I was sitting at my desk working away when someone appeared in my peripheral vision and cleared their throat. I looked up from my computer coming out of a complex problem that I was the verge of solving. When I saw a man in black suit I knew exactly who he was.
“Can I help you?” I asked
“Is your name MR JAMES BROWN?” The suit man said in a formal voice.
“I prefer Jim.”
“Mr BROWN. Can you follow me please so we can speak privately?”
“Sorry what was your name?” I enquired
“SAMUEL J SMITH and I am from the Office of the Senior Executive.” He said proudly
“I had gathered that” Looking him up and down. He fidgeted under the scrutiny. “Sure let’s get this over with as I am quite busy.” I said as politely with just a little bit of irritation mixed in. He lead me to a small meeting room and we both sat down as he closed the door and took out his notepad and pen from a briefcase and set them neatly on small round table we sat around.
The suit man came directly to the point. “I have been hearing that you have been spreading vicious rumours that the virus does not exist.” His face curled up in to a snarl and then relaxed when he realised.
I leaned back in my chair and place my hands behind my neck. “Really? Where did you obtain that information?”
“I am not at liberty to divulge that.” He smiled with his teeth but not his eyes
“Then I am not sure what you would like me to say?” I asked
“Well you need to stop the dangerous spread of false information.” The suit said
“Unless you can substantiate this rumour then I have nothing to say as I do not know who is making these claims and will not incriminate myself.” I said staring deadpan into his eyes. He shifted in his chair uncomfortably.
“Well is it true or not?” He demanded hoping to intimidate me
I called his bluff. “Can I get back to my work please?”
“The Senior Executive do not tolerate dissidence. We must all work together!”
I stood up and he followed my example without realising. “I have work assigned to me and do not listen to rumours. Please come back to me when you think you have actual evidence of any such dangerous thinking.” I moved towards the door and opened it waiting for him to exist the room. He stared at me and sneered.
“I will be back Mr BROWN!” He strode out of the room and I followed.
“I prefer Jim.” I said and he kept walking ignoring my words.
A few weeks later I was approached in the coffee shop by a man in black trousers, white shirt and a thin black tie. He was considered to be in casual attire because he did not wear a jacket.
“Jim, do you have moment?” He asked as I picked up my coffee. I had noticed him and hoped he was just getting a coffee for the Senior Executive.
“Is this about that nasty rumour?”
“Please forgive Samuel. He is junior and very enthusiastic”
This black tie man looked no older than the other moron I thought. “We can sit down there,” I offered pointing to private looking table in the corner of the café.
“Wonderful!” And he made his way and sat down with his back to the wall.
We do not shake hands these days so I simply sat opposite him and waited for him to speak.
“I am sure you understand the perilous times we live in.” He smiled pleasantly.
Wow! That looked almost real I thought as I replied, “I agree.”
“The science has been established” he announced spreading his hands like he was speaking to a huge audience.
I smiled at his gesture and asked him. “I would like to tell you a story if that is ok?
He looked perplexed at this question so I ventured on. “There was man who was sent a massive jigsaw puzzle in the mail. The box was huge and overflowing with pieces.” There was note in it saying figure it out. He dumped the pieces in the middle of his living room and as they scattered he looked for the photo of the end product. No matter how much he sifted through the huge mounds there was nothing anywhere. After several weeks he got a phone call asking if he has solved the puzzle yet. He told the voice on the phone that it is impossible without knowledge of the final solution.
Oh that is easy the voice said we have the previous version of the puzzle. If you compare the last one you should be able to work it out. The man was relieved and asked for it to be shipped to him. A few days later several crates of boxes appeared on his front door step with a note – as requested.
Excellent he thought and began the laborious task of opening the boxes to find the instructions but alas there were none to be found. It was chaos. Pieces everywhere. Some looked familiar to the pattern he had found in the original box but he could not be 99% sure. How could he possibly sort something he had never known before without references. That task would require a miracle and he did not believe in those!”
The black tied man kept a pleasant look on his face but his patience was waning I could tell. “So,” I asked, “How can the man work out what the second box was meant to show him when the first box also had no final image?” I asked
“Jim. If you are suggesting that this story somehow explains the virus than you are grossly mistaken!” He was speaking to me as an adult to a child. “We have highly detailed images of the virus and have sequenced its genes and proven beyond any doubt that it is indeed the same!”
“The same as what?” I asked.
He chucked without knowing that the trap had been set for him but it was too late. “We have detailed images and have sequenced the previous version of the virus and determined with a high level of certainty that they are indeed the same but this new strain is far more deadly than the first.”
“HMM” I said smiling, “Sounds like a miracle to me!”