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lavoro pubblicato domenica 4 marzo 2018
ultima lettura venerdì 23 marzo 2018

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di Limax. Letto 199 volte. Dallo scaffale Fantascienza

Everybody knows that Nature doesn't distribute her gifts equitably. What if the latest technologies gave everyone the chance to be beautiful? Would it not be better instead to change our minds?.........

Massimo Croce


corrected by Beatrice Roberti

Flora Merz looked at her face in the mirror every morning, and every morning she found herself ugly. Actually, her appearance wasn’t repulsive. In fact, many colleagues, at the University of Trent where she was doing her PhD in mathematics, thought she was a rather attractive woman. There was a man, though, who particularly didn’t like her, and, unfortunately, he was the man she had fallen in love with.

His name was Alessio Serafini, and he was studying for a PhD too, in Italian literature. He was a handsome smiling guy, with brown thick hair and a short wicked beard. He was probably more interesting than beautiful; still, Flora couldn’t help loving everything about him. She adored his voice, his mannerisms, the way he walked, his lectures, his ideas. Upon meeting him, she started liking literature, a subject she had never had any interest in.

Sadly, her feelings were not returned.

Make-up hadn’t worked, nor did any sexy dress, nor brilliant jokes full of hints. Not even fresh summer nights, when the thick air makes lust itch led to something.

The problem was, that Alessio was an intellectual, and like every intellectual he was egocentric, cold, unsympathetic, and completely superficial when it came to judge women. He was able to rant a whole day about the pre-eminence of mind and spirit over body and yet, all he wanted and expected from a partner was a good physical appearance. He was aware of that, and did not feel ashamed about it.

I don’t like your body, therefore I cannot love you.” he expressly told Flora one afternoon, while they were sitting in a café in piazza Duomo “I do like your personality: you’re clever, sincere, and generous, but that doesn’t really matter to me. What matters, is that you’re way too short, unshaped and clumsy for my taste. I don’t like either your thin, dull hair, your ordinary brown eyes, your misshapen breasts, nor your way-too-dark skin.”

How can you be so superficial?” she asked irritated “You can’t build a relationship with a person based only on their look. You’ll end up with an unreliable partner, too immature, or whose interests are completely different from yours. You may not even be able to communicate with them.”

You’re right, I know the risk I’m taking due to my life philosophy. But I can’t help it, I cannot like a noble spirit if its container doesn’t live up to it. On the contrary, I feel sympathy for every character inhabiting a good-looking body. You remember Giacomo Leopardi, when he wrote per virili imprese, per dotta lira o canto, virtú non luce in disadorno ammanto? I agree with him.”

Try to make an effort. Many people have affairs with partners they only like to some extent. They compensate what Nature does not offer with imagination and self-conviction.”

That would be possible, if love were a choice of the intellect. But the mere ideas are weak. There’s no way a moral principle can be applied if it goes completely against the animal nature of our species. Consider that: twenty centuries of Christian sermons haven’t made humanity in any way less violent or less inclined to war. And feminism didn’t make our view of sex less selective or discriminatory. Matter has always the last word.”

So, what kind of woman do you expect to find? Chance rules the world, and chance seldom matches the perfect soul with the perfect body.”

That’s why I don’t care about the soul.”

Yet, Flora could not give up. Her point of view was the very opposite of Alessio’s: she saw love as an incorporeal bond, a complete fusion between two spirits, beyond all the physical illusions, against every hindrance of the body. Alessio’s scent, his smile, his eyes, his beauty were stuck in her mind, it was impossible for her to forget them. He was the man she had chosen for her life, he was the man destiny had assigned to her. Her love was too strong, too deep to be a meaningless product of chaos.

One day Flora read on the Internet that a big company of genetic engineering called New Better Genesis offered an innovative beauty treatment, which had nothing to do with traditional aesthetic surgery. They did not cut, swell, hollow and patch back your body to give it the appearance of something it was not programmed to be: they acted on the very matrix of your being, re-writing your DNA with a 3D printer, and correcting the parts which—you thought—Nature had given you by mistake. No dyes, no scars, no transplants: only genes.

