In the deserts of a long-forgotten continent Dr. Angela Worble discovers a skeleton that appears, to her initial tests, 100% evil-free.
Here is how you can distinguish an evil-free skeleton from an evil or ambivalent skeleton.
First, an evil-free skeleton has a very happy smile.
It’s charming. It makes you want to smile back, even though its head is nothing but white bone. Its teeth, you might imagine, in the right light, might TING.
Second, it feels good to be near an evil-free skeleton. When Dr. Angela Worble cracks open the skeleton’s sarcophagus she feels the warm, happy glow one traditionally feels in the presence of an evil-free soul.
Third, when challenged on its actions, an evil-free skeleton can provide a clear, compelling rationale.
“Why did you lay here immured for all these years,” asks Dr. Angela Worble, “when the world needed you?”
No tendons, the skeleton seems to say—to indicate, really. No tendons and no tongue makes its hard to do much else.
“Wow,” Angela says.
She hugs herself, briefly, because finding an evil-free skeleton is just that cool. Then she begins making calls.
“James,” she says, to Dr. Standish, on her cell.
“I’m pretty sure,” she says, “that evil isn’t natural to the human condition.”
“Oh?” he says.
“I think it’s an infection. I’ve been carbon-dating this evil-free skeleton and I think that humans began acquiring evil RNA parasites sometime after 3100 BC.”
“That would be the logical conclusion,” Dr. Standish agrees with that lightning-quick acuity characteristic to the scientists of the day.
There’s a bit of dead air on the line.
“But I can’t accept your premise,” Dr. Standish concludes.
“So, get on a plane,” Dr. Worble tells him, smiling, as she always does.
And Dr. Standish flies to the site.
It’s not very long before he’s standing there staring at the skeleton. “Well, that’s just rude,” he says, “overturning centuries of scientific exploration of the nature of genetic good and evil just like that.”
It just kind of happened, the skeleton indicates apologetically.
And Dr. Standish has to forgive it. He doesn’t have any choice! It’s too apologetic!
“Have you finished isolating the parasitic RNA?” he asks.
“It’s hard,” says Dr. Worble, “because what with one thing and another there are other genetic differences between my flesh and his bones.”
Dr. Standish clicks his tongue sympathetically. “The evil’s probably in the deoxyribolin swarm,” he says.
The deoxyribolin swarm is a special bodily animo that swarms over its genetic enemies during foetal development and chops them to bits with small particles of sheathed biomatter. It’s so fierce that 99% of all infants contain more deoxyribolin per gene than any of deoxyribolin’s enemies.
“I checked,” Angela says. “He’s deoxyriboliffic.”
Dr. Standish taps the skeleton accusingly.
Deoxyribolin builds strong bones, the skeleton suggests.
“Bah,” snorts Dr. Standish.
Sorry, blushes the skeleton, and James totally forgives it.
“What we’re going to have to do is set up a battery of tests,” Dr. Worble says. “And use them to discover relevant evidence!”
Dr. Standish looks skeptical.
“No, really,” says Dr. Worble. “We totally should.”
Dr. Standish is won over.
He nods, once, firmly. “I am at your disposal.”
But that night he isn’t disposed. Instead he is restless. He wakes from a tossing and turning sleep and walks into the skeleton’s room.
“What if you’re not evil-free?” he asks it. “What if you’re just charming?”
Don’t be ridiculous, the skeleton seems to say.