THE GREAT CLEANSING

BY

ROBERT WALLACE PAOLINELLI

Science fiction works of literature and of the cinema often portray grotesque creatures and human-like creatures from outer space as dangerous, as typified in the genre of monster(s)-from-outer-space films and similar novels and short stories.

However, the past few years films and books have been portraying space visitors as benevolent--even to be pitied and protected as exemplified in the films "ET" and "Starman." I am glad this change has happened. As a writer I am inspired to write a story based on the complete goodness of some space visitors, wherein they are most willing and able to reverse the calamities besetting the planet and the Human Condition. The star visitors literally heal and cleanse the planet:--

The air is cleaned; smog and other airborne toxic mists vanish. There is no threat to humans or to the environment from filthy air.

The pollution in the waters is also cleaned. Every drop of moisture has been rid of every atom of man-made pollution and once more both humans and animals can again drink deeply and freely from any stream, lake, pond, fountain or river, for all sources of water above and below ground have been made pure and everyone is happy that the waters have also been returned to such a pure state.

Then the visitors healed billions of people of every malady and disease known--and unknown--to modern science. No errant microbes were dangerous; no disease could take root in or on the human body. Every kind of cancer was elimina- ted; AIDS vanished; typhoid, cholera, polio, dementia, insanity and schizophrenia were also eliminated. There were no more headaches, no soreness, no bursitis or arthritis; no internal organ dysfunctioned or malfunctioned. Every organ was filled with health and everyone was healthy; no longer was there any need for medical doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines. Gradually all the doctors and nurses were forced to retire; hospitals all over the world closed, so too pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies and other industries connected to so-called health maintenance. Millions of people were let go and the universities closed down their medical schools, nursing schools, dental schools and schools of pharmacy.

People who had lost their vision or who had been born blind had their vision restored and blindness disappeared from the roster of human maladies.

Those who had lost limbs or who had been born without a limb or limbs were all treated by the star people and there was no longer any need for prosthetics of any kind. No canes, crutches were needed. All former amputees and limbless people had arms and legs restored; even the fingerless and earless--even the noseless were treated. Every lack and deformity was dealt with.

All the fields and forests and mountains and plains and deserts were made pure; and all the creatures of the earth, in the sea and of the air were made pure. All animals and plants used as food were free from pollutants.

The space visitors rid the Human Condition of all its physical and environmental ills; however, when an old woman asked that her soul be made pure by their cosmic powers, the space visitors were at a loss, for they had no power to cleanse the soul.

After a while the star men left Earth and flew off into space never more to be seen.

After a while those who had lost materially were angry. In spite of the obvious benefit of the universal cleansing, those who had had positions of authority or who had had riches felt left out and neglected. And their discontent was voiced loudly and people of small intelligence began to beleive that they too had lost something because of the Great Cleansing, i.e. a way to earn money.

In the early days of the Great Purification, people didn't work much and stores gave food away; but now that the shock of being liberated from most of the torments of the Human Condition was wearing off, many people didn't think they were as well off as they had been before the Great Cleansing.

The automobile manufacturers took a beating because as soon as the clouds of smog were eliminated and blue skies could be seen and the air was clean, people didn't use their cars; but now the auto giants and their workers were unemployed; but most people didn't want automobiles anymore; nevertheless, there were enough people who believed otherwise to make a difference and to make trouble.

Of course--and it goes without belaboring the issue much to say that--the petroleum industry, from top to bottom was also shut down; and the benefits notwithstanding, the petroleum industry wanted to get back into action and make some money. The earth was clean they said. They would be careful and not spill a drop of petroleum--so went their arguments.

Eventually the whole world was against itself.

No one really remembers who fired the first shot and there is no record of the release of the first chemical warfare bomb; and there is no record to show which sinking tanker sent thousands and thousands of barrels of petroleum to float atop the seas and eventually reach shore where it killed birds, aquatic mammals, sea plants and ruined the oyster beds of the coastal oyster farms.

When the first wounded soldiers discovered there were no medical personnel or medicines to treat their wounds, they mutinied and many more were wounded or mutilated.

The rotting corpses invited new diseases and in not too long a time people began to get sick and feel great pain; boils and rashes and lesions began on the skin; kidneys failed, hearts stopped, lungs filled with puss, blood did not circulate in the body and once again people were losing limbs and vision.

Several generations after the Great Cleansing the planet was more or less where it was before the great event; however, there were people here and there who had been able to hold onto some land in its pristine states and they did what they could to protect it, but by and large the smogs and toxic rains returned; the waters were again dirty, the land littered with junk and pesticides and herbicides.

The industrial powers were back in business and people were making money again.

When a couple of centuries had passed there was an oral tradition about the Great Cleansing. But there were several opinions about it: some said there was no evidence and could not be believed; some said it might have been possible, but not likely; many dismissed it out of hand calling it a fairy tale or myth; some people had no opinion about it one way or another.

Ultimately the good deeds done by the star visitors went completely unappreciated and fell to the wayside, and the Human Condition continued; everything seemed to be normal and the movie industry started making films about evil space visitors again. And another old woman began to ask how she could cleanse her soul, but no one could answer her.

Yes, that is the story I think I would write--but it has already been written.

November 2nd, 1997

San Francisco

Pica DM