Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Gerontology

"I can't believe we did it," Shirley said, then she poured a measure of champagne out of an Erlenmeyer flask and into her throat. "I really think that we've changed the course of history."

"We did. Believe it," Clint said. He leaned on the laboratory table to steady himself.

"I can't! We'll go down in the history books! We're like Pasteur! Salk! Crick, Watson and Franklin! God, we may even be listed next to them in the textbooks of the future. We've done no less than any of them. We've created the first therapeutic treatment for aging!"

"Thank god for the common cold. A minor case of the sniffles once every ten years for everlasting life."

"We stand among the greats," Shirley said. She spilled some champagne down her lab coat. "Pssh, I can afford another."

A column of air shimmered in front of Shirley and Clint. It looked exactly like the heat rising off of asphalt on a hot summer day. The column fattened out in the middle until it formed an oval while the shimmering began angrier, like water coming to a boil, until it completely obscured everything behind it.

Through this opaque, pulsing oval stepped a supercentenarian holding an anachronistically advanced ray gun.

"Hand over the research, sonny," the supercentenarian said to Clint.

"I really need to drink either less, or more." Clint rubbed his eyes.

"Alright, if this nincompoop won't give me the goods, I'll ask little Molly Twoshoes over here. Let's see it, quit sitting on your hands."

"I certainly don't know what you're talking about, and you'll do well to address me as Doctor Ethelwhip, and I'm in charge of this lab."

"Molly Twoshoes, I'm over one hundred and twenty five years old. I don't have time for your childish games." The supercentenarian squeezed the trigger on the ray gun. The beam crackled and hit the bottle of champagne on the counter. It exploded into vapor.

"I won't ask again."

Clint held up his hands. "Don't kill us. I'll give you the serum. Just inject it."

Shirley surreptitiously slid a foot forward and let the hand holding the Erlenmeyer flask slip around the neck into a firmer grip.

"I've stormed the beaches of New London on Mars and fought my way up Olympus Mons, so don't piss in my ear and tell me that you've terraformed a red hell. One more step and you'll be a whiff of gas and a bad memory for your parents."

"Shirley, it's okay. Here," Clint said, handing over the stack of papers and the small rack of samples of the anti-aging virus.

"Don't give it to him! He can't just steal, it isn't right!"

"Right or wrong, I'm the supercentenarian with a ray gun," said the supercentenarian with a ray gun. He snatched the papers and samples from Clint.

"Good luck with your inevitable senescence! We've conquered the solar system, developed time travel and fed the hungry but the research to combat aging was lost because of some lunkhead in a lab accidentally incinerating the files. Idiot. Good thing we've got these time machines! Enjoy your senescence!" The supercentenarian stepped back into the shimmering oval. They heard him cackling until the portal snapped shut.

Clint took the Erlenmeyer flask out of Shirley's hands and took a drink.

"I can't believe you threw away out research like that!"

"Relax. We still have it."

"Then what did you give him?"

"A few vials of unmodified cold virus and a stack of half-graded student lab reports to read while he's recovering."

The Moral: supercentenarians tend to be nice and the proof is that they haven't been fatally stabbed

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