This technology had already been tried and tested; it was expensive, but not too much to be unaffordable. Of course it was not legal in Italy, because the Catholics had said that to alter the human body was contrary to Nature and against God’s will. To make use of the treatment the customers had to go in a country where everything immoral is allowed, that is, Switzerland.

Flora decided that, if her aim was to make Alessio fall in love with her, she could give up her old corporeal form. She told him that, and she asked him to come with her in Switzerland. After all, she was doing that for him.

Okay.” he simply answered.

The headquarters of New Better Genesis were in a wide valley surrounded by etherial, crystalline mountains. The building had an irregular, curvilinear shape. The structure was completely coated with glass and mirrors, and it seemed not to have a single wall of masonry. It stood in the middle of a geometrical garden full of odd trees, flowers with impossible colours, and genetically modified animals.

Huge light panels displayed coloured slogans.

We push your inner beauty outward!

Fix your flaws: beauty is a human right!

No more photo selections: you’ll be always perfect!

Choose your new yourself from our catalogue!

An appealing body is the best investment for you

and your children!

You’re not old, if nobody can see it!

Fake is an alternative truth.

It’s not our business who you want to be;

our business is what.

You are unique: become who you already are!

In spite of the last statement, Flora noticed, the majority of patients of the clinic they saw walking around them in the garden looked almost identical. All the women recalled stiff models seen in some TV advert, all the men seemed gigantic, obtuse football-stars.

Flora and Alessio were received in a luxurious hall, filled with mirrors of different colours, by a radiant secretary wearing nothing but a topless suit that seemed to be the standard uniform of all staff. The girl was lithe and slim, her skin white, the green colour of her eyes too bright to be natural, her thick red hair gathered in an imposing plait that hung down over her shoulder. Her face was sprinkled with freckles which covered also part of her chest and reached the breasts.

She led them to the office of doktor Schneider, a tall Middle-Eastern adonis with shining-black curly hair, piercing dark eyes, an athletic brown chest and muscular, powerful arms.

He welcomed them and showed them the catalogue.

They talked for a long time about the best nose to choose, how many teeth was desiderable to have, where to make the new beauty marks grow, and whether or not to provide the eyelids with micro-glands which spontaneously generated eye shadow. Doktor Schneider got caught up by his enthusiasm and proposed Flora to try the new, experimental, one-and-half-metre long, prehensile tongue with no additional costs for one year, whereupon she declined.

She and Alessio agreed on paying each half of the cost of the operation.

The day after Flora was anestethized and admitted in the DNA-3D printer: a big black canopy with a forest of cables, needles, laser beams and mechanical hands which rhythmically snapped around her body like teeth of a typewriter.

The whole operation lasted 30 seconds in total. When Flora was returned to light, she was tall and slim: she had deep blue eyes and plentiful shining gilded hair; her cheeks and hands were soft and rosy, her breasts were perfect, proportionate like dainty puddings.

Everything was exactly the way Alessio liked it.

He had no doubts anymore: they got married.

They bought a flat in downtown Trent and moved in together.

They spent eight delightful years together: years of perfect understanding, true affection and exciting passion. They both became full professors in the University of Trent, and they had two children.

But one day, while she was walking in the city’s Christmas market among stalls full of lights, biscuits and fragrant wine, Flora spotted her husband entertaining himself with a girl who worked as a researcher in his department. They seemed way too close and happy, to think their connection was simply a working relationship. Flora stayed and watched them for a long time from afar, while the snow kept falling on her. She was frozen, not only because of the low temperature.

That evening, at home, she faced Alessio and demanded explanations.

He didn’t try to conceal his fault.

I do love you.” he explained “But you’re getting older, and I can’t love you as I used to anymore. As I explained you, I cannot love a soul if it’s not contained in a beautiful body. I have an idea: you can find other men, if you want.”

But she didn’t want to love other men; she wanted him, and they had to be exclusive.

Sadly, he was right: she was getting older. Her hair was not glowing like before, her skin was not so tight, tiny wrinkles had appear on her face, and her womb was a little softened by having given births. Her treatment had not given her eternal youth, and she could not repeat it a second time without risks for her health.

At first she tried to control her husband better. They spent more time together, and Flora strove to satisfy his sex appetite. She became friend with all his female colleagues at the university, and hired an incredibly ugly nanny for their children.

