The Joy Fantastic

A young woman devises a way to take the pain away.

The Joy Fantastic

She cleaned her hands in a basin by the sink in her laboratory; the cleansing was more than to scrub off bacteria that may have been on her hands (although that may’ve been the case). This was a spiritual purging. This was the recognition of doing a work of excellence. It represented a clearing of all the faults that might lie between her fingers, the palms, and the backs of her hands. It represented the washing of all of the negativity leveled against her. Kalia Satterwhite scrubbed until the bubbles formed thick bands of foam around her hands, wrists, and forearms. She rinsed. After applying a paper towel, she slid on some gloves and set to work. What she worked on did not involve liquid chemicals per se. But it was the act of preparing to fashion something of greatness, of wonder. Kalia put the last pieces of this machine that she had been working on for the past 12 years together. It looked like one of those machines at the airport from previous ages that completed a full-body scan, except this one did not imply public humiliation. No. This machine would be the key to eliminating pain in human beings forever, for the most part anyway.

It stood at about ten and a half feet from the ground. Computers analyzed the various points of injury or stress that a human body and mind had experienced and sent out pulses to quell those raging pains. Scanners swooped up and down a person’s entire body to detect what ailed them. Once the computers had finally registered the specific pain sites, the pulses would target them and the pain would be eliminated. That was the initial goal of the machine. Kalia stepped back from her work. She smiled. Her teeth looked like pearls cut into perfect bits of sharpness. Her skin looked like blackberry juice; a deep bluish-red enveloped her. She stood at about five feet eight inches. She was 36. She tinkered with the mechanisms that released the pulses. Kalia summoned her laboratory assistant, R.J.

“Would you look into the rings surrounding that glass encasement?”

R.J. followed the request. He worked with the proficiency of a CEO although he remained the boss’ assistant. After checking the rings, he tested the machine on the maker herself.

“Are you prepared, Miss Satterwhite?”

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since I first put the code into this thing.”

She appraised the features. Her hands ran over the metal and glass and plastic components. She stepped into the chamber and took control of the gauges. She input the level of pain that she wanted reduced to “Z” being the highest level of pain reduction available. She spread her hands out as if she were going to fly off of a cliff. The scanners went up and down her body. After about 30 seconds, the entire procedure finished. Pain lifted from her like she were running towards sunlight out of the darkness. The sensation of sheer enchantment surrounded her.

“R.J. I know we’ve done it.”

The graduate student applauded his boss.

But not everyone clapped at Kalia’s stellar performance. Before R.J. had arrived at the laboratory, a Naismith Culver had been the assistant to Kalia. She stepped in one day to find Culver going over the code that she had just written hours before. A shouting match ensued. Each hurled unmentionable names at each other. Culver took the codes that Kalia had written and attempted to implement them into his own device, but to no avail. He lacked the remaining details of the code that Kalia was about to introduce before the argument. Another one brought things into focus.

Kalia became livid. “I’ve got the patents. I filed them three years ago. I also have the copyright for the code embedded into this machine so I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“This machine belongs to me. I crafted it with my own bare hands,” Naismith Culver said.

“You may have helped to put the machine in place, but I’ve got the code and the necessary documentation declaring that this is my work. I don’t want to go to court to battle this out; I wish to not pay lawyers exorbitant fees just to say that my invention was not really made by some alleged hack scientist and snake oil salesman.”

“I have proven time and time again that my machines cure everything from headaches to chronic back and knee and eye pain. We’ll just see if you can withstand my dream team of lawyers. It’s going to be a slam dunk case against you, Satterwhite.”

“Look, you can do all the grandstanding you want to. My patents represent me. I know that I have devised this beautiful machine and not you or anyone else may make it die.”

A few weeks later, Kalia walked out to her car when a young man who couldn’t be over 18 years of age rode up behind her on a bicycle and slapped an envelope onto her dashboard.

“Deposition notice courtesy of Kendrick, Moise, and Feaster, attorneys at law,” the teenager said and then sped away on his bicycle.

Kalia sucked her teeth. She then straightened and entered her vehicle.

*****

Upon the day of the deposition, Kalia looked poised. Her posture remained erect and she had an air of an empress but not as if she had been given the title, but somehow earned it. She seemed to be of royalty but instead of being the descendent of aristocracy, she was the beginning of an age of respect and admiration to her supporters.

