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Farrell Winter

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FutureNow
By Farrell Winter
Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rated "R" by the Author.

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With throngs wildly cheering Sarah Palin's every lame remark, perhaps "FutureNow" is not so much fiction as prediction. A day in the life of a government agent, on the lookout for terrorists; and a complacent, even cooperative public. Caution: Contains profanity and violence.

FutureNow

 

By Farrell Winter © 2004

 

TIME:     The near future

 

PLACE:  A large Midwestern city, a university town.  In fact, this incident occurs in the university neighborhood. 

 

PROLOG:  Not on the Coast, not in New York or Boston, but in the South, an unlikely event took place.  A 50-year-old man was heard to make an anti-Government comment.  A group of young men in their late teens armed themselves with bats, metal pipes, and whatever else they could find, hunted the man down and beat him to death.  The authorities were reluctant to prosecute but finally gave in to public pressure.  The young men were tried and acquitted without one of them even being sentenced to token hours of community service.  The U.S. president made a speech in the area about a week later.  He didn’t mention this occurrence at all, except for an oblique reference right before the end of his speech.  This was widely interpreted as a signal for more such occurrences, as indeed there were. 

 

*****

 

A young man, just 22, is walking downtown around 1:00 in the afternoon.  Perhaps he’s a student at the university.  An older man dressed as a priest is walking in the opposite direction, on the same side if the street.  As they pass the older man says, “God bless you.”

 

One or two beats later the young man mutters, “Fuck your god.  There’s no such thing as god.” 

 

The older man stops, turns around, pulls out a gun, and shoots and kills the younger man.  People walking by are shocked.  He pulls out a badge and says, “Government official” then, indicating the dead man, “suspected terrorist.”  The passersby nod and smile and continue on their way.

 

It’s a busy street and there are constantly new passersby.  All are shocked to see a dead body on the sidewalk.  Finally the older man begins reciting in a tired voice, pointing to the body at his feet, “suspected terrorist,” which satisfies everyone.  As one family walks by, an 8-year-old girl in sunshine yellow kicks the lifeless body when he says the words.  Other people spit at the dead man or mutter curses. 

 

The man comes to the realization that since he is a government official he should get this body out of here, so he doesn’t have to explain it to everyone all the time.  He pulls out a cell phone and punches a button.  The voice on the other end tells him to get someone walking by to sign a statement that they witnessed the suspected terrorist pull a gun on the government official, who then shot and killed him in self-defense.  “OK,” he says.  A middle-aged couple approaches.  He stops them and says, “Excuse me.  Would you mind signing this form, please?”

 

The husband replies, “Sure.  Let me see it.”  He reads it.  “Hmmm.  Says here at the bottom that if I don’t sign this form, you’ll kill my dog.”

 

The man is tired, exasperated.  He wants to go home.  He looks down at the sidewalk and says softly, “Yeah.  That’s right.”

 

The husband is slightly confused.  “But I don’t have a dog.” 

 

The man rolls his eyes.  “Uh, well, in that case, I guess we’ll just, uh, kill your wife.” 

 

The husband is startled.  Across the street he notices an obese woman in a dress.  She has one of those little teeny tiny white poodles.  She’s carrying it in her arms, a dark red leash hanging from the poodle’s collar and reclining on the sidewalk.  Thinking quickly, the husband says, “Uh, no.  No.  That’s my dog over there.  That’s my dog,” pointing to the poodle.  The man turns around and casually shoots the poodle (and the woman), killing them both. 

 

The husband asks, “Does that mean we can go now?”

 

“Uh, yeah.  Go ahead,” replies the man.  “I’ll just get someone else.”  


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