parents came back from church yesterday morning all aglow and
open-mouthed. I asked them what it was like.
my mother said.
inspiring," my father said.
pressed them for details, but they only said the vaguest things
about paradise in this life, paradise delivered by the Revolution.
The Revolution won't allow for suffering of any kind or sadness
or disease or hunger. I scratched my head and turned my attention
back to the television. I had yet to sleep; the night's work
had been disturbing again. I'd eliminated an entire family,
a middle-class family that reminded me of my own. This father,
this head of the family appeared to be no one important. He
lived in a small bungalow in Berkley. He wasn't a lawyer or
a politician or a businessman.
found out, as I eliminated his wife and children in front of
his horrified eyes, that he was a Lutheran minister.
eliminated some more men of the cloth that night, but they were
middle-aged and without young children. I wonder just how many
aspects of the old Society the Revolution is going to destroy.
If my mission includes members of the clergy, I'm going to be
hunting for a very, very long time.
stopped writing for a moment and rubbed my head in anguish.
Shouldn't this concern me? This is nothing short of a state
religion. I mean, how would the people react if they knew their
old religions might just be removed, to be replaced by the Revolution?
It sort of seems Chairman Maoish, or like North Korea before
reunification with the South. I could tell my father that, you
know, I'm killing preachers, as I'm sure my counterparts are
around the country, making way for the Chadwick Church.
would really fuck with the Revolution, if I could get the word
out about what I'm actually doing. You know, drop little hints
and hope those hints spread like wildfire.
again, there is no camera focused on me. My words would be swallowed
into oblivion, and only the Perfect Soldiers, via this implant
in my brain, would know what I'm saying.
sure I'd be fried for that. A press of a button, and smoke would
start pouring out of my ears.
don't have the stomach or courage for any of that. You know
what? I don't know if I really care about religion, anyway.
I mean, what difference does it make? In order to survive, I
think, in this Brave New World (I think of that book often now,
read it like twice in high school), that one must conform. Without
fail, people always choose to conform rather than challenge
the status quo.
a conformist now. I barely remember my old liberal self, a persona
that existed only months ago.
speaking of conforming.
news today was wrought with praise for the General. The network
had sent cameramen and reporters across the country, and they
were interviewing people, posing questions about their new lives
under the Revolution, compared to their old lives just a month
person interviewed, without fail, praised the General and had
no desire to see a return of pre-Revolution life.
all had different reasons for their happiness. Some were glad
to be working again and glad to have money in their pockets.
Some were happy to be able to spend their money, glad to have
things to buy on the store shelves, glad that the malls were
opening up again, as if they were butterflies emerging from
a cocoon. Some were glad about the simple thingsheat and
electricity and garbage removal. But everyone felt safe. Safe
in a way they had never felt before.
country is now nearly crime-free. Only crimes of passion still
occurrape and the like. There's no more robbery, no more
murder or shoplifting or identity theft.
one has to worry about keeping his or her doors locked at night,
and in one speech, General Prescott urged people to absolutely
not lock their doors.
going to enjoy the existence our grandparents' generation enjoyed,"
he said on television, in front of a crowd that looked like
Shriners or members of the American Legion, a bunch of flag-waving
old men. "People slept at night with their doors wide open
during the First Depression. People were starving and desperate,
but still, the citizens of this country had an innate moral
code that could not be denied. We are going to bring that moral
code back. People should feel safe in their homes and on the
streets, and I guarantee you, my fellow citizens, that you will
indeed, from this point on, be safe in your homes and on the
was followed with an appeal for the ID implant, the project
my father had just started working on.
order to guarantee your safety, we must be able to keep track
of you. Please urge your friends and family and neighbors to
go to their designated clinics for the implant. The sooner every
citizen is identified, the sooner we can keep you safe and your
medical records in your possession only."
father has already received his implant. He is working out of
the still-empty high school as a makeshift clinic is set up
in the gymnasium, with support staff set up in classrooms. He
says there are over a hundred beds on the gym floor, with doctors
working around the clock. He's working long hours, too, six
days a week, twelve hours a day. He's getting paid $139 dollars
a day in gold coins.
father is doing the work he anticipated, loading the names into
computers, matching individuals with computer chip numbers.
I don't stink," he said to me this morning as he sat at
the kitchen table sipping a steaming mug of coffee. The radio
played some sort of march from the last centuryor even
the century before that. "I'd take the longer hours over
trash any day. Much easier on my back." And suddenly my
father looked old to me. The garbage collection was hard on
him; his back is now stooped, and he walks with a sort of hunch.
He's taken to drinking beer every night.
dull the pain," he says to the disapproving eyes of my
been drinking beer, too, in the morning after my night's work
dull the pain.