“What this machine represents is the total disremembrance for pain. It can be wiped totally off of the face of the earth. From the discomfort of childbearing to the trauma of war to the psychiatric agony of various mental disorders, this thing can transform all of that. And it will be for all time.” A string of testimonials appeared on the screen in the room.

“How do your knees and joints feel?”

“I experience no pain. There’s not even a tingling sensation in either of the places where I shattered my knees.”

“My depression seems to have vanished. For years, I fought this battle that I thought was winless. Miss Satterwhite, you’ve made a great difference in my life. Thank you.” Kalia accepted the gratitude, but that’s not why she devised this machine. She did it for herself. Her selfish intention to create an efficient, viable apparatus satisfied her. Whether it treated people remained secondary. Kalia wished to see a world without pain. And this product of her mind offered her that satisfaction. Now, the deposition with Culver represented something else. Kalia knew that even the slightest pang would never surface from him or anyone else. The legal teams set another date for the next deposition.

Kalia continued working. Every aspect of the device, dubbed the JoFa, short for the Joy Fantastic, had to be on point. Along with R.J. she saw to it that the machine not only worked but had a sense of beauty to it. The shape allowed anyone of all sizes and heights to enter it. Production allowed for at least one thousand to be made in a year with tens of thousands to be placed in hospitals the world over. A smile formed on Kalia’s face. She sensed the burden of having given form and function to a new thing. It was like keeping a secret that the whole world would know soon enough. The whole idea of the JoFa was to permit anyone with acute or chronic pain the possibility of eradicating their aches. Kalia sought the power of the mind to bring about a change that the world had never seen before. She would see to it that the machine would bring delight to those suffering. She wanted to see smiles plastered on the faces of those who chose to employ her device.

Media outlets called Kalia “Killer” over the lawsuit with Culver. They had smeared her name saying that she was more concerned with profit than the care of the people who chose to use her machine. The profit part remained true. She sought to make money off of the machine, but not exploit anyone. Blogs all said that she was responsible for the deaths of at least five people who used the machine; all of the accusations were found to be baseless, unfounded claims. In fact, the sources that alleged that she had caused the deaths saw themselves prosecuted for fabrication and outright lies.

On the day of the final deposition, she entered the room with a black suit and gold and black pumps. Her hair was coiffed in a blonde arrangement that complimented her reddish-blue skin. The conference room included a large table and two cameras.

“Why does my client state that you stole his whole conception away from him?”

An incredulous look appeared on Kalia’s face. “But I have no recollection that he put in the work to study the pain management, the mechanisms, or the engineering that went into my machine. So I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Culver smirked. He leaned over to his counsel and whispered something in his ear.

“What about the patent office that rejected your patent at least three times? Wouldn’t that be enough evidence to say that you may have ‘borrowed’ some or all of Mr. Culver’s conception?”

“I think that that is the most ridiculous question that I’ve heard this morning. I was rejected on the premise that the patent office couldn’t find a proper lawyer to assign to the JoFa. The delay resulted in the rejections, not because of any theft on my part.”

Kalia’s counselors looked at each other. They pulled out the cannon.

“Mr. Culver, it is in our estimation that you were found guilty of plagiarizing at least two dissertations while in college. How does that sit with your claim that you are bringing these allegations against my client?”

“Firstly, I never plagiarized. I was cleared of all charges on my work. Secondly, I can state that Miss Satterwhite has been ripping off my patents for years. What she called ‘JoFa’ short for the ‘Joy fantastic’ I called my contraption the “Painless Machine.” Maybe it's not as poetic, but it was mine. I am shocked at the level of debasement that has been aimed against me. I contend that we go to court to settle this.”

“No one’s talking about court yet, Mr. Culver. Relax.”

“Miss Satterwhite, are you aware of my client’s extensive paperwork regarding the plans for a machine that would stop pain?”

“No, because those designs were drawn up by me.”

“Are you saying that you had no idea of the plans that Mr. Culver had for creating such a device?”

“I’m saying that I filed with the patent office way before Mr. Culver even dreamt up a plan to make a machine of that nature.”

Culver looked at ease. His brown eyes and high cheekbones and beachwood skin looked direct and taut, respectively. He wore a charcoal grey flannel suit and a shirt with a French collar and a red tie with a double windsor knot. He also sported stainless steel cufflinks. He leaned back a bit in his chair and hung one arm over the back.

