On Drugs and Culture and Time Spent at Preston House

An Excerpt from How Not To Do Time Travel

The Isolation Centre was more commonly known as Preston House.  It had once been the manor and grounds of the noble-blooded Herald Preston, whose line had died off in 2027, leaving the property in public hands.  The demesne had served as a park and the manor as a museum, until both of those fell out of favour with the public as weekend diversions.

Because it was on prime property at the City Centre, there had been talk of tearing it down and cashing in on the property value.  Prime Minister Sedgwick had intervened.  He was one of those romantics who still saw beauty in what buildings of old remained.  He persuaded the Parliament that it was a perfect place to serve a different, more urgent, public service.  So the the nice stately home with a lovely garden became Isolation Centre; where they kept those who had misplaced their minds until the mad, or someone more qualified, could find an adequate replacement.  Or until they died an untimely death.  Whichever came first. Death often took the place of reason.

See, the challenge for the Government and for the Ministry of Public Health was that not everyone responded to their prescriptions adequately. This gave birth to a number of Congresses and Industry Conferences for those involved in Pharmaceuticals. No one complained about that aspect of things.  Everyone loves a good conference, especially the ones in fine locations which can take days to get nothing done.  (There’s not much point in doing nothing quickly.  To be done right, doing nothing takes strategy, careful planning, and savvy.  Public speaking is a must.)  The conferences continued, and so did the madness.

Having people run around displaying erratic emotions, because the medications the government mandated didn’t take, was problematic. When nothing else helped, city-dwellers were transferred to a temporary residence at Preston House, for a maximum stay of two months. When that period was up, they either got better or they had an unfortunate strong negative reaction to their prescriptions. Or they committed suicide before anyone could stop them. Or they developed strange food allergies. Or..any number of things could go wrong for people who did not sort themselves out in time.

Smart people got better faster than fools and idealists. This world had no tolerance for fools and idealists.