Amanda regretted choosing the lab coat. Far from giving her authority, it blended with the white walls and made her invisible. The voice boomed from a hidden speaker. “Commence.”
Amanda forced a smile. “My fellow humans blather about global warming. Cap and trade, clean energy …”
“To the point, please.”
Amanda dug into her front left pocket and pulled out a soggy green orange. “The penicillin spores of Planet Orange blame carbon emissions for the state of their planet too. Indeed this fruit is emitting gas. Some credit God the Farmer’s plan or natural cycles, but-” Amanda withdrew a healthy orange form her right pocket, “this orange is the same age and remains firm. The difference? Chemical warfare. A little bleach on a damp cloth-” Amanda rubbed the healthy orange against her crisp white jacket “vanquishes the penicillin and spares the fruit.
“Hear me, Keplans. Penicillin spores may pray harder, regulate production, and curtail growth, but the problem is not penicillin behavior. The problem is penicillin existence.”
“Are you suggesting we wipe out humanity to save your planet?”
“Yes! Like this penicillin, we have irreparably damaged our home.”
“Then it’s too late.”
Damn it. Amanda was out the door and in the hallway. She’d wasted three days standing in line to address the Keplan consulate. She could never get to Fiji in time now; Kyle would be married in the morning. Amanda turned around and banged on the door. To her amazement, it opened.
“Eating us will cure your STD’s!”
“When you reproduce with a bad Keplan do you ever get itchy afterwards? Blisters? Fever? Eating penicillin fixes that.”
“Are you, Amanda Shepard, itchy?”
“At least wipe out Fiji.”
“Thank you, Amanda Shepard. Good-bye.” The room tilted. There was nothing to grab. Amanda slid toward the door.
“It’s not just Earth!” Amanda pawed the floor. “We’ll metastasize and spread to other planets. We’ll destroy Keplar!” Amanda braced her feet against the edges of the doorway to keep from sliding out. “Look around! We’ll blast the tops off your mountains and bomb your Hiroshimas. We’ll eat your Dodo’s and clog your oceans with poopy plastic. We’ll pave your Californias until your deer become trash-seeking vermin. We’ll feed cattle to cattle until their brains are sponged with holes, then embalm our corpses and deny their return to the soil until the pavement-trapped worms starve and the very earth dies.”
The floor leveled. Amanda crawled forward.
“It’s not even a choice between you or us. It’s everyone or us. And by everyone I mean plants and fish and rabbits. I mean Amoebas. I mean penicillin and Keplans. Life itself depends on total human annihilation.”
“And to preserve life, you would sacrifice your species?”
“Like a dyslexic Prometheus.” Wow! That was good. If Kyle heard that he’d think twice about dumping her for Jasmine. The Keplans were thinking twice. The voice was silent for so long that Amanda began to wonder if she’d imagined the whole thing. She walked her hands up the walls; the room was padded. Her lab coat looked like a hospital gown.
Amanda brightened. She was in the loony bin! Keplans, how silly. But here in the nuthouse, there was hope. How much had she imagined? The part where Kyle left her? Maybe even the part where Kyle met Jasmine? Maybe Jasmine didn’t even exist! It was all a dream. Amanda would get better and marry Kyle as planned. Kyle had probably brought her here.
Amanda searched her pocket for her phone, but of course it had been confiscated when she checked in. She found only the orange. How nice that they provided healthy snacks. The green orange alarmed her slightly. Amanda shoved it deep in her pocket. That explained it. Amanda was hiding fruit. She couldn’t blame the doctors for that. She was clever. Kyle wouldn’t love a dummy. Amanda peeled the good orange. Odd, that the staff hadn’t trimmed her nails. The tangy citrus, a cornerstone of aromatherapy, cheered her. Amanda was in good hands. Kyle would visit. Maybe he was here already. With a ring! Wait, not so fast. First some orange. Delicious. Squirty.
Even if Kyle didn’t come, there was still hope. Nice doctors. Fresh fruit. You know what? Screw Kyle, good luck to him and Jasmine! Amanda was on to better things. If not doctors there would be volunteer opportunities. Going on talk shows and giving hope to others…
“We agree. On behalf of all living things,” the voice boomed. “thank you, Amanda Shepard. We shall commence annihilation.” The floor tilted steeply and Amanda slid out the door.