DIRTY SMARTPHONE

Whatever dad likes, I like, that’s what the little boy said, near as I could tell, I couldn’t actually hear him, to be honest, but I saw him staring up at the other man, smile on his face, eager, if dad loves it, I love it, that was the clear expression on his face, and a remarkable face it was, so nearly ((human)) my heart wanted to break, and the man, a real man, he appreciated the details of his android boy as much as the actual sentiment, that was clear, and it made me realize that I hadn’t seen one of those android children in years, what with procreation now returning to normal, well, not normal, but it’s happening once again, after more than a generation where our children were nearly all wiped out, the horror and pain of that leading us ((humans)) quite naturally to just stop having children, even if we could, most couldn’t, because why go through that physical pain, that emotional turmoil, have a child, a living child, then witness them quickly be overwhelmed by our world, the sanitized environment not able to provide them with the germs and bacteria and a trillion more living unseen things they needed to survive, and your little boy or girl or undetermined withering away over the next 12–24 months, just devastating, and our best scientists, even Giant Brain, couldn’t stem this new black plague, only that was wrong, it was the opposite of a plague, in fact, that was the crux of the issue, we had gotten so good at ridding the world of everything we deemed a toxin, everything that could have harmed us, and it had made life much more bountiful, for a time, for those living, the GMOs and the Soylent and 3D printed food, and the UV lights and pasteurization and the sanitizing drones that sprayed the air and ground and water, killing off the impurities, and the self-cleaning driverless cars, and all the sterilizing bots as commonplace as bus stops in the 20th century, and the pill bots that cleaned out our insides, there wasn’t even a need to poop anymore, not more than about once every couple weeks, plus there was never much of a need to interact with people in physical space, in screen was always better, and all those hopeful parents, they meant well, they wanted the absolute best for their child, the choice was given to them and they took it, selected the very best DNA from multiple parties, two women, two men, or sometimes one woman, three men, the very best attributes from the very best available, but combined all that cleanliness turned out to be not quite godliness, as more and more of us were felled by whatever bug or virus or bacteria, all those natural bits that remained, and it was the smartphone that saved us, people like me, old people, long mocked, we never wanted to give up our smartphones, the rest of the world had long since moved on, pods inside their ears transmitting their brainwaves to the outside world, controlling devices, and their voice interacting with Giant Brain, which was everywhere, and I guess it was all so much better than our silly old smartphones, but people like me, we hate to give up what works, what we’re used to, and all those taps and swipes and touches, and all the germs on the screen clutched in our hand, we wound up being stronger, stronger against the unseen enemy, and finally our scientists, their vanity and status having long since precluded them from accepting defeat, in a final effort to understand why us older folk remained healthy as the children died, they realized our nasty, germ-infested, dirty, buggy smartphones had made us immune, and so now everyone uses a smartphone, and we’ve reduced our reliance on the sterilizing bots and the drones periodically spray bad germs over us, and the children are living past age 2 now, and more are having children and so those little android boys and girls, I suspect they are as extinct as the smartphones nearly were, and it’s kinda sad because the android boy clearly loves the man and he’s almost aware of that feeling, poor guy.