President Ben Carson stood at the head of a large round table, underground. The walls were a gallery of flashing lights and giant monitors; maps and graphs and readings. You’ve seen Doctor Strangelove. ‘I want to thank you all for gathering here today. You are the most celebrated minds of your generations, and it is with solemn dismay that I must tell you, human life as we know it is over.’
There was a silence as those gathered waited for the punchline. There wasn’t one.
‘Is it nuclear war?’ said Beyonce.
‘Is it climate change?’ said Oprah.
‘Is it terror?’ said one of the beardy men from Duck Dynasty.
‘Good God man, what is it?’ said Bono.
President Ben Carson took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment to compose himself. ‘Brian was cleaning his toilet, and he accidentally flushed a single drop of bleach, which we estimate has now made contact with the ocean.’
The room exploded in a cacophony of screams and gasps.
‘Sorry,’ said Brian.
When the dismay had settled, Stephen Hawking emerged from the shadows. ‘As you all know, the science of homeopathy dictates that this means the entire ocean has now taken on the properties of bleach. A mouthful could kill you.’
‘My mum taught me not to drink sea water,’ said one of those Youtube idiots.
‘As did all our mums,’ said the Stephen Hawking. ‘Unfortunately, due to the water cycle, that is no escape. You see, the heat of the sun causes the ocean to constantly evaporate, this water moisture rises up and becomes clouds, then rain, hail and snow. It fills rivers and dams. It waters our crops.’
‘But, it was only a single drop,’ said the ghost of Steve Jobs.
‘The entire bottle would have been better,’ said Stephen Hawking. ‘You see, due to the science of homeopathy, dilution only makes the effect stronger, because water is magic and can remember what’s been in it. By the end of the week, all fresh food and water will be as poisonous as bleach.’
‘Isn’t there an antidote?’ said a sports person. But not, like, a croquet person, or a woman. A basketball guy, or a football man. Or I guess it could be Rhonda Rousey, she’s pretty popular.
‘Yes… But it’s made from water.’
When the second wave of panic had died down, President Ben Carson took control of the room once more. ‘There is a bit of a silver lining. Thanks to the until now inexplicably successful bottled water industry and the general population’s unwillingness to cook for themselves, we have a large supply of still untainted water and prepackaged food. But once they run out, it’s over.’
With their louder and more social media friendly emotions used up in the initial panic, those gathered set about making their peace with the end of the world.
Until suddenly Neil Degrasse Tyson leaped to his feet. ‘Wait!’
‘What is it?’ said Miley Cyrus.
Neil Degrasse Tyson frantically ran through the calculations in his head. ‘It’s crazy, but it just might be crazy enough to work!’
‘Go on!’ demanded President Ben Carson.
‘What if we put a drop of untainted water in the ocean?’
‘Of course!’ said Richard Dawkins. ‘For homeopathy to make any sense at all, water can only remember the last thing it touched, or else all water everywhere would have the properties of everything water has ever touched!’
President Ben Carson caught up. ‘So by adding a single drop of untainted water, the ocean will take on the properties of safe, healthy water and everything will be fine… Get to it! There’s no time to lose!’
The next day, they gathered again, this time with an air of wary hope.
‘Well, did it work?’ said President Ben Carson.
Neil Degrasse Tyson bowed his head. ‘Sir, there was a miscalculation.’
‘Since nobody bottles sea water, we had to use fresh water,’ said Stephen Hawking. ‘And then, because of the science of homeopathy, the entire ocean became fresh water. Sea life died almost instantly.’
‘But then we came up with what seemed like a brilliant idea,’ said Richard Dawkins.
‘We put a single grain of salt in the ocean,’ said Neil Degrasse Tyson
‘And then,’ said Stephen Hawking, ‘the entire ocean became salt water again.’
‘Because of the science of homeopathy.’
‘Yes, because of the science of homeopathy.’
‘But then the water cycle happened, and now all water is salt water,’ said Richard Dawkins.
‘Basically, we’re still all going to die,’ said Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Nobody spoke. Somehow, it was worse this time. Not only were they doomed, they had failed. They would die knowing that all human endeavour, every discovery, every piece of art, every moment of love had been futile next to the undeniable science of homeopathy.
President Ben Carson fell to his knees. ‘No! What have we done? Curse our hubris, and curse the science of homeopathy! Man was not meant to know such undeniable truth!’
Because of the science of homeopathy.