Bill: Excuse me, but it looks like you’ve taken my seat, sir.
John: What? That’s impossible. My seat is 15A.
Bill: Perhaps the airline has made a mistake. It happens sometimes. Here is my boarding pass, my seat is 15A (he shows the stranger his boarding pass).
John: (taking out his ticket) Yes, you're right. But which seat is mine, then? Yeah, here! Mine is 15C, after all. My apologies… I will free your seat at once.
Bill: It's okay, John. Do not worry.
John: Excuse me, do we know each other?
Bill: Do we… ? Oh, sorry, I accidentally read your name on the ticket. By the way, my name is Bill, nice to meet you. (he held out his hand)
John:Very nice to meet you (he shook Bill's hand). Let me put your suitcase on the hand luggage shelf. There is a perfect spot for it.
Bill: (pushing the suitcase aside) No, no, thanks. I'd rather put it under the seat. I have a laptop inside; I'm afraid that it might break.
John: Ok. (he seats down and fastens his seatbelt) Are you flying to Paris or just in transit?
Bill: Going to Paris. And you?
John: Me too. Is this your first visit to France?
Bill: Yes. And, apparently, the last one.
John: Hmm... yes, Paris is not the same... The city has changed a lot over the past 15 years.
Bill: Do you go there often?
John: I have to. I work for a large multinational corporation. Are you going to Paris for work reasons?
Bill: Hehe, you could say that. In fact, I'm flying to Paris to decide the fate of mankind.
John: Ha-ha, Bill, I instantly recognized that you are a scientist. And you are most likely flying to some scientific conference with a very important report. Am I right?
Bill: You are! How did you guess?
John: Well, first of all, you are still holding on to your suitcase, apparently your important report is right inside it (smiles amiably).
Bill: Oh, how silly of me (slaps himself on the forehead), I'm sorry... I’m kind of absent-minded this morning...
Bill put his suitcase under the seat in front of him.
John: And, second reason is, I often have to converse with all kinds of scientists, artists, designers due to the nature of my work. So, I recognize your fellow colleagues right away. Bill, if it is not a secret, what is your specialization?
Bill: My specialization? I have a degree in microbiology, but lately I have been very much engrossed in archeology, biology and...
Bill didn’t manage to finish, because he was interrupted by the captain’s voice, which informed that the plane was ready for takeoff. When the plane gained altitude, John took out a fresh newspaper and began to read it. Bored Bill had nothing to do, so he began to read John's newspaper. Out of the corner of his eye, John noticed that his companion was also reading his newspaper.
John: What do you think about this news story, Bill? (moves the newspaper closer to Bill)
Bill: Oh, sorry. I didn’t want to bother you.
John: That’s ok. So, what do you think? (nods at the newspaper)
Bill: That’s basically nothing new... I’d read the very same thing 10 years ago. Most interestingly, if this newspaper was published during the times of Neanderthals, it would probable contain the very same things.
John: Really? What do you mean?
Bill: I, I .. I mean, over the fifty thousand years of the existence of Homo Sapiens, practically nothing has changed in our way of thinking, our desires and actions.
John: What are you talking about?
Bill: (leans closer to John) I want to say that people still kill each other for resources and power. Just as before, the strong humiliate and exploit the weak, and the power belongs to the villains who, through violence and deception, govern society.
John: Really? You so lightly compare our civilization with the barbarian tribes that have hunted mammoths and slept in caves. Do we really have that much in common with them?
Bill: You can’t even imagine... We differ from them only by the weapons we now have – instead of sticks and stones we have nuclear bombs, tanks and airplanes. But our motivation is still that of the primitive people. Do you know that humans have engaged in their first genocide 50,000 years ago? Homo Sapiens had deliberately destroyed the Neanderthals.
John: No, I didn’t. But I believe that there is no surprise in that. We descend from monkeys. You probably know that better than me. And if we behave almost the same as our distant ancestors did – what's so unusual about that? As they say, may the best man win.
John: Homo Sapiens turned out to be stronger than the Neanderthal man, so the Neanderthals disappeared, and the winners continued to reproduce. This is only natural.
Bill: So, if the Nazis had managed to destroy all the Jews, it would be only natural and logical? Right?
John: No, of course not... It's a bit different...
Bill: Unfortunately, John, it's the same thing. It would seem that Homo Sapiens should have used all this time to develop and get rid of their primal habits and backward mentality. But that did not happen. The humans have remained the same. There has been no evolution. Moreover, the humankind had only further developed its negative qualities, becoming more cunning, cynical, greedier and more dangerous. Only now we cover up our wild instincts for power and money with moral principles and hide them under beautiful wrappings.
John: Bill, I think you're being pessimistic. It's not that bad. Don’t you know that the situation was far worse during the Middle Ages? They could have been burned at the stake for any trifling nonsense. What about slavery? We don’t have any of these terrible things anymore.
John: We have a democracy. We have independent courts and freedom of religion. No, Bill, I don’t agree with you. People have made a huge leap in their social development.
Bill: (sighs) It really does look that way. But if you dig a little deeper... In general, all these pretentious words about democracy and freedom are just a beautiful wrapper. And what does it conceal? Violence and ignorance. People have simply become more cunning. They’ve honed the skills that allow them to lie to each other and to themselves. In fact, they’ve perfected these skills.
John: Don’t you believe in democracy?
Bill: Is that a matter of belief? Although you are right. People used to believe in spirits, then in one god. And now they believe in democracy and the dollar.
John: I do understand what you're talking about. And believe me, I completely agree with you on this. Our world isn’t perfect. There are a lot of villains around, so we still have a lot of work to do. But we’ll solve all these problems. We are solving them already. Give humans some more time and they’ll remedy the situation.
Bill: (stares at a spot in front of him) The problem is that we are out of time. 500 centuries weren’t enough for people to fix everything. Therefore, humanity has no chance. Humanity is doomed.
John looked at Bill. He seemed to have immersed in a trance. He sat motionless and stared blankly at the seat in front of him. It made John feel uneasy.
John: I'll go to the bathroom and fetch us something to drink on my way back.
Log in to add a comment