A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter VIII: Day/Page 85 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . A guard in the tower closest to Sofia points in her direction. (Oh, hell, I’ve got to get out of here.) She drops to her knees and clambers back down the boulders as quickly as she can. But it’s difficult and slow, the decent harder than the climb. When she reaches the base of the rocks she breaks into a hard run, back towards Bellapraia. Glancing over her shoulder now and then as she flees, she sees nothing. Then, when about half-way to town, she spots behind her a rising cloud of dust. (Son of a bitch, they’re coming!) She runs faster.
Moments later a second cloud of dust rises up on the road ahead, coming from the direction of town. She stops. (I’m screwed.) Looks about for a place to hide, but there is nothing around except for low dunes of beach-grass, a few scraggly palms, and the shattered, burned-out husks of the thatch huts she passed earlier coming down. (Ok, there’s nowhere to hide. Just act calm. Act like you’re out taking a walk and got lost.)
She rummages through her mind for the word for “lost.” It’s in there somewhere, at the edge of her brain, the tip of her tongue, but she can’t find it. (Relax. Remember—they can’t hurt you. They can’t do anything to you while you’re wearing the lariat. Well—they could drown me, I guess, but that’s unlikely. Best to move away from the water, just the same.)
She eyes a forlorn palm with meager shade. (I could sit and wait for them there. No—better to keep walking. Don’t run—just walk. Say you’re out for a walk and got lost. What the hell is the damn word for lost?)
The first pursuers to reach her are those coming from Bellapraia. The armored truck slides to an abrupt stop about twenty paces ahead, throwing up a cloud of dirt and sand. A militarily policeman with mirrored sunglasses stands in the gun turret in back, training his weapon on her. The passenger door swings open and out steps a stocky male Bulldog with heavy jowls, short floppy ears, and similar mirrored glasses. A third soldier, younger and boyish-looking, exits from the driver’s side.
“What are you doing out here?” barks the Bulldog.
“Check her marker,” he says to the boyish soldier.
The boy walks over and points an electronic scanner at the back of Sofia’s neck. “Nothing. She’s not a One.”
All Ones on the planet have a microchip about the size of a postage stamp inserted under the skin on the back of their neck which contained all relevant information about them: Name, family, date of birth, place of birth, blood-type, address, etc. Anyone without this marker is not a One—is not one of the elite 0.1% of the population. All Pros supporting the Ones have documents giving them the right to do whatever they need to do for the Ones. Everyone else has no rights at all.
“Ok, show me your documents,” barks the Bulldog.
Sofia recognizes the word. “No—no documents,” she says.
“No documents? Then what are you doing out here?”
Ping! The word she has been struggling to find pops into view in her mind. She grabs it. “Lost! I lost.” (Whew—now maybe they’ll let me go.)
“Lost? You’re on a beach. How can you be lost on a beach?”
(Or—maybe not.) “Lost. I lost,” repeats Sofia.
“Yes, so you said. I got it. But why did you go down to the border?”
“I lost,” says Sofia again.
The Bulldog furrows his brow, glances over at the boyish soldier.
“Maybe she’s retarded,” he says. “Poor thing.” . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James All rights reserved