The Northcountry Center for Ideological Cleansing at the Rookery in St. Frederick, New York, yesterday announced an astonishing new discovery that has enthused the pseudo scientific world with googled wonderment. Doctor Zorba Kildeere, the famed bioanthropsychist, has proclaimed the discovery to be a “real zeitgeist changer.” 

As a reporter for Adirondack Stream Media, I went to investigate.

“Bioanthropsychists have long accepted that canine human relationships are symbiotic,” Dr. Kildeere told me. “At NCIC we have determined that the symbiotic nature of this relationship is more truly psychochemical than biological as it is among plants and brute animals.”

“A psychochemical symbiosis defies the traditional understanding of brute or plant symbiotics,” the Doctor said, “The psyche is traditionally not considered a brute or plant attribute. We reject this traditional view. We have experimented with a hormone found in dogs and humans that we believe is at the root of their psychochemical symbiosis.” 

“Come,” Kildeere invited me. “I will take you to visit our commune. There you will witness the fruits of our labors. We are remodeling the American zeitgeist.” With a hand on my shoulder, Kildeere led me from the rookery.

Surrounding the rookery was a community of yurts of various sizes and colors, some small and some double yurts, some yellowing, some pale green. Outside a yellow yurt, by its open door, stood a young woman in a peasant dress. Before her played two children, a boy and a girl. The girl danced, lightly twirling on tiptoes. The boy and the young woman smiled.

At a neighboring yurt, sat two young men and a second young woman, cross legged, dazedly smiling skyward. Nearby was a bearded young man bent over to pluck a purple flower. Couples strolled about conversing. 

Kildeere took me across the palisade to the largest of the yurts, one suitable for a large gathering. Music came through its canvas walls, the music of flutes and strings, and of a softly jingled tambourine. We entered. 

Kildeere parroted Dylan, “Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me.” Everyone turned and laughed and sang “Doctor K, Doctor K come and play.”  The Doctor borrowed a flute and blew a passable Ian Anderson, though I do not know the tune. Men and women hugged and swayed dreamily. Rhythmless children danced holding hands.

Kildeere patted my back and led me from the yurt. He smiled at me, and I smiled back, though I wasn’t sure why. “Do you see what we have done?” He waved his free hand before me. “It is our hormone.” 

“But, Doctor Kildeere,” I asked, “Where are the dogs?”

“Ahh, that is just it. We have isolated and reproduced the hormone in our laboratory. It is now administered as a nasal spray. Dogs are no longer necessary to obtain the hormone’s mood altering benefits. The effects of the spray are much stronger and last much longer than the temporary pleasures of snuggling a puppy. 

That is why we have established our small commune, to better evaluate and measure the hormone’s broader behavioral and cognitive implications. We intend to prove that the hormone encourages desirable prosocial behavior. 

We will change first the Adirondack zeitgeist, then the world.” He smiled as we strolled back towards the rookery. “But, Doctor,” I intruded on his reverie, “what about the dogs?” 

“Young man,” he looked at me instructively, “Dogs will no longer be necessary to one’s happiness…or be a bothersome intrusion upon one’s day. Think of it! No more feedings or messes to pick up after. No sheddings. No gouges in the wood floors. No early morning or late night walks in all kinds of weather. No barking. I could go on.”

I looked at him horrified. Was he serious? “We’re in the Adirondacks,” I reminded him. “While there may be issues about leashes on the trails and other such nonsense, the idea of no dogs will not go over well. Frankly, Doctor, I’d expect a revolt.”

“Yes,” we have anticipated resistance. “We have developed the hormone as an odorless and tasteless aerosol. Drones will deliver the molecularized hormone throughout the Adirondacks like tiny crop dusters. The population will be pacified and trusting of our prosocial agenda.”

I could only slowly shake my lowered head. Sure, a socially cognitive world is desirable. But, a world without dogs is not a price I am prepared to pay. I expressed my gratitude and took my leave, glad to watch the rookery fade behind me in my rearview mirror.

3 thoughts on “OXYTOCIN by Edward Pontacoloni

  1. Edward, this sounds like a beginning of a good SF short story or novel. I wonder if you might want to write more. Maybe put some conflict for example, how dog owners rise up against the Dr. Good voice and imagination. You had me wanting to read more.

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