Osarugue, quit whining. Bring your husband and we will rewire him. Rather than call him a cheat, label him promiscuous, or paint him as a terrible person, simply say he is polyamorous or sexually polygamous. That sounds fairer. Whining will not stop him from dipping his penis in all available vaginas; that is the work of the University College Hospital.
Osarugue, while I think it is unfair that you expect anyone to conform to your unrealistic expectations of having only one sexual partner and of taking coffee without sugar, I’m more interested in your happiness. So, my friend, if you are really unhappy about Osahon chasing younger ladies around the city, bring him over and I promise you, we will do something about it but first, get me some sugar and some more milk please.
Now, for Osahon. The main problem will be how to convince him to come to the hospital to pick the one he prefers from these three options. First option; new codes that modify the savage instinct to reproduce will be written into his genes. See, there’s a pre-existing code, a commandment, etched in all living things, screaming ‘Multiply! Multiply!’ and with it, a brutish force ensuring obedience. This force recognises only very simple and direct codes; survival = reproduction = sex [and as much as can be gotten by any means]. It doesn’t care about our morality, and complex ideas like monogamy, polygamy, family planning and depletion of resources. For it, sexual pleasure is just a means to the end of reproduction and survival, and it does not care if modern humans agree with its methods.
So, darling, the first choice is to write an alternative commandment, a code that overrides the survival trait of spreading seed around like a desperate farmer. Osarugue, we will imprint monogamy on his genes and you will finally get your selfish desire to have an amazing man waste all his intense sexual energy on only you.
Now, about the second option for Osahon to choose from. Remember the day after the epic riot in the university, when soldiers flooded the campus and armoured tanks sat in every corner? How those loquacious Student Union boys, mellowed? How the unsmiling, uncultured soldiers stood gun-ready, hungry to shoot down anyone who made a suspicious move? That was in 2018, right? How so quickly a decade has gone by.
The second option is to use Nanobots. They are just like those ruthless soldiers deployed to our school; unsmiling, pre-instructed and not open to negotiation. The only difference is in their size and make-up. Nanobots are microscopic and made in the lab unlike those beasts in uniforms. That’s what these military men are, my dear, beasts! Osahon is the only military man I know that is an exception. Save for his polyamory and the fact that you’re unhappy about it, he is a good man.
So, we will inject these microscopic soldiers into his bloodstream and they will lie there, waiting idly, until the frequency in thoughts of promiscuity rises to a certain level. If and when they do, the Nanobots will spring into action, either going the easy way of limiting blood flow to the penis- making an erection impossible, or the more extreme path of taking control of the nervous system and immobilizing the person. This option has obvious drawbacks and is the least popular; yet within two months of the University College Hospital approving the process, a few couples have chosen to go for it.
Meanwhile, these Nanobots, apart from picking signals of sexual arousal from the brain’s activity, they also examine sexual stimulation that reveals itself in altered electrical resistance of the skin, altered salinity of sweat, increased rate of heartbeat. After necessary confirmation that the person has been sexually aroused by an unregistered face, object or idea, the Nanobots swing into action.
The third option, which is my favourite, is rewiring of the brain. We are going to alter Osahon’s preferences by tweaking the way his brain works. Osarugue, remember how I used to take mood stabilizing drugs and anti-depressants when ovulating? Remember that one time I had no money to buy them and every one saw my true colours? Remember the scar I gave Irenosen that day? Good God, I was a tiger.
That same Irenosen called me sometime last year, grateful for the scar. Imagine! She said she now carries it in love, as a gift, and caresses it when she reminisces about our time together. Haa, the same Irenosen who didn’t talk to me for the rest of the semester after I pounced on her. Irenosen whom I knelt before, in front of the Surgery 501 lecture theatre, in the presence of all our classmates, begging her for forgiveness and openly declaring my love for her.
Thinking about the incident now, I’m grateful that she hissed and walked out, leaving me to face the class’ mockery. If not for it, perhaps I wouldn’t have explored men. I might have thought women were all that got me going. Anyway, my madness didn’t stop that day, but since then, I’ve managed to have enough money to not miss my Lamictal. See, I was basically a drug junkie until Musa Benson brought his machine over to us at the College Hospital and I was pushed to rewire my brain.