“Mr. Culver, it is my estimation that you borrowed from Miss Satterwhite in part or in whole. Is this true?”

“I created that machine from the ground up. All she did was steal my idea and my plans, which are copyrighted. I don’t enjoy being the bad guy in this situation. When clearly, the fault lies with your client, and she knows it.”

The two exchanged glances. Culver seemed cold and icy; Kalia displayed a sense of fiery intensity. His gaze laid upon Kalia like a laser beam piercing through space. She showed focus; Culver displayed determination.

“How would you describe the operation of the machine?” Kalia’s counselor asked.

“Well, it’s very simple…” Kalia looked at Culver scramble. “Well, you see the person, of whatever background can enter the machine.”

“Yes....”

“And they can be rid of pain. That’s the gist of the entire thing.”

“Yes, thank you Mr. Culver. Now, I would like to allow my client, Miss Satterwhite to explain her machine.”

“It’s a one time deal. Once you enter the machine, the pain just slips away in seconds. Whether it’s in your head or your body, those aches and pangs of agony will evaporate almost immediately. I can’t go into the details of which were nearly stolen from me, but the overall idea of the machine is to render pain a forgotten matter, never to be thought of again. The worries of pain need not be a concern any longer. Forever. Once this machine goes into effect, it will transform the way we treat pain for generations. There is a harmony of thought and action present within JoFa. The idea that you can eradicate pain with a simple act of stepping into the machine banishes the whole conception of pain.”

After the deposition, Kalia found Culver outside of the building smoking an e-cigarette.

“None of this makes sense,” Culver said.

“I know, you’re the one suing me for my own product.”

“No, I mean that it doesn’t make sense that we’re not together.”

“You’ve really lost it.”

He leaned closer to her and offered her his e-cigarette. She looked at him in disbelief. She shrugged and took hold of the vaporizer. The flavor was chocolate and mint.

“I do suppose that we could make some arrangements.”

“Like settling out of court?”

She shrugged again. “Like settling out of court.”

“For how much?”

“How about this: you never claim that you had anything to do with The Joy Fantastic’s code or patents and we’ll leave the lawsuit well enough alone. Agreed?”

“I remember your feistiness. You’ve still got it, babe.”

“What we’re going to do now is go back into that deposition room and declare that the suit has been dropped. How’s that sound?”

“Like a winner.”

Kalia and Culver embraced. He kissed her cheek and they grasped hand-in-hand and walked.

“We’re going to march back up those steps and tell them that we just settled out of court. You get to keep the rights to the property of your own mind and I get to fall in love with you.”

“That’s alright with me,” Kalia said. Once they had reached the room where their legal teams researched and deliberated, both of them came inside with their arms stretched towards the ceiling.

“That’s it. We’ve both won. Mr. Feister, thank you for your diligence in this case. I truly appreciate it but your legal services will no longer be necessary,” Culver said.

“I extend my deepest respect to you Mr. Vopal, but we’ve come to an agreement that would no longer require your litigative skills.”

The men and women of the legal counsel looked perplexed. They couldn’t understand how bitter rivals could become each other’s idols.

“But why?” Feister asked, his fleshy bottom lip hanging in space.

“We’ve both found reconcilable similarities,” Culver said.

*****

“I didn’t think that we could be friends, much less lovers,” Culver said. “ I worked for you and in every moment dreamed of a night like this.”

“It did look kind of rocky but I’m glad we’re here. How did we end up like this?” Kalia said, her slender shoulder slid closer to Culver in the bed.

“We have minds. Minds that seek and take pleasure in solving the problems of the day, for our own sakes. Minds, greedy ones, that crave to gain knowledge both encyclopedic and carnal propel us to gain more and more. We’re here because we both realize that what constitutes a great man or woman is his or her righteous thoughts and actions. You’ve made a beautiful machine that I had thought was mine. I made an error. I corrected that mistake and we settled out of court. That’s why we’re here.”

Kalia pulled the sheet over Culver and her face. She kissed his mouth.

“That seems like an unlikely scenario, don’t you think?”

Culver kissed Kalia on the neck. “I know it is.”

