Author’s note: This Dooku series holds a special place in my heart. These are stories inspired by real-life events including things that I have observed. As always, all persons fictitious disclaimer applies.
Dooku is one fine journalist known for his sharp eyes for details, sharp tongue for questions, and a sharp mind for analysis. In the office, he is nicknamed Sharpku.
Despite his sharp qualities, Dooku is terrible at playing office politics. So he always ends up with work that no one wants to do for various reasons. Either it is too tedious or too risky.
One day, Dooku has been summoned into the boss’s office.
“Sharpku, here is an important assignment for you,” said his boss.
In his mind, Dooku’s immediate response was “Oh no, not again.” The word “important” from his boss always triggers the fear within.
“I need you to head to Jujubaba Island and investigate why the divorce rate is near zero and the marriage rate is so much lower than the national standard,” continued his boss.
“Why doesn’t this get covered by the local media?” Dooku inquired.
The boss chuckled as he has been prepared for such question.
“It doesn’t! The islanders are not talking. No one does!”
Dooku arrives at Jujubaba Island by ferry and checks into a hotel by noon. He needs to set up some interviews on relationships that work and relationships that don’t. That part is easy as there are local agencies happy to recruit interviewees with a fee.
After the pleasantry, Dooku then asked, “So Jolene, if I may ask and according to the submitted background, you have dated Pete for three months?”
“Yes,” smiled Jolene.
“According to the survey both of you have submitted, you were very much in love? You had even considered marriage?”
Both Pete and Jolene smile and nod in unison.
“But what made you two separate after … three months?” asked Dooku. The duration is very suspicious as well. Because almost all relationships in Jujubaba Island end within three months.
“Pete would be a cheater if I marry him and that would make me very sad,” spoke Jolene with a sense of hesitation.
“And she would take away all my family fortune and disappear,” said Pete softly.
Dooku sat back with hands at the back of his head, dumbfounded by such preposterous revelation, and asks, “But how do you know that?”
Again, both Pete and Jolene smile and answer in unison, “We just know.”
The following interviews yield the same results. The couples somehow know how the relationship would end and have made joint decisions within three months.
After days of not having any progress, Dooku’s sharp eyes have guided him to a temple with a sign saying “Islander Only”. He tries to enter but is denied. He tries to talk to the monks entering or leaving the temple but no one talks.
Until he finds an old male staff willing to talk with a large sum of money. Dooku counts the notes in his wallet and thinks, “If I can wrap up the story tonight, I can leave this island by noon tomorrow. I don’t need the rest of the company expenses.”
Dooku agrees and the old male staff leads him into a local bar with no customer. Dooku does not feel comfortable as the place looks dark and shady. But his thirst for the story brings him all the way here. And he is so close to the ending.
Dooku hands the old male staff the money and the old male staff begins to speak.
“The answer is surprisingly simple, Dooku. Everyone you have interviewed has taken the red pills. Almost everyone on this island has chosen the red pill.”
“Indeed. Produced by the monk in the temple for islanders only, the red pill reveals the future of a relationship through a dream within three months of being together. It is very accurate because both in the relationship will dream the same dream. Then they can make a decision knowing the future.”
“This is a remarkable story,” exclaimed Dooku while busy taking notes.
“This is not the whole story,” grimaces the old male staff.
“There are more?”
“Indeed. Life is about choices. There is also a blue pill. Once taken, the person will be immune to the effect of the red pill. That is to say, he or she will never know the future. The effect of the blue pill is permanent and cannot be reversed.”
“That is extraordinary!” exhaled Dooku looking at the old male staff in disbelief.
With a sharp analytical mind, Dooku asks, “But how do I know that such pills exist?”
The male staff starts to laugh. Kekekekeke. Dooku looks lost and all of a sudden, a group of monks enter the bar and approach Dooku’s table. One of them says, “You will.”
Two monks hold down Dooku and the third one says, “Normally, we would give our people a choice of red or blue. For you, we are going to give you both colors!”
“What would happen to me?” asks Dooku in desperation.
The third monk ignores the question and continues, “You see, this story of yours cannot leave this island.”
“And I really need the money and my job,” adds the old male staff as he has tipped the monk before meeting Dooku.
“You are really terrible in temple politics. Have a good trip, Dooku.” With that says, the third monk forces the red and blue pills into Dooku’s mouth.
As the pills travel inside Dooku’s body, his entire life flashes before him. The past, the present, and the future distorted with no clarity. There is a vague knowledge of information but the endings are never revealed. Dooku is tormented by knowing but yet not knowing, forever stays in limbo, paralyzed, drown in this distorted alternative reality unable to leave. In the end, there is nothing to see, nothing to analyze, and no question to be asked, for nothing makes sense no more.