Soul Capture

Bobby’s mind was being expanded by the presentations at the Devils’ Den. It was definitely the best event at the New Ideas Show in Lucerne’s glassy community centre, commonly called the Transparent Temple.

He’d sat among the audience hoping to get some inspiration for starting his own business, but instead he was becoming a little scared. Floating cities, underwater container houses, head plug-ins, and programmable matter – the ideas seemed impossible, or at least unbelievable. Was that why it was called Devil’s Den? Had they made pacts with the devil?

A guy he recognized walked towards the stage; he managed the recycling facility on the edge of the village. Surely his idea would be reasonable. He was a down to earth guy.

The host Collette held her nose as he approached. She said, “Didn’t you bathe this week, my friend?”

He smiled to himself, and then at everyone. “Sorry about that. I just came from work at the transfer station. It’s an occupational hazard.”

Panel member and social media activist Juno Osh drew back in distaste. The audience laughed. Low-tech pioneer Amisha Jordan however was pleased, and said, “It’s good to see a real working man in here. Not just a load of pencil heads.”

“Enough flirting, trash junkies,” said Collette. “I know business sometimes gets dirty, but there’s no need for business people to be dirty.”

The audience booed and the transfer station manager dropped his smile. “Only joking,” she said. She couldn’t afford to lose public goodwill for she had no talents; she was only famous for being famous. “Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

“My name is Toby, and my business is recycling. These days we try to minimize waste. The best thing of course is to not make it in the first place – you can reduce your product packaging by wise buying choices, and even eliminate it by going to bulk stores. But there’s still plenty of trash. That’s the nature of a modern capitalist economy. I noticed a while ago that at our transfer station, we reuse every resource – card, paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass – except one.”

The audience was curious. Someone called out, “What’s that, pal?”

Toby said magisterially, “Ourselves. Our bodies are cremated, buried, thrown into the sea, and in some cultures chopped up and left as a final act of compassion and generosity for wild beasts to devour.”

Collette said, “Urrggh!”

“Valuable minerals are wasted. And more importantly, valuable experiences that are encoded in our cells. I have developed technology that can compare original and final DNA in terms of quality and quantity, and measure the relative effects of nature and nurture.”

“Can you actually do that?” said Juno, suddenly interested.

“Well not fully, only fifty percent of it.”

“Well I could get the other fifty percent from my social networks. I think we can do business.”

He wasn’t the first amateur entrepreneur led astray by Juno Osh. She’d captivated many with dreams of social media glory but her rewards were rarely tangible. Her promises were made but not kept. They were as vaporous as souls.

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