Good Morning! Or it will be, pretty soon. The best morning you’ve ever had. Any time now, almost certainly within a decade. I don’t know exactly, and it’s better that way. But I know there’s nothing in the world to worry about.
I’ve spent the last four years setting the trigger: 56,000 pounds of Metachlorazine-9 released into the upper troposphere via — well, several means, including introduction into the exhaust of North Pole-crossing airliners. (That wasn’t my original idea, no. It’s a peculiar conspiracy fantasy I read about online, popular among certain paranoid types. I indulged in a bit of whimsy by realizing it as a deployment method.)
Making this choice, and taking this burden upon myself, wasn’t any choice at all, not for me. It’s why I’m here in the world, I really believe that. Year by year, this has become more clear to me.
Father used to call me his angel. They couldn’t fix him, couldn’t stop the pain, so I stopped it. I used about a milligram of my first entirely original synthetic molecule.
When I determined my husband’s time had come, I was his angel, too, even if he wasn’t appreciative. There was never a hint of a suspicion.
I helped some more people, here and there, experimentally. Unqualified successes, with zero bad consequences. Meant to be. Nobody would ever find anything there unless they really got into dissecting the dorsal lateral pons.
I’ve spent my life watching civilization wallow in its own filth, clawing at its own belly. You know what people are. Our world is sick and failing and it needs an angel, it needs me. It’s no choice at all.
Ordinary people, aimless clay-footed human beings, don’t invent a thing like Metachlorazine-9. Nobody else would have known what to do with it. Not my UNC so-called colleagues; not those idiots at the Physical Chemistry journals. Certainly not governments, though I imagine any one of them would make me a billionaire if I were willing to sell the process.
Ad hoc, I was born. The right woman at the right time, bearing unique knowledge, and possessing the clarity of vision and the artistry and the courage to use it. And the love. The agape.
My M-9 will do — nothing, at first. It’s been doing nothing for months already, lazily circling the globe as undetectable whisps of gas, rising up to twenty miles above our heads. I set the trigger, but the rest is out of my hands.
Now. Every so often, the Sun belches out an especially big eruption, an X2 flare, emitting a vast flood of radiation in a wide spectrum. Briefly, our planet is bathed in X-rays and energetic protons. That’s bound to happen someday soon. The radiation will pull the trigger and my M-9 will propagate like a living being, spreading itself downward through the atmosphere. Growing like a zygote, faster than you’d believe. Within 24 hours virtually every cubic meter of air will contain a few micrograms. Enough for everybody.
Two notes. First, the molecule’s propagation requires continuous solar radiation in the upper atmosphere. So, the daylit half of the globe (roughly speaking) will fall silent and peaceful first, then as the Earth continues rotating Eastward, the benefits of M-9 will reach every land.
Second, the hoped-for saturation of M-9 (sufficient to halt the synaptic function of anything that breathes oxygen) should also create a fabulous array of delicate tints when illuminated by oblique sunlight. I’ll be out on my favorite hill, with my canvas and easel, doing my best to capture the many-colored sunrise. I’ll be wearing breathing apparatus, of course, but the second I’ve finished signing the painting, off it comes and I’ll greet the new day with a big deep breath.
I wish you a very good, a final and last and unending good morning.
Illustration by Ellen Pace
Manuel Royal was born, like Tristram Shandy, with a broken nose. He will die. In between, he lives and writes in Atlanta, Georgia. His fiction blog: http://donnetowntoday.blogspot.com/
Or visit his Fiction column under his ‘other’, real name: http://smyrna.patch.com/columns/short-fiction