"Artichoke Dream" by Amer Chess, June 2012

Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of fiction. Any resemblances to real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.

AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one should attempt to act in the same manner as described.

AN2: None.

Summary: What would happen if these allegations were true? Would our government do something so devious as to treat its very own citizens as lab mice or even worse?

Artichoke Dream

In French park where most of other strollers were native French speakers, Eric Olson and John Marks discussed options for placing human "probes" in different countries on planet Earth. Eric noticed a sign for "radioactivity".

"There's a certain romanticism attached to the tale of Curie. She discovered the theory of radioactivity …", some children ran by, laughing and playing with a ball, "… discovered polonium and radium …", angry mother ran after them, secretly monitoring to Americans, "… undertook the first studies of how to use these strange new theories to treat cancer, and …", he stopped and tilted on his heels, noticing that a tree top lacked leaves in the middle of summer, "… was awarded Nobel prizes in Physics and Chemistry." John was showed no emotions and was placid as a snowman.

"However …", Eric continued and they paced along together, "… a lifetime of exposure to the radiation, along with the universal lack of knowledge about it's …", Eric noticed that he missed bird poop by an inch, "… effects, … lead to her death from aplastic anemia."

"Anemia?" John withdrew his pipe smiled. "I always thought it was cancer?"

"Oh, no …" Eric grinned. "And she worked under such heavy radioactivity that all her notes …", police sirens and some shuffle pointed to a tragic traffic accident ahead, "… even her cookbook …", John made a nod in other direction and they moved along, "… are stored in lead lined boxes, …", ambulance car arrived soon after, "… and anyone wishing to study them has to wear protective clothing."

They stared in secret as some young man was tossed into an emergency vehicle.

"A declassified 1975 Pentagon report states that 'to understand and evaluate' the decision that resulted in the 'subsequent proliferation' of biological research in the U.S. …", Eric stopped, noticing John was red in face from giggling. He realized that one of those city pigeons finally hit his business suit. He began to rub it with a paper napkin. "It is necessary to first examine the threat to the free world as it was perceived at that time."

"That's still the report?"

"Yes." Eric disposed used paper napkin into an overcrowded trash can. "Of particular importance in this effort was the intensified struggle between the free world and communists and the generally accepted thesis that supremacy must be maintained in all matters which involved the communist bloc." Eric finished imitating some official and they finally sat down, John tending to his pipe.

"Did you know that in the first quarter of 1951, a team of three scientists from Fort Detrick, a military research facility in Frederick, Md. …", John looked around as if mounting a rifle of some kind, "… who were attached to the CIA-funded Special Operations Division traveled to Germany …", he winced at Eric as sun got into his eyes, "… to interview Schreiber." He puffed through and empty pipe. "The team …", John sucked dry through his smoking device, "… which included Dr. Frank R. Olson …", two men in casual dress pointed at them in secret, "… then Special Operations Division branch chief for planning and intelligence activities …", Eric made a secretive nod that he noticed them as well, "… was charged with learning all that it could about a Nazi SS project that employed 'psychochemical drugs' during concentration camp interrogation experiments." Two men laughed and them moved away slowly, one briefly turning back around to check on them.

Later on, as they were enjoying some coffee at a café, Eric continued.

"In 1780 the Italian anatomy professor Luigi Galvani discovered that a spark of electricity could cause the limbs of a dead frog to twitch." John laughed spontaneously and some girls looked at him from the other table. "Oh, yes. All true. Scouts honor!" Eric made a Nazi two-finger swore sign. "Soon men of science throughout Europe were repeating his experiment, but …", those two men entered the very same café and their mood changed almost immediately upon noticing their presence, "…it didn't take them long to bore of frogs and turn their attention to more interesting … animals." John acknowledged secret sign of being followed by French Security Forces. "Now … what would happen, … they wondered …", waiter smiled as he placed two glasses of cold water on their table, "… if you electrified a human corpse?"

John extinguished his match by waving it in the air and then placing that extinguished match into a porcelain ashtray.

They kept quiet for a while, trying to ignore drunken remarks from those two "secret agents" and stick to "their own business". Finally Eric broke up.

"The most popular alternative to the death penalty is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole … plus restitution." French black man entered and two French Secret Agents went silent for a while. French black African man ordered an ice-cream cup and was served just like any other customer. Eric noticed that John sucked his pipe dry now. "This alternative not only costs much less than capital punishment, but …", another traffic accident outside aroused their undivided attention. This time it was a young girl who was a victim. Some screams followed as well. Eric turned back and then continued in some tiresome way. "But also keeps the criminal in jail for the rest of his life … so …"

"… he cannot return back to … society?" John offered imitating French accent and they both started to laugh, those drunken French feeling itchy a bit.