An essay by Dr. John Carver, as provided by Diana Parparita
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye
Aidan was one of the first cases. Looking back, I should have noticed it sooner: the weight loss, the heavy makeup, her temper getting shorter and shorter like a burning fuse … But I thought it was just the wedding: a bit of a diet, trying on makeup for the big day, nerves … And I was out of the loop, not keeping track of “the plague” as they called it then. No one linked it to Harbringdon Pharmaceutical meds yet. You could still see their commercial for NauseaminTM in between news of the plague. The wonder drug that could cure nausea in five minutes, whether it was from food poisoning, morning sickness, or just your boss’s outrageous demands making you want to throw up. It really did work, just as quickly as the commercial said, and that’s what made it so popular. Even my father was impressed. For months I had to listen to him telling me how Harbringdon had come up with such a perfect drug while our own pharmaceutical company was “practically struggling” in his words, and why couldn’t I come up with something just as good, or at least finish writing my Ph.D. thesis.
Of course, that all changed when people found out about the side effects: weight loss, increase in physical strength and irritability, loss of physical and emotional sensitivity, regression of cognitive and intellectual functions, a markedly greenish pigmentation of the skin, and, ultimately, death. Death, or, rather, apparent death, followed by awakening in a state that the sensationalists called “zombification” and the journalists who strived to stay politically correct called “unlife.” But back then, no one knew it was Nauseamin that caused it, so reporters just called it “the plague.”
Looking back, I think I should have followed news of the plague more closely, asked permission to examine the afflicted, and tried to find a cure, if only to make my father proud. But all I could think of was Aidan and our wedding and the news on TV was always just background noise to me … until Aidan died.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.
Dr. John Carver is the son of George Carver, CEO of Carver & Digger Pharm. He studied pharmacology at the prestigious Oxbridge University, but interrupted his studies during the outbreak of “the plague” caused by Nauseamin side effects. The scientific community was amazed earlier this year by his Ph.D. thesis on the side effects of Nauseamin, which has earned him considerable fame and government funding for further research. He is currently working with Dr. Peter Ashfield on testing and refining a “cure” for Nauseamin adverse effects at a secret Carver & Digger facility.
Diana Parparita lives in Bucharest, Romania, blogs rather infrequently at http://dianaparparita.
Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.