I only wired the part that had to do with my madness but then, we’ve rewired full brains of hundreds of people and had a hundred percent success, so there really is nothing to fear. In my own case, we rewired the parts of my brain controlling the production of certain hormones swimming in my bloodstream and my dear, like magic, it worked perfectly. Meanwhile, if I forget, remind me to tell you about the Australian Pastor and his daughter.
For Osahon’s rewiring, we can drop testosterone a tad, and increase oxytocin and perhaps, match the production of serotonin and dopamine– the feel-good hormones– with activities that involve you, his darling wife. When we look at his brain and the current algorithms it works by, we will know the exact way to rewire his brain into monogamy.
Oh darling, stop. Haven’t you heard about the Benson agitator on the news? Because Musa Benson is from your village and you know his family, you don’t believe he can invent something that would bring the world’s focus on Nigeria? Indeed, a prophet is not honoured in his home. So you think professionals from other countries, far and near, are attesting to the wonders of the Benson agitator and would connive to put Nigeria in such massive spotlight for no adequate reason? Use your head, girl. Use it and see that this rewiring thing has arrived and is here to stay.
About the Australian preacher… Five weeks ago, he came to the University College Hospital with Cecile, his imbecilic seven-year-old daughter. She had large cute eyes that seemed to reach out to me. Her tongue stuck out most of the time and she drooled while making indecipherable sounds with her mouth, her head bopping back and forth. I let her sit on my thigh and kept wiping the saliva that dripped from her mouth while her father was across the office with Bankole Sijuade, the head of department.
It turned out to be a peculiar case, even for the more experienced professionals in the team. The peculiarity wasn’t even with the poor girl. It was her father. The man insisted he watched while we worked and considering the large sum he was paying, we obliged him. As we detailed his daughter’s natural brain wiring on our computer, highlighting the faults, this preacher man buzzed around our ears like a fly.
Mate, wha’those red splotches on hah brain? Why this righ’ side look so beautiful? Why no splotches here? She isn’t just my rellie, she my own daughter. Noe, why this par’of her brain look like a snag? I didn’t fly forevah to bring Cecile to this Woop Woop for no’hing. I’ve seen your videos, mates. I know you a’rexcellent. Yeah, reckon me. Be careful there, don’t be in no hurry.
We spent almost double the usual time to mark out the faults before putting her into the Benson agitator for the rewiring. For the duration of the sixty minutes she was in there, her father didn’t take a break from pacing and praying. The coffee he requested for grew cold and he was asking for a replacement when the door opened and Cecile stood there, beautiful as a sunset. There was no spittle dripping from her mouth, her tongue was well tucked in and her head stayed in place. When she smiled, preacher man let the tears fall. He walked slowly and when he reached her, he fell to his knees. He wrapped his arms around her and kept declaring how much he loved her amidst sobs. My eyes welled up and I was tempted to join father and daughter in their emotive moment.
One afternoon, about a week after Cecile and her father returned to Australia, one of the nurses drew my attention to what was showing on TV. It was Preacher man and he was live, talking about us in University College Hospital.
The Benson agitator takes away the natu’rof sin in a man. Nobody, not one single person walks into University College Hospital and comes out same. You are transformed into a new man, old things are passed away’n your life. Reckon mates, the Benson gospel can’t be contained in pages of no holy book; it is the power of God, through an invention of man, to bring more men to salvation.
Some other Doctors and Nurses gathered, and together, we watched the Preacher. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and ownership for being a part of the University College Hospital team that standardized the workings of the Benson agitator. Still, I joined others to laugh at the preacher as he made an attempt to turn an amazing invention to a tool for religion. To bring more men to salvation indeed!
Preacher man on TV was still comic relief to us until four days later when visitors from Australia came to see Bankole. They had been aware of the Benson agitator and had been in discussion with the department but apparently, an Aussie in high authority had heard Preacher man’s testimonies and his influence had sparked a new momentum in their efforts.
