At the age of 18 you are permitted to redistribute your twenty skill points around into whatever skills you want permanently. You decided to put everything into LUCK and leave the rest at 0 points.

“That’s not a good idea, Zane. For one, we don’t have great data on the actual effects of enhanced Luck…”

“Look, can you do it or not? I need this.”

The gene tech sighed in the quiet office and swiveled his chair back to the computer. He was looking at a fairly standard representation of a human genome, red highlights in the mass of blue to indicate genes with likely altered function from human baseline and green to indicate potential areas for change.

“Let’s see, we have some modifiable options at rs2981205, rs730882133, rs423454-”

“Yeah, man, I get it, lots of fancy words. Bottom line it for me?” Zane shifted impatiently in his chair; flipping his phone from hand to hand.

“Based on population-level studies and retrospective analysis of lottery winners, survivors of freak accidents, etc, there’s about 20 genes we could modify in you to try to make you luckier. I’m obligated to point out that we don’t know for sure that these genes actually cause better luck, and frankly the latest research is casting some doubts on the validity-”

“Yeah, yeah, I signed the waiver already, do what you got to do; I have a lot riding on this.”

“Um, you already made the bet? And you want to get lucky now?”

“Not exactly, I don’t really want to explain.”

“Whatever, they’re your genes. Sign this form here, some more standard stuff. Given the specific genes we need to modify, you are looking at 85% chance for significant loss in strength, 90% chance for loss in fine and gross motor skills, 100% for loss in intelligence, 60% chance for loss in overall body aesthetic and symmetry, and 50% chance for loss in short and long term memory.”

Zane, took the tablet, skimming over most of the form. When he had scrolled to the bottom, he pressed his finger on the fingerprint scanner, acknowledging his agreement. He let his shoulders relax afterwards, like a weight had been lifted off.

“Okay then,” he said to himself in a quieter voice,”that’s settled.”

“Not quite, Zane. Given the severity of potential deficits you are required to provide a sperm sample on the chance that you would prefer to have unaltered children in the future. Furthermore, while we strongly suggest implantable birth control for all men and women that undergo elective alteration, per the 2024 SAFEGene act, prior to sexual intercourse with any potentially fertile partners, you both must be screened for possible gene incompatibility.”

“Yeah, everyone knows the rules.”

“OK, here’s your sample cup; I’ll give you some time to provide the sample and I’ll get the CRISPR transfer virus ready.”


Zane rolled up his sleeve, exposing a slightly faded tattoo; a simple heart motif with the name “Evon” on it.

“Just a slight poke, then you’ll be all set. This is your last chance to change your mind…”

“Get it over with.”

“OK”

The tech injected Zane’s left deltoid with the modified viral delivery system. Over the next 48 hours, the virus, a modified version of the flu, would infect the vast majority of his cells and re-write all of his DNA.

“It’s done. Now, you’ll probably have some soreness, fatigue, and a fever for the next couple days, similar to flu symptoms. This virus isn’t contagious, but to be safe, you need to avoid the very young and the elderly. Take tylenol if the fever or pain get bad. If you have difficulty breathing, pass out, or anything like that, get to a hospital immediately.”

“Got it. Thanks, doc.”

“Good luck.”


Two months later, Zane’s life, as far as any outsider was concerned, was pretty much unchanged. He’d had to quit his job as a barista; it was a bit too fast paced for him with his new weakness and difficultly remembering simple tasks. He’d found a perfect job, working at one of the few private libraries remaining in Baltimore. He’d only get one or two customers a day and they were usually older; if anything, Ben found himself getting along better with them than people his own age; the elderly clients seemed to talk and move at the pace he was accustomed to these days.

He settled in well to his new life; he was more lonely than he had been, but that suited him well. He had a new companion, in the form of a stray he named Tipsy, that had wandered up to his feet when he was getting back to his apartment one night. She only had three paws and occasionally fell over, but they were fast friends.

All in all, his life was stable, boring; an easy sort of anguish. And every day, as he left the library, sometimes with Tipsy peeking out of his backpack along with a few children’s books; the short ones with the easier words, he would take the 57 bus and transfer to the 23 to get to the long term care facility. There he would take the elevator to the fourth floor, his legs a bit too weak for the stairs, and sit next to Evon, who was perpetually silent except for the occasional hiss and beep of the ventilator, and read to her. Often, he would fall asleep in the chair next to her, dreaming that perhaps tomorrow would be his lucky day, and he would get to talk to her again.

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At the age of 18 you are permitted to redistribute your twenty skill points around into whatever skills you want permanently. You decided to put everything into LUCK and leave the rest at 0 points.

I don’t know what life is about anymore

I don’t know what life is about anymore.  I’ve seen nice people get hurt. I watched as the rich and foolish get rewarded. We never seem to get what we deserve. So why do I even try?
I try because I am determined to believe.  I am a hopeless romantic who’ll keep throwing himself into the fire in hopes of finally meeting the girl who burns with an undying flame. I won’t stop trusting the wrong people because I know what it feels like to be misunderstood. We are just humans after all, looking for the quickest way to reach our goals and never losing sight of them.
Maybe that’s what life is about.

I don’t know what life is about anymore

Submission

“… , therefore we ought to review his work and reevaluate if the positive admiration received by his work is justified.”

As his fingers hit the final full stop key, relief flooded his body and an entire week of pent-up stress released itself in a single breath. He flexed his shoulders and enjoyed the feeling of being able to do it without feeling the guilt that every passing second spent flexing his shoulders is a passing second that could have been spent productively.

His eyelids closed, and he entered a state of bliss. It was as though his pupils were producing magical water that had miraculous healing qualities. He leaned back in the chair that has been imprinted with his rear for the past week and lazily, he moved his mouse cursor and clicked “Submit.”

Submission

Waiting for that magical moment

You miss him so dearly. So you leave him a text. The same text that always worked. Then you sat and waited while you let the text work its magic. But you don’t realize that the magic of this text has already been lost. He saw right past it. He saw it as insincere. He saw it as lazy. He knew you could do better but you didn’t. So he didn’t reply. And you kept waiting for the magic, but as we all know, magic doesn’t exist.

Waiting for that magical moment

Where does the fun lie?

It may just be a scrabble game, but you’re winning and it feels overwhelming. All your interest in classic novels and texts have paid off. But the other three players start to grumble about how you’re trying too hard, but they don’t realize that they are killing the fun for you. They don’t understand that the fun isn’t in the game, but it’s in realizing that something that you believed to be an inferior hobby turned out to be worthwhile after all.

Where does the fun lie?

Descent

down-the-rabbit-hole

It was all a huge lie.
I wish I had learnt sooner,
Because at the bottom I found
a little hole that only goes deeper

The rabbit hole.
No end is in sight
So I tumble ever downwards,

Scraping_____________________
my hands__________
along the walls
 ________throughout
__________________my
________________________downward
____________________________flight.

Descent