Montollo was a perfect man and scientist who gave both of you such normal futures, and I am sure you will understand when I say that if you bring up another such abnormal concept again in my establishment I will have means to enforce a personality review,” Alex said in a dreadfully serious tone.
“Of course,” Bob said, and quietly made his way out of the store with the newly bought tabloid.
The journey back home went the same way; with the overwhelming silence and depressing scenery. Bob curiously turned to the article about Anne, his soon-to-be-daughter. He only needed to read the first couple sentences before being completely sickened by the words he saw, “The news on everyone’s minds these days is the upcoming birth of what is sure to be the most perfect child in Crows Ville. With both Bob and Christine Baker’s completely normal looks and personality, the people of the future, there is no doubt that this child will be most perfect. Bob Baker measuring five feet ten inches, with brown eyes, black straight hair, and the most average tint of tan skin and his wife Christine…” Bob quickly closed the magazine, appalled by Mr. Shrew’s words. The words were heartless and empty, the words spoken by a blind man, but then again no one chooses to be blind. He stood silently in a self reflection of disgust and loathing, mainly of himself, but also of the world that forced him into his self being.
He turned. He slowly made his way to the door of his house when he noticed the garden. Something was different. It was magnificent; it was something only the love of angels could produce. He turned once more now facing the garden, and leaned in very close, he could see it now. At the very tip of one of the many grey flowers was a hint of purple. He had never seen something so gorgeous. He stroked the flower revealing the rest of its hidden beauty, when suddenly he stopped. He could feel the unseen beating eyes of his neighbors and the chaos of what he had done. Color was abominable. He could not upset Christine and the turmoil it would cause, no. He picked the end of the flower off, pocketing it. He would spray paint it grey and then put it on the floor in the garden. He rushed in the house. Christine was calmly sitting on the couch, her black hair lying limp just a notch bellow her shoulders.
“Did you get it?” she asked nonchalantly. Bob shook his head as if to remember what his wife was talking about, when he remembered.
“Oh, yes here.” Bob put the tabloid calmly on the table.
A few seconds later she spoke again, “Oh how lovely a description they have of the both of us!” Christine said gleefully. Bob turned around from the grey drink he was pouring, and saw she was reading the article he had glanced at prior to his homecoming.
“Yes, lovely,” Bob said, turning back to his drink with dismay. A clock in the distance rang an alarm.
“Ah then, shall we go?” Christine questioned after noting the alarm.
“Of course,” Bob said as he passed the window noting a large flash.
“I would assume they would be here,” Christine said, also recognizing the flash. “It is to be expected that they would be most excited to get an article now of all times, lovely people.”
Bob pondered his wife’s words considering the immense irony in them. He would hardly call a paparazzi man who followed him everywhere, “lovely.” Regardless, the word was simply a cliché, an overused phrase with no value or meaning.
He and his wife were now passing the sickly red banner. Bob stared in disgust; however, the loathsome color did not seem to bother Christine in the least. In fact he saw her smile looking up at the banner.
The streets were empty and no sound seemed to be coming from the rather large grey building they entered. It was all very systematic; as soon as they entered they were recognized by a computer scanner and given a form to fill out. The form had several blanks to fill out, “Name: Child’s Name: Arrival Time: Scheduled Time:” Christine with ease filled out the form, “Name: Christine Baker Child’s Name: Anne Baker Arrival Time: 3:29 Scheduled Time: 3:30” She then handed the form to a absentminded clerk and they were both then admitted into the maternity ward.
As little as fifteen minutes later his new daughter, Anne, was born. The room was silent, Bob blinked and the child was gone. It took a moment for him to realize that a doctor near the back was attempting to usher him into another room. With Christine still asleep, and the paparazzi being held back momentarily, he was able to sneak away silently. A rush of cool air brushed against his face and he felt alive. The heavy door fell back behind him, and he focused on the scene. In the center of the room a gorgeous baby girl was silently sleeping. Bob leaned in combing through her red curly hair with his fingertips and noting her fair skin that was overtaken by thousands of freckles. The child smiled as she turned to look up at him, and Bob was in a trance staring at the beautiful child.
The doctor was silent waiting for a while until he decided to speak, “Hideous, no?” the doctor said trying to regain Bob’s grasp on reality.
Bob stared up suddenly remembering where he was, and quickly jumped away from the child. “Yes, whose imperfect child is this?” Bob said trying to remember where he was and the proper protocol.
“It is unfortunate that I must inform you that this deformed child is Anne Baker, your new born daughter.” Bob stared at the man in shock.
“I am sorry,” Bob said slowly, “But how is that genetically possible?” Bob asked in complete bafflement and delight.
“My friend, you are one of few who is given the unique opportunity to marvel at the true genius of our world. For you see, it is not genetics you are confused about, but what you perceive to be genetics.” The doctor stopped noting Bob’s continuous confusion, “Let me explain, based on what you perceive to be your genetics this child should have black straight hair, brown eyes, and tan skin, no?” Bob nodded in agreement, “However, these are not your true genetics. Unfortunately our science only allows us to go so far, and it is therefore impossible to create a city of naturally perfect people.” The doctor paused and waited for Bob to catch on.
“So you mean to say that my appearance is not naturally what I see it to be,” Bob said in a voice filled with terror.
“Why of course not. It is a simple routine once a child is born to put them through an intense surgery to correct any imperfections. To some extent we can fix all of them. As you may have noticed not everyone is exactly perfect. You and your wife are two of our most successful undertakers of the HCS (Human Correction Surgery). I have no doubt that Anne will be successful in the surgery as well.”
Before the doctor could continue his explanation Bob interrupted him, “I understand what you are attempting to explain, but I am baffled at why you would tell me. Would it not make for a more perfect world without people being forced to understand these ‘perceived genetics’?” Bob asked with a keen interest.
“You are quite a successful man in appearance, but you seem to have not caught on with the accepting personality of most in Crows Ville. Very well, I will explain. Though we do currently have these great advancements in science as first introduced by Leonardo Montollo himself, he insisted that we allow you to have free will to accept, or decline, being perfect. So, since it would be absolutely revolting to have millions of babies walking around with red hair and blue eyes until they were old enough to decide, we have made the choice up to the parents.” Bob took in every word the doctor said, until finally with the force of a mighty avalanche the reality of it all hit him hard in the face.
The past was clear, this city was comprehensible, and the conclusion unavoidable. He slowly turned his head upward to face the doctor again that was waiting silently.
“The choice is yours. Although it is not much of a difficult choice, you have as long as need be to decide.”
Bob bent his head down and considered the possibilities. On the one hand, the child was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, the most radiant flower, and yet as he held this gorgeous creation, the rest of the garden began to wilt. Christine, Anne, even he, all would become rejects, exiles, and the shame and humiliation of it all would be unbearable. Of course, when was he to care about any of that; since when was he one to conform to this disgusting civilization.
Out of nervous habit he reached in his pocket and felt something soft. He pulled it out and saw the purple flower from the garden. He turned it around in his hands, once again admiring its elegance and beauty, and at the same time, its hideousness. Bob knew what he had to do, the doctor told him to wait in the waiting room.
Later that night Bob was admitted back in to the other side of the heavy door, and he felt the cold rush of air as it swung open. This time though, it felt like icy death. They hurried to the adjacent door to let the press in. There was a flow of people into the room and a sudden gasp of air as they all beheld the child. Finally, the silence was broken and a large flash from a video camera went off, “Hello Crows Ville, welcome to the Tonight Show, I am here live at the birth of what is sure to be the most normal child in Crows Ville, Anne Baker.”