But nevertheless, Alessio kept on being unfaithful. He seized every opportunity to woo other younger girls. Obviously, he wasn’t always lucky: the majority of women he fell in love with rejected him. But he had gained some experience, and knew how to be attractive: so, sometimes a woman would fall in his trap.

Flora was desperate.

Once again, science came in her aid.

A new neurotech device made it possible to modify one’s tastes. If you thought something was wrong with your tastes, you could simply reset them with the help of a powerful Bluetooth beam. Of course it was not legal in Italy, because the Catholics had said that to alter the human mind was contrary to Nature and against God’s will. To make use of the treatment the customers had to go in a country where everything politically correct is imposed, that is, Germany. The operation was performed by the Central Institute for the Campaign against Frivolity Excesses, or CIFTCAFE. It was free.

Flora busied herself about convincing Alessio to undergo the treatment. She illustrated him the advantages of being in a more regular, stable, faithful relationship. She emphasized that, in the end, they were both left-winged people and to treat women like objects was extremely sexist, that kind of behaviour was normal for a politician, but not for an educated man like him.

Okay.” he simply answered.

The CIFTCAFE was a huge, monolithic, grey-yellow, square building in the suburbs of a big German city. It had no garden and no balconies.

Its long corridors, illuminated by neon lights, were decorated with posters featuring faces of many unhappy people, in true social-democratic fashion.

Here too there was no lack of slogans.

Taste means discrimination: repress it

The only right way to appreciate is to appreciate everything

Not such thing as too much guilt

Happiness means that you’re making someone else suffer

Saying “I” instead of “we” is selfish, asocial, capitalistic, sexist, racist, speciesist, materialist and cacophonic

Your freedom ends where other people’s envy begins

We are at work, to save you from your personality

Your desires are wrong: let contrition drive your life!

You cannot change the world, but we can change you,

which is kind of the same thing

Frau Krüger, the chief physician, was a thin and short elderly woman, with a big head, an aquiline nose and sparse grey hair, dressed with a long black jacket, buttoned all the way up to the top. She was very polite and qualified, and help them plan Alessio’s new nature. She showed them a gallery of idealistic personalities to choose from, from the Moderate Romantic up to the Suicide Fundamentalist.

Flora gave them liberty to choose making sure that they would lower a lot his expectations on women.

One hour before the operation, Frau Krüger took Flora aside and asked: “Let’s get this straight. I’ve seen hundreds of cases like yours. You want us to reset your husband so, if age, illnesses or accidents turn you in a disgusting subhuman freak, he will anyway love you. Don’t you?”

I do.” Flora answered without hesitation.

How much of a selfish swine is he at the moment?” Frau Krüger went on.

The worst kind of arsehole who ever set a foot in this institute.”

Okay, I know exactly what to do with him. We’ll lower his sexual taste to the point he will feel attraction even for a gnu.”

Madam, I can’t thank you enough.”

Seconds later Alessio was laid on a bed and put under a giant bell jar, which immediately lit up blue. He was overwhelmed by the powerful Bluetooth beam for 15 seconds; then the light went out.

At first, nothing in Alessio seemed to have changed. He felt good, could walk, talk and eat without any problem. After a rest day, they were able to fly back to Italy.

The days after, though, Flora was very pleased to see that her husband looked much less shallow and much more poetic and sensitive than he had ever been in his whole life. He paid attention to animals, flowers, scents and sounds in the air; he also found beauty in humble things: rocks, grass, crumpled paper and drops of water. Once he admitted he found the manhole covers and the rubbish cans in the street “simply perfect”. Flora was touched by the fact it had been so easy and quick to turn her cynical, cold, selfish man in an amiable dreamer.

She was therefore very bewildered, when she opened the closet door in their home and found Alessio kissing the bare chest of their ugly nanny, with both his hands on her sagging breasts.

Oh, hi, Flora.” he said, embarassed “I-I’m sorry, I fear that I have been carried away by my impulses again. After the surgery, I cannot love a soul if it’s not contained in an unsightly body. I’m afraid I cannot be in love with you anymore: after your operation, you’re way too beautiful for my new liking. Listen... why don’t you look for another man? I’m such an horrible person...”

She is.” the nurse sadly confirmed.


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