It was a demand, not a request. He wrapped his forearm across her neck with a gentle abrasiveness that called for a shudder that shot through her body like an ultrasonic wave. Because of JoFa, the levels of pleasure increased. But she missed something: the twinge. She desired a bit of pain to go along with the moments of physical delight. As the first trials of the machine had recorded men and women who wished to feel the sting of pain during this spiritual and physical act, she did not believe them fully until this moment. Kalia had waited for the power and roles to reverse and for him to feel the pangs of desire, too. Alas, they both had gone through the procedure and had stunted all possibilities for a taste of the sharp jolt of subtle pain. The power of his performance she applauded but she still felt unsatisfied in the end.

He held her afterwards. Culver laughed.

“You blew all of the pain away, did you not?”

“It would most certainly seem as if I did.”

Once they were dressed, they had work to do. The press had noted the JoFa had been a success story but that there were complaints from people who, like putting hot sauce on their favorite foods, wanted a kick out of life that only a hint of pain could bring. Kalia, by first-hand experience sought for a way to control the levels of pain that the machine could produce. Kalia addressed the news outlets from the Web to television and print and radio.

“Can we see the machine in action?”

“Yes, of course. This is Mr. Quincy Beeson. He has a herniated disc in his spine that is pressing on a nerve. The pain is excruciating.”

Beeson’s face looked ten years older than his forty-four years. Creases and lines crossed his face. He looked as if life had battered him down and that there was no remedy to his misfortune.

He stepped into the machine. The hum of electricity, low and definite, emitted from the JoFa. Lights flashed as the sensors and computers worked in conjunction with one another. Once the light beams had passed Beeson’s back, a smile crept onto his face. The light beam continued until it reached the top of the two towers that comprised the device.

Beeson applauded.

“And this reaction that we receive from our customers is more than relief. It’s Joy Fantastic. The absolute happiness that emanates from a person after receiving this treatment is remarkable. And we’re prepared to set these machines up for a cost of course. Our research shows that the procedure can be done for as low as one thousand dollars. That is in contrast to the ten thousand dollars that the price was set at in the beginning of operation. But due to innovation and constant tinkering and improving on the design and function, we have made the price affordable as a smartphone and the quality exceptional.”

Legions of sufferers lined up around the block of the corner of the Christiana hospital in Newark, Delaware. Everyone from the depressed to those with broken limbs stretched around the building like a centipede, curling around it, all of them waiting to be healed. Vans rolled up with dozens of people in wheelchairs and motorized scooters. The spring day had a bit of wind to it but the air was warm. Folks wore light jackets and jeans and collared shirts. Some people even wore suits and ties; they expected this to be an occasion to celebrate and wished to look the part. Once they had arrived at the machine itself, they beheld it with a mixture of excitement, awe, and reverence. The gleaming piece of engineering intrigued the viewer but for a moment and then with a few simple instructions to enter through the barriers and just sit or stand there, all of their pains would be cured, if they decided such things.

Kalia invited each person that plunked down the one thousand dollars through their private insurance company with a smile. She knew that this was all profit-driven and that as a result, people received the best care. This was not a concern for her. She viewed it as a final instead of the efficient. Kalia knew that her work was not for the huddled masses that drove up to the hospital. Her work was an end in itself. She watched as people rolled up in wheelchairs, hobbled on crutches, or limped their way to the JoFa. Everything was going smoothly until a scuffle took place between some of the patients.

“I was here first!” shouted a man in a red and blue flannel shirt.

“No you weren’t. I was here!”

Kalia jumped right into action to solve this dilemma. She phoned the hospital constables and they were there in under two minutes. Officers Stuart James and Officer Sam Whitley addressed the situation.

“What’s the problem?” Officer James asked.

The patient by the name of Gallagher Bean swung a fist at officer James and then the officer maced Bean and put ties around his wrists. He carted off Bean to the holding area adjacent to the hospital.

Much ado came about surrounding the mechanisms of the machine. A journalist from the Daily Delaware named Loki Samuels addressed Kalia.

“But isn’t pain necessary? Don’t we need to know pain in order to address deeper problems within our psyche and bodies? With the implementation of this machine, Miss Satterwhite, aren’t you inviting millions if not billions of people to be jeopardized by not knowing a bone fracture if left unhealed, for example, could lead to further damage?”

