inventing a culture

This is another piece I was working on that I think could become something. It’s unedited. I think it might make a good short story.


“What are you in for?”
        “You don’t wanna know,” answered Larry to the strange man in the cell across from him.
        Larry’s head was bent low. He looked dejected and filled with a heaviness that was familiar to all his cellmates. They all knew the look. They too had gone through the sad realization that it was not every invention that would be met with the sound of roaring applause from their peers. They’d screwed up and they were doing time for their infraction.
        “Come on man, tell us!” cried another cellmate two cells over. His mirror was dusty and dark. Larry wondered how he could see down the hall with it. His hands were equally as dusty and dingy, dried out like a prune rolled in dirt.
        “What’s you’re name, guy?” asked Larry.
        “Francois Ignatious.”
        “You’re the Ignatious, who invented the biodegradable car?”
        “I would be him.”
        “It is such an honor to meet you. You are lauded as one of the greats in the culture. It was so sad to learn of your demise. How could you know that your tires would not degrade? It was a minor error on your part, not deserving of this hell hole.”
        “Thank you good man. And what is your name?”
        “Larry. Larry Livingstone.”
        “Mr. Livingstone, pleased to make your acquaintance. Not to worry. I only have six months left on my time. I’ll be out and about in no time. I will hence be more discerning in how I unfold my theories to ensure I do not blunder in such a way again.”
        “It was a mere slip dear sir,” Larry responded.
        “Yes, but a slip that cost me two years in prison. Why are you here?”
        “I invented an item that assists the populace with cleaning their teeth. I call it, a teeth-scrubber.”
        “What happened?”
        “Well, the first few on the market degraded as they should have. But there was some slight mistake with the chemical structure and a few would not degrade. What made it worse, was that it was happening primarily with the children’s teeth-scrubbers. So I’m sure you can imagine the outrage that came from the parents.”
        “Oh my,” said Francois.
        “Yes. It escalated to a flood of letters to my institution. Children were said to wake up screaming in terror because the items would not degrade. They would see the items, now invincible against nature, chasing them endlessly. It was a nightmare for everyone involved. But the children. I didn’t mean the children any harm. They are so innocent. To think they were forced to imagine a world where things did not degrade and would live on forever upon the earth to haunt them for all eternity.”
        Larry began to cry. A few of the men shed tears with him, remembering their own misadventures. There was a hush that came over them. Larry looked at his teeth-scrubber in near disgust.

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