“These Australians are really crafty,” Bankole exclaimed during the meeting he called after they had left. “They have seen a possible application of the Benson agitator and our Nanobot program and want to make an investment. Apparently, they plan to decongest their prisons by rewiring all inmates. The inmates’ brains will be wired so that they process information and direct actions in guarded ways that keep them within the limits of the law.”
Osarugue, I was also as surprised as you are now when Bankole told us. Yet, I haven’t even told you a pinch of what was discussed in the meeting. My sister, fire came down! They turned the meeting room into a debate floor, with Bankole and his supporters on one side, arguing for rewiring of the prison inmates and Chukwuebuka Mbelu– our Benson agitator operator, and two others, arguing against. Tell me, my sister, what could your sweetheart do? I folded my hands and settled in to watch the drama unfold?
“When you strip a man of his ability to choose, you are not only infringing on his human rights, you are messing with his free-will. This rewiring of inmates is just plain evil,” Mbelu fired.
“Putting criminals in cages is also morally wrong but can we allow them to roam our streets and cause havoc without doing something about it? Till date, we imprison them, wasting their productive years and the country’s potential man-power, but with our rewiring, we can transform them into law abiding citizens and send them back into society. I look to a future where all prisons are turned into rehabilitation facilities for wrong doers to be rewired into responsibility.” Bankole countered.
“With all due respect, you…”
“Don’t ‘due respect’ me, Mbelu. What do you have to say? What? You can’t bear the fact that wrong-doers will walk away without retribution? Are we supposed to punish criminals or rehabilitate them? Mbelu, you of all people should know that a man’s actions are a result of first, his genes and brain wiring, and then societal interaction, all of which are out of his control. Why then do we blame a man for his actions? Why do we seek to punish them for actions they were pushed into by the malfunction of their brains, the overproduction of hormones or a dysfunctional society? Mbelu, the ball is in our court and I can boldly tell you that we have a chance to change the world forever. We will take away the crime from a criminal and give back to society, a trustworthy and honest man. We will nip the demon off a possessed child with the Benson Agitator, and a man, foolish at forty, would walk into University College Hospital and come out hours later with the capacity to be a genius.
“Sir, I wasn’t going in this direction but I’ll keep my previous comment aside and ask you only one question.”
“Ask a hundred questions, if you can. Progress will not be limited by your fears.”
“Sir, do you agree that tampering with brains in this way limits free will and zombifies people?
“What is this one saying? Hasn’t nature already limited our free will? Do you control the firing of neurons in your brain? Do you tell your brain to work in a particular way or it just does, and you learn to live with it? My friend, science has given us the opportunity to redesign our mental faculties, to construct the limits of our own free will. Will you rather live your life with an attitude, behaviour, IQ, and temperament fixed by the wistful hands of nature or one designed thoughtfully and exactly how you want it?”
“If we get to that point sir, it would be good to also wire a good dose of emotional intelligence into some people’s brains so they will understand when something has gone too far.”
“Oh, are we now taking cheap shots?”
“Perhaps, my brain will also be wired not to take cheap shots. Mr. Bankole, sir, the future you look to is a very bleak one, filled with mindless beings that wouldn’t have it in them to say ‘no’, to revolt or challenge convention- an inescapable death to creativity and humanity. The moment we start rewiring convicts, the ball starts rolling and soon enough people will walk into hospitals of their own accord, demanding for super mental abilities. Governments, in a bid to align their citizens to national objectives, will enforce a nationwide rewiring, driving everyone to think alike with one unified mind-set. At birth, babies will be wired to have genius capacity, yet their reasoning will be policed by stringent policies. And who determines these policies? The government? This would be the end of humanity as we know it. Is this really the future you dream of, sir?”
Osarugue, my sister, it was world war three! These men were actually sweating and banging tables. The veins on Mbelu’s neck stood out, taut as guitar strings begging to be plucked at. For the first time ever, I saw Bankole get ruffled. With the unfamiliar fire in his eyes, he looked like an angry kitten, cute in a way. Meanwhile, trust your girl, as per newest staff who still had much to prove, I stood up and joined them, matching their energy and fury.
