Why So Serious?

“Hi, doctor!” Jaz greeted Dr. Domestica. A poker face stared at him as she lowered her veil.

Duzan Domestica, however, had been too long in this line of business to miss why this green-skinned, strange looking girl was there in his clinic. Despite her emotionless face and heavy makeup, her smile lines were more than visible. Fanning out at the corner of her eyes were several small wrinkles resembling a cat’s whiskers or a crow’s feet. Then there were the horrible concaves bracketing her thick lips, almost conquering her nasolabial region. Duzan focused hard on her left cheek but was not sure what to make of it. He reflected for a while. Then, “Smile,” he sighed and issued the one command that only he could give without risking his life.

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As if waiting to do so all her life, Jaz gave him the brightest of smiles he had ever received. It indicated that she was in her happy place and probably knew that it was the last time she would be there because her smile was a classic clichéd one. The one that came straight from the heart or could illuminate the darkest of the hours, you know the magical one!

Duzan shook his head in despair. It was there alright — deep enough to house a million of microscopic entities or a very tiny grain — depending on which you are more likely to carry. She had the cursed symbol that alone could have destroyed her forever. She had a dimple!

“Is it that bad?” asked Jaz. Her eyes were moist because there was a lot of smoke in the dingy clinic of the damned doctor. Duzan, however, misinterpreted it to be tears of sadness.

He took a step backward from her and barked, “Hold the waterworks, please. I hate emotions. I will fix this for you but you must never do it again.”

“Do what?” asked Jaz, “The S-word?”

“Smile, laugh, giggle, snicker… nothing!” he told her, “Or else…”

“You are giving me the last stage treatment, huh?”

“I have to,” he said, “orders are orders.”


A few hours later Jaz emerged from “Domestica Cosmetica.” She was the same woman who had entered the loathsome glass building with only one exception — her face was now completely devoid of any line.

With Zac gone, she did not have any reason to smile anymore. Zac would probably be under some kind of genetic experiment at the moment that the West is notorious for, she thought, meanwhile I am stuck in the pathetic East aka the rat hole where women can’t smile.

“Women do not smile like we do,” A man on a large screen which were very common throughout the country was saying, “Their smile is a weapon more lethal than the most dangerous bomb you and I could ever invent.”

“What b*******!” Jaz checked herself just in time. She was about to scoff.

“Therefore, we suggest that all the women should pay a visit to Domestica Cosmetica and be free from the wretched signs once and for all,” the screen man concluded with a smile.

“And become a ticking time bomb the moment they dare to stretch their lips only a centimeter wider from their natural position,” Jaz muttered to herself.

She was very upset now. She missed her childhood, where all the sci-fi villainy belonged to her imagination and her mother played the role of an evil person by imposing certain rules. This real-life nefariousness was taking a toll on her nerves.

“If it got really difficult,” she told herself, “I will just laugh my worries out.”


Originally published on Medium

Read more about the siblings:

Their childhood — The Midday Adventures of Zac and Jaz

What happened to Zac — SPPRIG Testing Laboratory

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SPPRIG Testing Laboratory

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“Natural selection,” the voice said, “is obsolete now.”

Zac was struggling to focus on the words that were resonating all around him. Despite having memorized them by heart, he had to listen to them daily because according to ADLTHood 101, he had yet to internalize the concept.

“After extensive research, it has been concluded that Nature has turned too soft in deciding what to keep and what to discard,” the words continued. “Therefore, We had to intervene.”

Zac had no idea who these We were. Neither any of his acquaintance knew. The only thing they were aware of was that We were important and right. There was no question about that. Zac was too much of a conformist to question who’s, how’s, and what’s of the system. He was not a rebel, at least not until he had met Aby!

“By our method, only the best will be allowed in this world,” the metallic voice summarized. “Misery will be eradicated, once and for all.” Zac had once again missed the point and he knew that We would know. He will have to attend this session again tomorrow. He was not worried about it because he had just spotted Aby and judging by the sheepish look on her face, she will be attending the class too. He waved at her and she smiled.

“May you see the birth of supreme race,” he greeted her.

“And you,” she replied.

“Today?” he asked her in an undertone.

“Too dangerous,” was her reply. Before he could completely wear his disappointed look, she added, “but I want to.”

This made him happy but in an attempt to show it, he ended up with a comical expression on his face that was a mixture of happiness and disappointment. Aby couldn’t help but laugh. Zac was born with a genetic defect that slowed down his gestures. Therefore, he was often caught between two emotions that resulted in a confusing look on his face. Aby thought it was cute. On the other hand, Zac found it even cuter that instead of inheriting her mother’s dominant gene, the love of his life had her father’s recessive ones. She was bald. This made her unique because according to what science he knew, this was a sex-linked gene. Yet, he had never set eyes upon a woman more womanly than Aby!

They both knew they were not supposed to be like that. We had told them often enough about their defects but failed to instill a feeling of regret in them. It was mainly because the whole world was like that. Everyone had their own set of deficiencies. Since they had never seen for real what Wedescribed to be the perfect human being, except as models in labs, on technological devices, and as monumental structures on every street, they thought it was just an impossibility and an exaggeration.

“Meet me behind the great statue,” he told her. “The one at the end of your street.”

She blinked and was gone.


“You are beautiful.” He was drawing intricate patterns on her hairless head with a SpecPo, which was a pointer with fluorescent ink in several shades. He was holding a mirror in his free hand to let her see his art.

This is beautiful,” she almost screamed examining the now-finished mandala of vibrant colors on her head. It was the latest fashion trend and Zac did the best replicas of the designs she pointed out to him, from the international magazines.

“Shhh!” he warned her. She suppressed her giggles and clicked his photo from her DigCam.