“That is why I have implemented sensors to go along with the machine to read and discover new damage that might arise after the pain has been eliminated. These alerts will be sent to a smartphone and allow the user to know of continued harm. ”

The hospital constables barred Bean from entering into the section of the hospital where the JoFa stood. Kalia was making money with every cured patient. These funds would help to not only line her pockets (which she intended) but also pay for research and further improvement of pain management applications. She knew that the money would be important for the sustainment of herself. Kalia looked forward to the checks that would start rolling in due to her creation. But it was not “helping people” that mattered most to her. That was important and Kalia appreciated the fact that she could improve someone’s life, but she held the actual labor of constructing the machine, filing patents, and seeing the whole idea that she had conceived go into fruition. She viewed her ability to craft such a machine as not a blessing or luck but good fortune based on her brains.

With the inundation of patients and the event which took place with Bean, the hospital constables marched up alongside the gaggle of those yearning to be in absolute control of their pain.

“Can it be for people without pain? Those who are not at the moment experiencing any pain but wish to not have it in the future?” asked Samuels.

“Yes. We offer the JoFa to anyone and everyone but especially to those who suffer from all types of pain.” Kalia said. “I’ve devised this machine to handle every known ailment that has plagued man for millennia. From schizophrenia to cancer, and from HIV to spinal stenosis. All of the pain associated with these maladies can be cured. We are still waiting on the root but we can repair the branches and the leaves that produce fruit. For those who lack pain but want to stave it off forever, we offer you the opportunity to live life completely free of any pain.”

“Now, I know that JoFa has revolutionized the pain management industry. It has brought those living with the worst conditions to the heights of pain-freedom. Without the simple procedure, most people would still be enduring trauma that goes unseen. What I had envisioned was a world without pain. I see that some folks actually like that pain. Whether they be sadists or masochists is not my business and I didn’t build my machine with those persons in mind. However, if anyone so chooses to utilize my machine, that is their business and I shall reap the rewards of their choice. But I’ve noticed myself that during moments of intimacy, the sweetest thing can sometimes be those stabs of pain that go along with instances of enjoyment. With that said, I will make the necessary improvements to gauge how much pain that a person can withstand based on their levels of tolerance. Thank you.”

Kalia engineered JoFa herself with little aid from Culver and R.J. He oversaw the basic components while she delved into the deep written code of the apparatus. She ran test after test, trying to figure out what was the best method of administering the machine to paying customers. A digital dial allowed for the person within the machine to control the exact amount of pressure and pain they wished to encounter. For the times of affection, Kalia had constructed an instrument like a barometer that would determine the intensity of the pain that the user intended to feel. JoFa was now Jofa 2.0. The upgrade put the company in a place of better business. As if she stood on a mount with laurels on her head, Kalia walked about the offices of her company beaming with pride. With Culver on her team, after being defeated in a legal way but competing for Kalia’s mind, her soul, her being, the two came to an understanding of one another. In the laboratory, they existed as a team again.

“This is why I sued you. You know that, right?”

“You sued me because you wanted to get into the same room as I, again. You wanted to get a piece of JoFa Enterprises. You were not content until you could have a chunk of the company for yourself.”

“That’s true. But I’m glad we did see eye to eye.”

Kalia smirked. “Don’t get too comfortable.”

Culver slid closer to her. “You know, that’s what I like about you. You’ve got this take-no-prisoners attitude. It’s a wonder that you didn’t make a machine that would prolong someone’s chronic back pain.”

Kalia took an incredulous look at Culver. “I beg your pardon.”

Culver laughed. “I’m just saying you’re a firecracker under that lab coat and gloves. Hey, you’ve got me, okay? So let’s just say that we’re intertwined due to our affection for one another.”

“Fair enough. Would you hand me that tablet over there please?”

Culver obliged. The tablet contained all of the components of JoFa. Kalia had mapped out every detail of the machine on her electronic tablet. It glowed with all the sense of purpose and grand designs that Kalia had poured into her work. She swiped across each digital page looking for the ideal part which would allow for JoFa’s intensity in pain elimination to be controllable.

“Yes,” she exclaimed with quiet excitement. She had discovered a way for the users of the machine to select what kind of pain relief they wanted and the duration for which the relief would be administered.