“Mr. Bankole, if we get to the point of changing behavioural characteristics of every Bimpe and Bose, we will face huge dilemmas. We would have to restructure our morality as a race seeing as freewill and human responsibility for actions would now be clearly seen by all as the farce that it is. Also, intolerant governments could refuse to acknowledge minority groups and attempt to align whole populations to a single religious belief and sexual preference,” I argued.
My points tipped the scale, I think. By the time I finished dishing, Bankole raised his eyebrows questioningly and stared at me a few seconds. When he walked away from the argument and left the room, those of us that had spoken against rewiring of inmates patted ourselves on the back. It was a short-lived victory, however. By five o’clock that same day, the hospital’s medical director sent a general e-mail to all R&D department staff.
Do take this as a notice and kindly share with all stakeholders as may be necessary.
It is pertinent for all members of staff to fully understand the Hospital’s objectives and work in line with the organizational battle plans. I don’t expect personal sentiments to cloud professional judgements.
If there is a need of further clarification, please report to the Departmental Head.
I look forward to your support in the advancement of science and betterment of humanity.
University College Hospital
Bankole had convinced the top boss! There was no fighting it, the other option was to resign, so we all went home that day probably praying for the future of humanity.
The irony of the office drama rammed us all the next day when Mbelu came to work with his wife. She became our first patient who wasn’t suffering from any apparent or fatal mental problem. After rewiring her, the department opened its arms and welcomed the kleptomaniac, the promiscuous, people with OCD, the bipolar, and other such people which it hadn’t considered at first.
Meanwhile, Mbelu insisted that no one but me was to work on the fault finding; he didn’t want the others to know why he had brought his wife in for analysis and rewiring. My sister, how could he? After his argument the previous day? By the time I detailed his wife’s brain algorithms and noted the faults, even I was amazed. The woman was practically a walking doll, hardly capable of independent thought. The only neurons firing properly in her brain were the ones responsible for basic survival. Her IQ was 65, a very disturbingly low value.
That night when I got home and told Nonso about Mbelu’s wife and how her IQ jumped from a measly sixty-five to a whopping one hundred and ten after the rewiring, he was impressed. As we turned in for the night much later, my husband decided to try his luck;
“Tamara, can this Benson agitator thing adjust a person’s sexual preferences and needs? Are you guys good enough to work that?”
I wanted to tell him that the University College Hospital team was good enough to do any freaking thing and that changing sexual preferences was a small job for the Benson agitator but instead, I just kept quiet and pretended to be asleep. Nonso wasn’t having it. He tapped my arms repeatedly and asked again but I kept responding with sleepy gibberish until he wore out.
The following morning at breakfast, he threw the question at me again. You know how I am, Osarugue. I couldn’t lie to him. He begged and I agreed. When I came home with the rewiring results, he just stared at it, a gross grin growing on his face. The selfish, slithery sucker that he is. He could tell that the result was legitimate because of the department’s stamp and Bankole’s moniker. But the old man couldn’t tell that I had only rewired the parts that flared my temper during ovulation.
Osarugue, I love Nonso and I want to enjoy the rest of my life with him, but you know what they say about a leopard and its spots. The pleasure centres of my brain rate these seemingly emotionless one-night-stands with strange men above whatever benefits sticking to one man proffers. Perhaps this is why I have decided to leave him. I can’t keep pretending to be rewired neither can I bear to have him tolerate my promiscuous self. He will find a girl like you, selfish in the same manner as he.
So, back to your complaints and whining. If Osahon is ready to sexually commit to you, offer him the three options; re-engineering his genes, Nanobots, or rewiring. If he won’t commit, you should dump his ass. You deserve to be happy, irrespective of your partner’s preferences. Life is that simple. Whatever decision you go with, remember the University College Hospital can make your silly wishes come true. Choose wisely.
Bio: Aito Osemegbe Joseph works as a sales professional during the day and at dusk, writes short stories. His stories have appeared in Brittle Paper, Munyori, and Kalahari Review. His story ‘The List’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Writivism short story prize.