The year is 2039. Ten years ago, the cash strapped Irish government were searching for an alternative energy source (that they could sell to America), and accidentally discovered alien crystals off the coast of Louth.

A Kerry TD (that’s MP to you English readers, congress man to the Yanks), who made his money from scalping gullible American tourists, financed research into the strange crystals. It was discovered that by ingesting a small portion of crystal powder the subject would become super intelligent.

A company was set up to productise the discovery. Brain Dust (I never liked the name) became the most popular product in Ireland since the Joe Dolan sex doll craze of 2022. Parents re-mortgaged their houses to buy a dose for their kids and have them attend the best universities. This led to Ireland having the best educated work force in Europe, and then the world. When foreign leaders enquired as to how we became so smart, they laughed at the suggestion that we had access to alien pharmaceuticals.

My parents did the same for me as every other family in the country was doing for their kids. They burdened themselves with a massive debt to pay for my Brain Dust. I promised that once I graduated and started earning the big money I’d pay them back with interest.

I took what was supposed to be my only dose of Brain Dust shortly after my fifteenth birthday. The impact was immediate. I instantly understood the relevance of Maths. I appreciated literature. I understood that while there was no God, the state needed religion as an excuse to keep the people under control.

My education was a huge success. I attended a prestigious university and got a very good job in the world of finance. I repaid my parents for their sacrifice and invested money wisely for them so that they could retire young. Everything was going great until one day I woke up and realised I’d forgotten how to count.

I don’t know how it happened. My wife reckoned that it had something to do with my heavy drinking over the years. I wasn’t so sure. The fact that I couldn’t figure out how it happened was worrying. I was supposed to be super intelligent. I thought that maybe the Brain Dust had worn off. She asked how many pints I’d had the night before. I broke down and cried. I knew I’d had some, but I couldn’t bloody get the exact figure right.

It was clear what I needed to do. Another dose of Brain Dust would have to be administered. I got my wife to call the local dispensary. After pleading my case on my behalf, she told me that it was agreed that I could receive a second dose at three times the market value. I wasn’t sure how many three was. I assumed it was low.

We arrived at the clinic at some stage in the day, afternoon maybe? My time telling ability was also suffering. The waiting room was full of teenagers. There were at least seven hundred there I think. Which was strange, it was a fairly small room.

I was called in to see the chemist immediately. I was told that my case was extremely rare, but that once the dose was administered I’d be back to normal straight away. This put me and my wife at ease.

Because of my age I had to receive the dust intravenously. A needle was inserted into a vein in my neck. It hurt like a bastard. I passed out from the pain.

When I came to, the room was gone. All that remained were ashes and charred bones. It seemed that the second dose had given me some kind of telekinetic energy blast ability. The trauma I experienced had caused me to set off one of these blasts in the clinic. I was told the blast had obliterated a seven kilometre radius. The death toll was high, or maybe it was low. I don’t know.

I still can’t count.

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