MAY 15
an entry from The Perfect Revolution
by Oscar Deadwood

D I S C U S S I O N  F O R U M  |  S I L V E R T H O U G H T




May 15, 2013
Royal Oak


        My parents came back from church yesterday morning all aglow and open-mouthed. I asked them what it was like.

        "Wonderful," my mother said.

        "Very inspiring," my father said.

        I 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.

        I found out, as I eliminated his wife and children in front of his horrified eyes, that he was a Lutheran minister.

        I 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.

        I 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.

        That 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.

        But 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.

        I'm sure I'd be fried for that. A press of a button, and smoke would start pouring out of my ears.

        I 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.

        I'm a conformist now. I barely remember my old liberal self, a persona that existed only months ago.

        And speaking of conforming.

        The 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 prior.

        Every person interviewed, without fail, praised the General and had no desire to see a return of pre-Revolution life.

        They 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 things—heat and electricity and garbage removal. But everyone felt safe. Safe in a way they had never felt before.

        The country is now nearly crime-free. Only crimes of passion still occur—rape and the like. There's no more robbery, no more murder or shoplifting or identity theft.

        No 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.

        "We're 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 street."

        That was followed with an appeal for the ID implant, the project my father had just started working on.

        "In 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."

        My 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.

        My father is doing the work he anticipated, loading the names into computers, matching individuals with computer chip numbers.

        "And 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 century—or 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.

        "To dull the pain," he says to the disapproving eyes of my mother.

        I've been drinking beer, too, in the morning after my night's work is done.

        To dull the pain.



Copyright © 2006 Oscar Deadwood

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R:

Oscar Deadwood lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with his wife and two sons. He has written two novels, The Trinity and The Perfect Revolution, both available from Silverthought Press in 2006.

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