“No way,” he almost yelled looking at the photo. “Is this the expression you will draw? It is ugly!”

“Fuck off!” she said. “This is such a singular expression. I have never witnessed you being scared, amused, and turned on, simultaneously.” His eyes twinkled and she busied herself in drawing magic on a paper pad. He produced an electronic cigarette from his pocket. They puffed on, taking turns.

“Zac,” she said after a few minutes. “If we got caught, horrible events will ensue.”

“How about we register for a compatibility test?” he suggested.

“I don’t know, Zac. There had been zero cases of love marriage in the previous centuries of which we have any record,” she was unsure. “Rom/Jul were the last ones to think about the L-word and you know how We had staged a series of evil stratagems leading to programmed deaths.”

“This is why I propose to follow the rules,” he tried to convince her.

In order to ensure that children with only the best genetic makeup were born, We used compatibility testing called SPPRIG. It stood for sex, philosophy, psychology, religion, intellect, and genetics — the characteristics that were evaluated in this test. It was based on the latest scientific research and was supposed to generate the ideal results. Data of thousands of people reached them and they ran a set of tests on it. There conducted interviews, blood testing, psychological checkup, and medical examinations. Only after that, were two people allowed to copulate.

“I am positive that our SPPRIG will be acceptable,” said Zac, hopefully.

“You do realize that so far, none of the marriages arranged by We have succeeded in terms of love,” she said.

“Look, they are not interested in love, I agree. But if our SPPRIG score is convincing, they might let us do it,” he told her. “Our sexes are different for the starters,” he joked. She rolled her eyes at him.

“Philosophy and religion are not an issue either,” he counted on his fingers. “You know our family backgrounds, schooling, and beliefs are similar”

“Hey, you missed the psychology P,” she intervened. “Also, what about intellect and genetics. There is no way to estimate those parameters on our own.”

“I ran a few tests on my tech toys using our data,” he told her. “The results were promising.” Zac hesitated and then added, “I have a friend in the SPPRIG headquarters. He will make sure our tests come out alright.”

For the first time during this conversation, she looked hopeful. “What is his id?” she asked.

“Pac. The one with two pair of hands,” he said. “Let’s do this!”

She nodded.


“Bos”, said Pac, “These two are a perfect match.”

The one called Bos smiled. He took the application form from Pac and stamped it.

“Denied?” asked Pac, shocked.

“My dear Pac,” said Bos mockingly, “do you really believe that SPPRIG is about compatibility?”

“Then?” inquired Pac.

“It is for controlling their willpower”, came the reply as Bos’ characteristic multiple laughter sounds rang out in the walls of the SPPRIG Testing Laboratory.

Originally published on Medium

The Midday Adventures of Zac and Jaz

“Psst… Zac!”

Receiving the signal from his sibling, the toddler rolled towards the mysterious chest, which was fixed on the west wall of the oblong room in the form of a cupboard. The bubble around his head had started to slightly suffocate him but he knew better than to rip it off. Jaz, his sister had described to him in detail how toxic the air was in this part of the spaceship.

“83 and 3/4 percent, to be exact”, he recalled his sister’s words, “another of her ways to kill us.”

Zac peeked at his sibling from his hunched position. She was running towards him at full speed. Swift, he thought admirably.

“Now don’t you dare make a noise, Zac”, she whispered to him as she put her left foot on his back, “Bear the pain, my brave comrade, for today we will defeat the foe and earn our eternal freedom.”

Zac wasn’t sure what eternal freedom they were after. The foe his sister was referring to was Abgelia Rozando and except for her few moments of wrath, she had always been rather nice to them — more than nice, actually. Yet, Jaz was confident that she was their enemy.

The only way to find the truth is through unlocking the chest, he thought. He didn’t entirely trust his sister either. These are dark times, after all, he used to justify his suspicions at night, right before sucking all his fingers and thumbs and falling asleep.

“Ahhhh…”, Zac couldn’t control himself. The pain was unbearable as usual and the fact that Jaz had recently gained weight didn’t help either. He realised with the usual sorrow that he had betrayed his sister again.

Jaz was standing on her brother’s back, all set to unlock the chest. This chest, she knew was a time capsule holding the secret weapon, which was to earn them their freedom from the tyrannical rule of Madame Abgelia Rozando.

If only her stupid brother had a little more patience!

“What in the world did you do that for?”, her voice was not a whisper anymore. She hesitated before adding, “You, traitor.” She knew it was a bad thing to say and the harshness of her words reflected in Zac’s eyes. She could see them brimming with tears beneath his transparent head wrap.

Before they could clear the premises of their rebellion, Abgelia had arrived.

“For the thousandth time, Jezebel, this is not a time capsule”, barked Abgelia, upset that her siesta was ruined.

“Then why don’t you let us open it?” demanded Jaz, mustering all her courage.

“Because I have just sorted this cupboard and you two will ruin it”, Jaz knew the woman was being evasive. “And for God’s sake, have some mercy on your poor brother”, she continued to shout as she hurriedly removed the plastic bag that was tightly secured around Zac’s small round head.

Trying to win him over, thought Jaz.

“Jezebel”, Abgelia was clearly struggling to keep her tone calm, “I am your mother and this is not the future.”

Jaz looked extremely disappointed.

“I think you need to take a break from your unhealthy dosage of Dr Who and intensive sci-fi reading.”

Jaz hung her head, “Ok, Mom.”

“Kach”, a chuckle in baby lingo escaped Zac but nobody noticed it. She will be back tomorrow, he thought. Apparently, he knew his sister better than their mother did.

“By the way”, their mother stopped Jaz as she was about to leave the room, “Who exactly is this Abgelia Rozando and why do you hate the poor woman so much?”

“Just a character”, mumbled Jaz as she wondered how mothers know everything about you!