460: Dolce far Niente ...
Reservations Recommended, Chapter 3 continues
DOLCE FAR NIENTE is in the area where Belinda works, an area of spanking-new office buildings housing young companies engaged in microelectronics, computer software, genetic engineering, and any number of things involving lasers, many of which are offensive. Matthew looks around. “This whole section of town is all so new,” he says. “What was here before — I mean, before all this?”
“Almost nothing. It was just a blank between two highways.”
“Oh, yeah,” says Matthew, recalling. “The only thing I remember about it is a lot of trucks. This is amazing. Last year it was a parking lot, now it’s Houston.”
He has the uneasy feeling that in one of these handsome buildings strange microscopic beings, the like of which have never been seen on earth before, are at this moment engineering their escape from a petri dish. Do genetic engineering outfits use petri dishes? he wonders. Do they raise their manufactured microbes on agar, or are agar and petri dishes hopelessly out of date?
“Do genetic engineering outfits grow their creatures in agar?” he asks. “In petri dishes?”
“What?” says Belinda. “What on earth makes you ask that?”
“I — ” It seems too much to explain. “I don’t know. I just wondered. Probably not. They’ve probably engineered some new stuff to feed the newer stuff. Something bred to be eaten. The perfect diet. Salvation of the planet. Feed the starving. Allow more breeding.”
“Wow. Is it my coat that got you onto this?”
“My coat made you bring up the subject of hunger?”
“What? No! Oh, no, not at all. I love your coat. You look spectacular in it.”
[to be continued on Wednesday, March 29, 2023]
In Topical Guide 460, Mark Dorset considers Food: Artificial from this episode.
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