“Look, babe. I don’t mix work with relationship pleasure. The pleasure that I do get is from my work and I would be glad to entertain any of your questions at a later time. Do you understand that?”

Culver leaned in for a kiss. Kalia kissed his mouth and cheek.

“Alright, I’ll leave the busy bee to her work. But you know where to find me. On the videophone just dial––”

“I’ve got it sweetie. Now, make yourself disappear, please, for the love of medical science.”

Culver left the laboratory with a sense of confidence and comprehension. He knew that Kalia’s work would come first over anything and anyone, including and especially him.

At the unveiling of the new JoFa, Kalia addressed all of the rumors and gossip surrounding her relationship with the man who was suing her.

“I have been in this relationship for six months now. The deposition took close to two weeks and we settled out of court. We are now more than happy together as we cleaned up any mess that may have arisen out of the suit.”

“How much did you settle for, Miss Satterwhite?” a reporter from the Daily Delaware inquired.

“I will not disclose that kind of information. My legal team has advised me not to let anyone know. But since all of that is over I would like to present my latest incarnation: JoFa 2.0.”

The audience in the auditorium of the hospital gasped as if a spectre had crossed the stage.

“I now give you all the option of the type of pain you wish to see leave your minds and bodies and how much you wish to keep. I know that it is up to the individual to determine what is right for he or she. I know that the individual is the indivisible unit that must make the choice based on his or her own free will. Some of you will ask why not the totally free-pain model. Well, some people enjoy a sting, ever so slightly that the pain is present but disappears in a few moments. I want to bring that sensation to them. And with JoFa 2.0, we will have the opportunity to explore new ways of managing pain. Whether you are an “A” pain being the lowest register of pain or a “Z” which you can control based on your own preferences, I will allow people the option of whatever level of pain or relief that they wish to experience.”

“But with the advent of the machine, aren’t you opening the door up for the it to be used malevolently?”

“How could that be? This is a personal pain management device (PPMD). This is about a private interaction with technology that will permit the user to select whichever level of tolerance that they may want. In no way have I designed JoFa to be a torture rack from the Dark Ages. No. This is a specified and reliable means of shaping how one feels mind, body, and spirit, which is really the same as mind.”

“What about the government. Can’t they regulate and control the machine?”

“Not under the Great Transition which has eliminated all regulations and controls within the state of Delaware. I am confident that no bureaucrat can deter me from my mission of either ridding the world of pain or allowing people to undergo whatever transformation that they wish to do.”

“Don’t you think that this whole concept is either hedonist or self-destructive?”

No, I don’t. I know that JoFa is worthy of the billions of dollars and the thousands of hours that went into the project. For people to misuse or abuse the machine, would be at their own risk. I’ve already been through the legal proceedings once this past year and don’t want to make a habit of it.”

“Speaking of your lawsuit leveled against you by Mr. Culver, how did you two spark a romantic relationship, even though you were on opposite sides of the deposition table?”

“It’s like this. We settled out of court for an amount I wish not to disclose. We struck up a conversation and an understanding of each other. We were able to see past the bickering and infighting and come to an amicable agreement. He makes me happy and that’s that.”

Another satisfied customer emerged from the machine. “I’m healed. I’m whole. And it wasn’t by the blood of Jesus or the decree of Allah or the help of Moses. I can walk better. Strong. I’ve got a good footing for going about in this world. Thank you, Miss Satterwhite.”

“I set my pleasure level at 'Q' and my pain level at 'D' and I think that that is a good balance for me to live by. I couldn’t have experienced such a rush of the joy fantastic without the machine.”

