The Language-Capsule

Lili Forgács

There was silence when the man in the chimney-pot hat appeared on the stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am Federico Vespucci and I am going to introduce the invention that will change the world for sure and solve the problem of understanding languages in the easiest way. This is the language-capsule.”

Light applause could be heard at this point. Mr Vespucci wasn’t bothered by the lack of enthusiasm from the audience, and he went on.

“Do you know what it is?” he asked. “It enables you to understand languages that have not been learnt by you before. But this is not all! You could understand what your own pet says, as well. Isn’t it interesting?”

I thought it was, but also creepy. Rather creepy.

“You don’t have to do anything special to use this magnificent, unusual ability, just take one language-capsule. The pill makes some modifications in that part of your brain that is responsible for learning and understanding languages. Your brain will interpret the ‘programmed’ language as a familiar language, and you can then understand the meaning of it.”

It sounded absolutely weird. What if something goes wrong? It would be too risky. Your brain is not a toy. However, the crowd was all ears and listened carefully. I could see on their faces how much the idea appealed to them.

“Twelve types of language-capsule have already been invented, tested and produced. One type enables you to understand only one language. There are capsules specialised in the seven world languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. The other five make you understand what the most common pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits and fish) say. I am sure that if there is huge demand for other types, their development will begin.”

Talking with my dog? It’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I know what it says, and I also know that it understands me. I feel it without any pills.

“It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? The idea comes from my little son, who always wants to know what is said if he does not understand it. I know he is not alone. I know you have already felt it at least once in your life.”

The audience started to bestir themselves. They liked the whole intention; they smiled and whispered. They couldn’t wait to get the pills. Mr Vespucci sensed the passion too.

“You can check our website on the Internet if you wish. Your orders can be sent through it, but you can also visit our shop at 23 Kings Street, Washington D.C., USA. I hope I will meet some of you in the near future. Thank you for your attention. Goodbye.”

The crowd broke into loud applause. They believed every word he had spoken. I did not. I tried to leave the room as quickly as possible to escape the brainwashed mass.