Reverend Paul Munson watched ragged children trudging through mud on their daily diamond searches. He came to Africa to do God’s work. To his surprise, he discovered that the televangelist who sponsored his ministry owned the mines where these kids worked as slave laborers.
His sponsor sent him to Africa as a ruse so he could raise more money by claiming he was helping the children. Those who donated money to his appeals didn’t know that he owned diamond mines that exposed child laborers to hazards and health risks.
One morning he was awoken by a commotion outside his tent. Munson rushed out to see a group of boys attacking a lone boy.
“”Leave him alone,” he shouted while pulling the boys off their victim. “What’s going on?” he asked the boy after the others dispersed.
The boy pointed to his boots. “They want these.” He looked down at the boy’s feet covered by a pair of cowboy boots. “My uncle sent them from America.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t wear them to work,”
“Have to! Somebody will steal them if I don’t.”
“God go with you then.
Munson prayed, “Please God, Send me a way to improve the lives of these wretched children.”
That night the sky lit up and there was a massive explosion that sent a meteor shower consisting of thousands of them flaming toward Earth. Munson watched the meteors speeding over the diamond mines. Several appeared to drop from the sky. Munson went to his tent and slept after the meteors’ stopped lighting the sky.
The next morning, he heard a ruckus outside of his tent. He rushed outside assuming the boys were trying to steal the boots again. Twenty boys wore identical boots and 30 or more stood in line.
“What’s going on?” he asked a boy trying to get his foot into a boot obviously too small for his feet.
“Get in line if you want a pair,” the boy said.
He walked to the front of the line where the boy he helped yesterday stood with a flashlight in his hand and his boots sat atop a rock. Munson watched as he pressed the switch and a beam of bright light came from the end of the flashlight, completely covering the boots. He shut it off and two pair of boots stood atop the rock. The boy at the head of the line rushed to the rock and grabbed a pair.
Munson watched as more than 30 pairs of boots appeared in half an hour.
“God has answered my prayers,” he muttered. “Can I see the flashlight,” he asked the boy.
He handed Munson the object and Munson couldn’t begin to understand how a flashlight could have reproduced fifty or more pairs of boots in one morning. “This is truly a miracle,” he said. “Where did you get this?”
“It fell from there,” The boy looked to the sky. Munson remembered the meteor shower. “Are there more of these?”
“Only that one,” the boy said.
“Can I hold onto this for you?”
“Sure, we’ve all got boots now, so they’ll protect our feet while we search for diamonds.” The boy ran to his fellow workers leaving the flashlight with Munson.
It appeared to be a regular flashlight made from plastic with a on-off switch. There wasn’t a way to open it and Munson couldn’t figure out where it got power from or how it replicated so many pair of boots.
How could he use it to help the children used as slaves? He took the object into his tent and thought for a long time. This object could change the world. But what if it stopped working? He had to figure it out. He began to doubt what he saw was true. He felt in his pocket for the small diamond he carried as a curiosity piece.
Pulling it out he turned it over and wondered why diamonds were so valuable when synthetic ones can be made for industrial use. He set it on top of his bunk, shined the light on it. Turning the light off, he had 2 identical diamonds. He shone the light on the 2and had 4. Shined it on 4 they turned into 8, then 8 turned into 16, and 16 into 32. Now he knew how to stop the greedy mine owners from exploiting kids.
Two months later the market was flooded with so many diamonds they became almost worthless. All diamond mines shuttered and let their workers go.
Munson thanked God for sending him the means to stop the slavery. What should he do with the device now? He could become wealthy by getting one gold coin and replicating it over and over until he had millions. Greed filled him, but he knew getting rich wasn’t going to help anyone. He thought for another day and imagined what could be accomplished with the device. Replicate air planes, cars, and so many things. “Is that why God sent it?”
As he was thinking a helicopter swooped in and landed in a clearing. His sponsor, the television-evangelist jumped out and ran to where Munson stood on a rock overlooking the Amazon River.
“I know it was you who flooded the world with diamonds, and I’ve been told how you did it. Give me the replicator and I’ll make us both rich.” He held out his hand.
The idea of the evangelist having the device and greedily using it repulsed Munson. “Fuck you!” he said as he threw the flashlight into the Amazon.