“Okay Class. We’re done with this morning’s exercise,” Dr. Ambrose said, loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear what he was said. “Gather back around Miss Anderson here,” he said, motioning the members of the class to take up positions in a circle around a very healthy looking seventeen year old girl who was sitting on the edge of a lab table.
Clarissa raised her head to look at Professor Preston Ambrose. Her cheeks reddened a little in the frustration of the moment; her eyes widening as if to say she was tired of all of this now! He smiled. “Don’t worry Clarissa, it’s almost over. We’re almost done.” He gave her a light pat on the back. “Thank you so much for being such a good patient this morning. You’ve helped us so much by being here and being honest about your feelings. I know it’s not easy for you.”
“Will you be taking me home after this Professor?” she asked quietly, becoming suddenly conscious of the students encircling her. “Yes Clarissa. This is the last thing you’ll do today honey.” He said, still smiling.
The young lady - Miss Clarissa Anderson, had been extensively interviewed the first half of the morning by members of his class in order to give their Professor a clinical opinion and diagnosis. She had been pre-programmed to be a devout Christian, accomplished and beautiful, whose fondness for music amounted to a passion.
Her raging teenage hormones were causing her to daydream obsessively about “being with” the opposite sex. A very normal female teenage patient in all respects except that her sharp mind was creating ideas that were causing her to become depressed and concerned about being “normal” instead of having all the fun of her youth.
What was making things worse for Clarissa were the commercials, and other societal propaganda being spewed at her from all manner of electronic communication media. The songs being sung, the adverts, commercials, movies, magazines and almost every other kind of media contained words and phrases specifically geared to push the psychological buttons of impressionable young people like her. In short, like Pavlov’s dog, she was being conditioned by New York advertising firms, backed by lots of Chinese money to be a model consumer; providing them with a steady income from her family’s hard work.
Professor Ambrose had coined a clinical condition he called “Black Hole Syndrome” where young people are led to believe they “must have” and “need” the latest look; the latest shoes, styles and other useless commercial items to allow them to “fit in”.
They become lost, and eventually become a commercial “Black Hole” consuming and spending on anything pushed at them in some slick psychological packaging. Like the gravity surrounding a black hole; anything pushed into their vicinity of space needs to be sucked in and consumed - just what the people manufacturing these types of goodies want and need from them. These witless, numb-asses eventually become so lost, being dragged here and there by one slick advert after another, that they become as plastic as Clarissa Anderson – the android patient.
Beep! Professor Ambrose surreptitiously pressed a dark red button on the remote control laying atop the table next to Clarissa. “We’ll move on now to the subita morte extingui! This is something you’ll most definitely come across in your practices and you’ll need to understand and recognize it,” he said.
“Pay attention now.” The professor said. “We’ve all read about this and covered it in class. Now you will witness it for the first time.”
Clarissa’s gaze suddenly locked onto Professor Preston’s. She tried to say something but halted mid-syllable. Her head tilted downward, the expression on her warm slightly-powdered silicone face went as limp and pale as a used teabag. She slowly lay backward onto the lab table. Professor Preston motioned knowingly and almost as instantly several students helped Clarissa lay down comfortably.
She was dying. She suddenly seemed entirely unconscious, her eyes closed, the limbs grew cold, the pulse imperceptible or faintly fluttering, the breathing so faint as scarcely to stir the down of a feather.
The class of budding psycho-analysts was standing around her, looking down upon the fair haired lass in clinical awe. They took her pulse, listened to her breathing; watched the motion of her sternum moving slightly and almost imperceptibly up and down with every breath. Here and there, whispering between two or three adjacent classmates ensued, each describing their impressions of this moment they had read about, but never actually witnessed.
They were all expecting that any moment the lamp which was now burning so feebly would go out. Suddenly her lips slightly parted and a strain of music was heard, at first faint and trembling and then swelling in volume and harmony, until it seemed gushing forth wave on wave of liquid melody; it was almost unearthly to the young doctors-in-training standing around her.
Classmates looked at each other at first in disbelief and then simultaneously broke into laughter; pointing at one another after having witnessed the looks on each other’s faces and then congratulating Professor Ambrose who was laughing loudly with them. The music ceased; Clarissa was silent and then, she breathed her last.
The android’s beautiful body adopted the pre-programmed rigor mortis common among humans after death. What took hours or days naturally could be done quickly using medical androids. Young doctors could be exposed to death many times over the course of their studies, getting used to what they would actually witness when they started their own practices. There was also less risk in using them for clinical diagnoses as the young doctors could explore at will the psyche of the patient without fear of impacting an unstable human mind.
Clarissa Anderson was now an icy corpse in the stage that is hours or days before putrefaction begins in earnest.