“Do you see these testimonials,” Kalia said on a stage. “These are real life people who’ve had their lives changed by this simple process of a complex problem. We may now see suicide rates and murder rates plummet as people are enabled to control the levels of pain that goes into their minds and bodies. I have worked tirelessly but never sacrificed a moment. To give up a greater value, the selfish return on the investments made by businessmen to a lesser a value, being destitute and squander my talents in some torn down laboratory were not in my mission statement. I intended to grant the world the power over their thoughts and actions related closely with their pain and pleasure levels. My success is because of me. Yes, I’ve had help along the way and I acknowledge those who have aided in my journey but the true backing, the very backbone of JoFa came from my mind. I set out to make my own world a better place and by extension, I’ve been able to enrich the lives of hundreds of millions. Great pride within my work has lead me to bring about something that most people would’ve never thought possible. I do express sincere thanks to people like my assistant R.J. And to my baby, Nais’. I love you. I know that much has been said about our relationship but the truth is that there is no one who I would rather be with and that irony has not missed us. Two bitter rivals before the blind Lady of Justice and now lovers. I know how that sounds. But when reason’s involved, there’s always room for romance to blossom in some of the most unlikely of circumstances.” The audience applauded with ferocity. Kalia continued. “Now, back to business. I’ve been able to forge a series of bonds with hospitals all over the world but it is right here in Delaware where all of this started. In my home state and close to my home city of Wilmington I was able to produce this machine. And I deny calling it a “miracle machine.” This would imply that some mystical source started and sustained my enterprise. That is not the case. Only thought and perseverance allowed for this company to grow and to flourish. But what makes me most proud is the fact that I saw to fruition a dream that I had as a little girl. I wanted to see people free of the fetters of pain and be able to direct their destinies. That old, tired, and false chestnut “pride goeth before a fall” never laid eyes on a machine like this. Firstly, the meek and modest fall, but that’s where it ends. Secondly, if the proud ever did fall, they’d pick themselves up and continue on that journey of splendor and grace. I’ve failed on more projects than this and even with the JoFa, I had to make an upgrade. This wasn’t a fall but a correction. Each and every mistake was corrected through will and understanding.”

A first look at her face was like receiving a lump sum and then receiving dividends over a lifetime.

“So how far does this pain/pleasure stuff go? Can I just pull out,” Xavier Annan yanked out a laser, “and slice off my left earlobe, and I wouldn’t feel a thing?”

“Enter the machine, send the pleasure control to “Z” and see what happens.”

Annan looked around, a twisted smile crossed his face. After having entered and done just what Kalia said, he took that same laser and burned off his left earlobe. There was no blood as the wound cauterized at the edge of the laser. He held his earlobe in his hand.

“I didn’t feel a thing. Wow! It doesn’t even hurt.”

“Now, you see the extent of this machine.”

“So, I can cut my head off and I’ll be just fine?”

“I didn’t say that. Once you affect vital organs like the brain or heart in ways that would render you lifeless, that’s where the JoFa machine cannot help you.”

Annan smirked. “I guess I’ll get this reattached.”

“That would be wise.”

Kalia watched as the young man bent down to retrieve his aural appendage. He gave an honest smile. His eyes shone respect for Kalia and her craft.

“This machine is going to revolutionize the way people see pain and suffering and relief and happiness,” Annan said. “I’ve no doubt that this machine will be on the frontlines for every ache, every bruise, and yes, every cut or puncture that a human receives.” He thought for a moment. “Will this be available for pets, too?”

“Since we live without regulation, the JoFa will be allowed to treat any species outside of the human race which encounters some sort of trauma. While we cannot know if they’re in pain anymore, we can use our sensors to detect pressure points and if bones and ligaments have been broken.”

“There is no God, but God bless you, Miss Satterwhite.”

“Thank you, Mr. Annan.”

Kalia looked at the line winding down the hallway. The nursing staff and doctors all used tablets to handle the abundance of people waiting to know what the machine would do to halt their aching joints and their painful limbs. Culver stood by her.

“You know, the best thing about the Joy Fantastic is that it allows you to determine what your own body would not be able to do. Because of your thoughts put into this machine, we have the chance to bring about a groundswell in productivity, in growth, in sheer bliss. It is because of your mind that we can enjoy the power of choosing just what we want out of life,” Culver said.

“I thank you, Nais’. I know that we could have done better jobs at not taking the legal system into our affairs. That much is true. But I appreciate the fact that we are now here, together, bringing these people absolute control over their bodies and minds. This is done without drugs. This is done without the gaze of the government assigning whether this machine is harmful or not. I don’t need a license to administer it. These wonderful truths regarding the outcome of the Great Transition in Delaware have brought about an abundance of products of the mind. I turn to you for all of the assistance that you provided before our falling out and now our triumphant reunion. I thank you, Nais’, for grounding me in reality and allowing my creativity to flourish.”

science fiction
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Read next: Understanding the Collective Intelligence of Pro-opinion
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I am a forever young, ego-driven, radical hipster. Investor. Objectivist for life. Instagram: @skylerized

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