Salaam

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The human species had once been tormented by irrational thoughts called emotions that clouded judgement and made us try to destroy ourselves on numerous occasions, to say the least. Thus this unproductive hindrance ultimately had to be removed to ensure harmony and survival for society. Evolution gradually rewrote our genetic codes to remove our free will, eradicating these impurities once and for all. Finally, mankind was perfect. However, evolution wasn't. There remained the minority of humans who were still haunted by feelings. I was one of those who were born with this defect, one of the astronomical burdens mankind had to bear. My own genetics betrayed me, permanently securing my place in the world as a lesser being. An 'emotional'. The only thing preventing me from being discarded was the age-old tradition of 'human rights', beliefs widely circulated in the past that surprisingly, continued to linger in the shadows of the Parliament House. For now. Peaceful protests for emotional acceptance by groups of them have repetitively struck headlines. Just a bunch of non-contributive persons pulling down everyone else, is all. One of the most successful was the organization Salaam. But a normal citizen like me had nothing to do with them. Thus, provided with minimal education and feeling relatively unsatisfied about my life, I was thrust into the world with no credentials for a job of any kind. Not that they would take an emotional instead of a normal person even if I did. Every day was a convoluted mess of confusion; my varying tone, facial expressions, proneness to crying and my queer squeal they call 'laughing' all but exposed the flaws of my DNA coding. Every day reminded me I was a stranger within my own species, and this hypothesis continued to solidify into concrete theory as the tedium of time bore experience into me. Sitting on the roadside in a pensive, malnourished state I found myself eagerly accepting a request for a sanitation worker from a company that had remained relatively unknown to me until now.
***
"Megan, isn't it? Call me Joshua." The man gestured to a metallic chair opposite his own identical-looking one. With some hesitation, I followed these instructions and gingerly, placed my weight on the surface. Like all ELECTRONIChairs, it began to pulse with the rate of my heartbeat in colours of glorious abundance. Telling from the irregular way his face would twitch, I could tell he was like me. Cursed with emotions, and born to live and die in the bowels of society. Then his next words hit me. "If you came here looking for a job, I'm sorry to disappoint you. This isn't a job interview, but an invitation to join us- Salaam." An arbitrary meeting to recruit members, I presumed, disgusted. There was a sizeable number of reports of these leftist groups masquerading as companies to recruit job-seeking emotionals, increasing their numbers. Just my luck they're trying me now. Before I vehemently opposed the thought, he added, "Don't object just yet; I would like to add a few words that I hope, will change your mind. We are a pacifist group, and force was never an option for us. We're simply dealing with the pressing issue of us emotionals being denied social acceptance, denied what is blaring simple to achieve- open acknowledgement of OUR rights!" His lungs struggled for oxygen as he sought words to explain, and the chair he sat on flashed in a rapid, spastic manner that made me nauseous. But as the incandescent flashing subsided to a soft glow, Joshua continued. He manipulated the virtual screen in front of us, and said, "That's not all." On the turquoise hologram were the words 'PROJECT PACIFICATION', and my finger instinctively stretched out to open the document. After a brief glimpse of its contents, I instinctively recoiled. It appeared to be an authentic official document from government records, seal and all. However, there was no telling what the consequences could be if I was associated with it. The smartest strategem was to reject this offer and leave. So I decisively stood up and strode to the door. In a swift motion, Joshua slid his fingertips onto my frail arm in a grim posture that suggested he would prefer otherwise. We remained in this position, silence forcing us into place. Finally, his deep voice punctuated the atmosphere: "The truth is, we aren't unevolved like what they say. If you can find uncensored scientific articles, you'll realize evolution takes place over tens of thousands of years for humans, not mere decades. If you can find banned history books, you'll understand how wars started by the common people almost destroyed Earth. And the document I handed to you has evidence of governmental authorities manipulating our genes to make us more compliant, and less volatile. But this only worked for the majority..."
"... And not for us." This idea that possessed Joshua was infectious, and I began to understand. I was normal, but living a hated existence because some officials couldn't mess with my brain. Such a statement, although absurd, held some water. There had to be a reason why life left me to rot. I had nothing to lose. Tilting my bony form towards him, I sought my traditional Arabic language for words. "Salaam- I accept your offer." Joshua smiled.

***
Megan crumpled too easily under the compliance I coaxed out of her. In my defense, I had told her the truth, although not the complete one. They had come with the promise of better pay, a better life, if only I helped multiply Salaam's numbers. The politicians did their job at pacification well. Providing us with the hope of an organization fighting for their rights, it was almost completely assured there wouldn't be another desperate rebellion, like those which repeated themselves over the fabric of time. Salaam was just another puppet under their power, albeit a very useful one. As I shook her skeletal arm, I smiled. Salaam indeed. 

 

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