The Thing on My Back
by Grey Hill ~
Unfortunately, the future had not turned out exactly how we had hoped – that is not to say it was dystopian or a smog infested polluted world with arching grey mechanical fingers reaching towards the sky, blotting out the sun. Extraterrestrials never came down and provided us with the secrets of living, nor did they try to enslave or attack us, resulting in an intergalactic war that thrust Earth into the midst of space battle with the population being demolished and heroes arising from the ashes. Instead, the aliens we have encountered have been far and away a disappointment, as anything would be that visits for about 30 seconds, clearly grows frustrated at attempts to establish communication, and then zips away to the stars never to be heard from again.It was satisfying for many believers to have their faith rewarded, but I never cared for such a thing.
There has been no mutated retrovirus, no cyborgs that live amongst humans incognito, no clones that were created for organ harvesting that rebelled against their human oppressors. Morals in scientific process have led to laws banning synthetic human likeness and things of that sort. The world has not yet been ripped apart by climate change, though scientists insist it’s still going to happen soon. So, all in all, we are alive and kicking. I supposed someone born in 1987 could make the 100 year travel into the future and it wouldn’t look that much different. Many of the houses are the same, suburbia is doing well, government regulations have curbed pollution and the Earth is safe for now. TV’s are essentially panes of glass, every pool is heated, phones can be located in an ear like a hearing aid (I prefer the older model, which resembles a smaller pane of glass, since I don’t like the feeling of having a hearing aid in my ear…nor does, apparently, most of the country, since the model is failing miserably).
So, really, I assume 2086 is neither as depressing or utopian as you might have imagined. It’s still just the world. The clearly recognizable world, the clearly recognizable America, just a little bit different. That all being said, there has been one significant change as of about 20 years ago, one drop of science fiction that makes the world all the more interesting: Helixes. Helixes are…genetically advanced humans. The first one was Marcus Dallas, who famously saved a boy from an oncoming bus with his, and I really hate to call it this, “super speed”. This lead to much speculation about the advent of super-humans and costumed heroes, but government legislation took care of that pretty quick. Helixes were far too dangerous to be using their powers, according to the President. We can only use them in the privacy of our home, and even then we need a permit. Thank God. I wouldn’t trust half these people, knowing what some of them can do..But I digress. The real issue here is the thing on my back.
Yes, I’m a Helix. Can I fly? Run fast? Walk through walls? Turn invisible? Close! I have what doctors call a stage 5 non-malignant semi-sentient parasitic tumor on my back. I got it about a month ago. And I’m not sure what to do. See, it wasn’t my choice to get this thing. I mean, they say that excessive drug use can make it form, which admittedly I’ve done my share of, but I never shot the heroin thinking “Boy, can’t wait to form a lump on my back!” I was just having fun. Why should there be repercussions for having fun. Last I checked, a walk in the park doesn’t result in a second head. Going on a roller coaster doesn’t give me a third leg. So why, in good conscience, is it OKAY for me to have this lump on my back…and I have to keep it? I’m not the only Lumpy Helix (a term not created by me, and one I’m not a fan of, but nevertheless it applies). Right now, legislation provides for the removal of these things if they formed spontaneously and the Helix can provide that he/she has no prior history of drug use. That’s great. That’s an excellent step. It’s progress. But we aren’t there yet. It seems to me that it is blatantly unfair that non-Helixes, or even Helixes with different mutations, have the ability to control what happens to the lump on my back. Is it their lump? Is it their body? Yes, this lump occurred due to my own actions. I take responsibility for that. But why can’t I deal with it the way I want to? If someone else wants to keep their lump, be my guest! Me, on the other hand…I can’t take it anymore.
About 3 weeks ago my lump started talking. It’s been asking me questions about it’s surroundings, about who it is, about who I am…I try to ignore it. It’s not like it’s a real person: like the doctor said, it’s semi-sentient. And this was a government doctor, not some underground private guy. It’s not really alive. It might seem like it is, but it really isn’t. And, I know this sounds shallow, but it’s really affecting the way others treat me. I’m not just a normal person, I’m Lumpy. There’s a stigma. A stigma I don’t want. A stigma I don’t deserve. And it’s a stigma you can’t FORCE ME to have, Mr. Congressman. You have no idea what it’s like. A lump is not a human, it does not deserve rights. I deserve rights. I deserve the right to cut this thing off my body and be rid of it. I could let it fall off and donate it to the government for research, sure. Sure, yeah, just let me wait about another 14 MONTHS for that to happen, and then I have a scar there. I don’t think so. It’s my lump. You don’t get to tell me what to do with MY lump, pig. This is my choice, my life, my body, my lump. I’ll cut it off if I want to. Frankly, I don’t really care about the person it’ll be some day. The ones that have fallen off other Helixes are still young, they might not even be viable. These are the facts, Mr. Congressman. Please, mind your own business, and stop blocking me from minding mine the way I want to.
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