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Tuesday 19 July 2016

Message in a Bottle, by Anthony Bloor

The inability of a species to reproduce itself must inevitably lead to its extinction. As the person responsible for this tragedy, I must set out the facts, in the hope that another life form, human or alien, will judge me kindly. It was I who discovered that catarrh could be recycled into a source of fuel, I who produced the blueprint for the manufacture of Phlegmonium 125, and my discoveries were fortuitous. New viruses were rife; humans everywhere suffered from permanent colds; and our energy sources were depleted. But the burning of phlegmonium had unforeseen consequences. Within a generation, we knew we were doomed. The reproductive process simply failed; cloning techniques failed. Impotence and infertility; men and women both implicated – so the gynaecologists said. But I still believe that a woman’s nose is more sensitive than a man’s. My wife is here now, sneezing. She stares at me, accusingly. There are four of us left in the town. Our average age is 140. There’s nobody left to manage the phlegmonium plants; nobody capable of closing them down. The toxins are still out there. And we walk the streets regardless – we won’t be here for long.

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