This fills the “exhaustion” square in the January Bingo Card.
Names from Fourteen Minutes‘ random name generator.
Warning: this might be a bit creepy.
“How can we be running out?” Shadde-Reston had that high-management refusal to accept numbers that Basia knew far too well; one had to work around it with charts and graphics and, if possible, displays that invoked all the senses.
“Let me show you, Se.” When one is the bearer of bad news, be as deferential as possible. One didn’t want to end up being the next bad news.
“I don’t want more charts. Do you understand what this means, Basia? If we run out?”
“Se, I know that we are running out. I know that this will have huge effects on the economy. I know that it will cut the luxuries market by over a half. I know that it will cut the food market by more than that. People will starve.”
“It’s the end of an era!” Shadde’s voice was trilling upwards. Basia responded by keeping a completely level tone of voice.
“It is certainly going to require some changes. The most efficient plan would be to pare luxuries down to the very minimum, curtail euphoric production, and, of course, cut back on imports until we can restructure our economy.”
“I still don’t understand how this could have happened.”
“If you’d let me show you the demonstration, Se?”
“Your demonstrations are always so dreary, Basia.”
“That is my job, Se Shadde-Reston.” When one wasn’t being listened to, sometimes one had to resort to high formality. “This one’s job has always been to distill the facts for the Supervisors. And this one must do one’s job.”
“No displays. No demonstrations. No charts. Just tell me how we could run out? How do you run out of workers? They’re a renewable resource. Leave them alone and they make more of themselves.”
Basia coughed. “That would be the problem, Se. They, ah, stopped making more.”
“What did they do?” Shadde leaned forward over the 100-years-extinct-hardwood desk. “What did they do?”
Basia was going to have to spell it out. “Se Shadde, they stopped breeding. They stopped having sex.”
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