Matters of Life and Death, part 11 - Jamaican Me Sweat
By Dwayne Anderson
Warning - The situations portrayed in this story are based on real deaths and are extremely graphic.
Throughout humanity's history, various individuals from different races have argued which race is superior. Some have even gone so far as to discriminate against others based on the color of their skin. Natives and African-Americans are the most common victims. Even in the future, racism still exists.
Hermes is a bureaucrat for Planet Express. He is the only non-white member of the crew (Zoidberg doesn't count because he's not human). No one seems to mind. Maybe it's because of the reason that next to Farnsworth, he is second when it comes to power and authority. He is also the most responsible member of the crew, he even has his own office. Hermes is also the only member of the crew who has a family, a wife named Labarbara and a son named Dwight.
Hermes is of Jamaican heritage and is an Olympic Limbo champion, but he gave up the sport after a very young fan of his tried to imitate him and died. Still, every once in a while, Hermes will put his talents to good use whenever needed.
"Good news everyone!" Farnsworth proudly announces. "Due to budget cuts and increased profits, Planet Express can now afford to have its own sauna!"
Everyone cheers, everyone except Zoidberg.
"Sure," he complains, "since most of the cuts were taken from my pay!"
"I like the idea of having our own sauna," said Amy.
"Me too!" said Fry. "Finally, a real co-ed steam room!"
"We'll actually have a place to keep warm in the wintertime," said Leela.
A single laugh erupts from Herme's mouth. "As one of Jamaican heritage, my body has adapted to high temperatures! I can outlast all of you on a hot day any day!"
"Is that a bet?" asked Fry.
"I like a challenge!" said Leela.
"You're on!" said Amy.
"Alright then!" said Hermes, "Sauna in fifteen minutes!"
Fifteen minutes later, two women, three men, and one lobster enter the sauna, clad only in their bathing suits. The men are wearing their swimming trunks while the women are clad in two piece bikini swimwear. As one might expect, Amy's bikini is more skimpy and revealing than Leela's.
Farnsworth stands outside the sauna and closes the door once the others are seated. He turns up the temperature. Inside the sauna, the chamber begins to fill with steam and everyone feels their body temperature gradually climb.
"Whew!" said Fry wiping his brow. "Is it me or is it really hot in here?" He has his eyes on both Amy and Leela.
"It's both!" said Scruffy.
As the temperature continues to rise, beads of perspiration and sweat begin to form and trickle down their bodies. Fry can hardly resist temptation as his eyes watch as thin rivers of sweat travel across Leela's curves and and down Amy's cleavage.
Five minutes have passed since Farnsworth turned on the thermostat.
Amy is the first to admit defeat. "I can't take much more of this!" She cries out as she runs for the exit.
Another minute passes...
"I getting cooked!" said Zoidberg. He runs out of the sauna, whooping.
Two minutes pass...
"I have to use the bathroom!" Fry cries as he runs out.
"Scruffy needs a drink!" said Scruffy as he gets up to leave.
That leaves only Hermes and Leela. Three minutes pass by as they stay in the sauna, sweating away like a pig out of mud.
The others are outside waiting for the final outcome. Finally, the door opens and out comes Leela, panting like a dog in heat.
"Leela! Are you okay?" asked Fry rushing to her side as she falls to the floor.
"What's the matter?" Hermes taunts, "can't take the heat?"
Although Leela is a physically strong woman, the battle is not always to the strongest. In a battle of endurance, even Leela is forced to admit defeat.
"Ha! I win!" said Hermes. "I'm not going to say I told you so, but I did!"
The others glare at him.
"What a bunch of poor sports!" said Hermes smiling. "I think I'll stay in here a little bit longer."
"Suit yourself!" said Fry. "We're all going to take a shower!" He slams the door shut.
Ten minutes later, Farnsworth turns off the heat in the sauna and lets things cool off inside before opening the door. Hermes is still sitting, but he's motionless. Surprisingly, he doesn't gloat about his victory to his co-workers.
Then, they notice that something is wrong. All across Hermes' body, patches of skin have split and peeled away, revealing redness underneath, a result of second and third degree burns.
"Hermes are you okay?" asked Leela. She pokes Hermes' shoulder, causing him to topple to the side like a fallen tree.
"Oh my god! You guys, he's dead!" Leela shouts to her co-workers.
Cause of death? How about massive dehydration? When the body's temperature rises, the body produces sweat to keep cool, using some water retained within the body. Hermes had stayed in the sauna for too long, and with so much water used to produce sweat, his body could no longer cool off and his core body temperature rose to dangerous levels. His vital organs, deprived of fluid, shut down.
Even in the future, racism still thrives. Hermes sought to prove his superiority over his co-workers in a test of endurance. Although he defeated his co-workers in the contest, victory felt like losing, especially when what you lose is your own life. In his own arrogance, he overestimated his body and paid the ultimate price.
If you can't take the heat, stay out of the sauna! Can you learn this lesson? Null sweat!
To Be Continued