KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Micro-Fiction: 276 words

Looking Good

by Richard Holinger

The day when adolescents’ pimples disappeared like time-lapse photography, no one thought too much about it. Teenagers Snap chatted. Parents guessed a medical fluke.

Then liver spots melted like apparitions, summoning mystified dermatologists to an emergency conference in St. Louis, and the White House formed an exploratory commission.

Next, rosacea lost its impudent rouge, and basal cell cancer patients waiting for Mohs surgeries ended up going home without a scalpel’s scratch. Ugly Seborrheic Keratoses, the “old age badge,” vanished like snowflakes over a campfire. Warts followed, leaving no shadow. Pockmarks filled in evenly as paved-over potholes.

The world rejoiced. People had lived righteously, and this was their reward: good looks. In time, they reasoned, other body parts would experience similar rebirths, including clogged arteries flushed; black lung blanched; penile dysfunction stiffened; prostate growth shrunk; bladder shrinkage bulked up.

People no longer paid insurance premiums. Doctors’ waiting rooms went empty. The more mark-free the bodies, the more church, synagogue, and mosque attendance decreased. Mirror sales boomed. Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants filled. Gynecologists got no sleep. Birth rates soared and suicides dwindled. Tyrants relaxed their grip, released their prisoners, and took their populations’ requests under serious advisement. Imperialist countries returned territory taken by violence.

A few years after the pustules dried and died, the moon’s craters glossed over, smooth as ice. The sun lost its spots. The tides quit their erratic behavior, the waves and surf flattening to ripples. As mountains collapsed, valleys were vanquished, along with their inhabitants. Land and sea merged to conform to the new look, shiny and spotless.

Earth continued to circle, its spin easier now, at last, having perfected itself, friction-free.

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