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Fruit Maps

Works in Translation / Story

Rio Johan, translated by Lara Norgaard
Published as a part of Asymptote Journal – July 2023, Jul 01, 2023

First published in Rekayasa Buah as Peta Buah-buahan.

The Bio Corporation once hired a drunk engineer. The employee became known as such because he really did get drunk in the most literal sense of the word. But his drink of choice wasn’t hard liquor; in fact, he didn’t like any kind of booze. Instead, he got intoxicated by consuming the very produce he engineered for the Corporation. The only fruits he managed to design, in fact, got anyone who ate them trashed, and weren’t the type of product that interested his company.

One day, a head executive at Bio Corps called the engineer up to his office and gave him an ultimatum: if he couldn’t design a single decent fruit varietal in the next three months—one of quality or, at the very least, one that could actually be sold to the public—he’d never step foot in Bio Corps ever again. Like it or not, that was that.

Obviously, the engineer didn’t want to imagine being thrown onto the street, where he’d surely live as a drifter and with a bottle in hand, no less. So, he spent the first week of his trial period drawing up plans—plans, plans, and even more plans—hoping he might avoid all of the formulas and methods that had inevitably led him to such intoxicating final products. It wasn’t easy, but it’s not like he had any other choice. Weeks passed, and he moved onto planting his bioengineered seeds. By the time he reached the third month, he’d finally created three new species of fruit that tasted acceptable. Sure, they weren’t about to be Bio Corp’s crown jewels, but at least they were passable enough to mollify his superior, he thought.

The engineer was pleased.

Read the full story here.

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