“Stand by for an important news bulletin!”
June 6, 20012, 7:00 a.m.
Fred Anderson kissed his pregnant wife, Ellen. He then tossed his two-year-old daughter Angelina’s golden curls: now in her mother’s arms, with his calloused fingertips and said, “See you at five.”
As Fred pulled from their drive, in the family’s living room, a digitalized TV signal broadcast a news report. The United States 's president introduced the head of the Federal Workers Employment Agency, Alan Brylee. For the last three years Brylee had overseen a program designed at helping to rebuild the country’s failing economy by putting millions of Americans back to work. Ellen’s husband was one of those now bringing home a weekly paycheck from the government for his service.
“Hello,” Dale Sanders said as he held his cell phone to his ear and continued looking at the blueprints before him.
“How’s the project coming?” The voice on the other end asked.
“We’ve had a few unforeseen interruptions but the completion date has not changed,” Dale replied as he looked through the window of the construction site’s temporary command post as a dark van pulled to a stop: On the side it read, FWEA.
There was a pause then, the caller said, “This must be completed on time. You’re not going to disappoint me are you, Sanders?”
“Oh, no sir!” Sanders said, beads of sweat forming on his forehead.
“You’re a good man, Sanders. I knew I put the right man in charge. I’ll call later. I wouldn’t want to keep you from your work.”
Fred Anderson motioned for the backhoe operator to lower the boom of his machine, guiding the earthmoving bucket into position. Fred and three other construction workers stood at the bottom of a six-foot trench. The trench was nearly done with Fred and the others using shovels to clean away a few yards of soft earth.
Suddenly, the walls of the trench caved in burying Fred and the others. The backhoe operator jumped from his machine, grabbed a shovel and started to dig frantically at the freshly fallen earth: other workers quickly joined in. A half-hour later Fred Anderson and his three co-workers’ lifeless bodies were pulled from the dirt.
The dark van Dale Sanders had seen earlier now pulled next to where the four men lie. The construction workers who helped free the four returned to their assigned tasks as two men from the van loaded the bodies and left the site.
Inside the construction command post Dale Sanders made a phone call, saying, “Yeah, this is Sanders at site seven, send me four replacements.”
Ellen Anderson finished setting the table in preparation for the evening meal. Hearing a vehicle enter the drive, she went to the door and opened it as two men came up the walk.
“Ellen, may we come in?” One of the men asked.
“Yes, of course,” Ellen replied.
Both men, wearing dark business suits, entered the living.
“Please hold out your right hand, the wrist down,” the taller of the two men asked, taking an electronic device the size of a wallet from a holder on his belt.
Ellen, without hesitation, raised her right arm until her hand was waist level. The man with the device quickly ran the lit instrument across the top of her wrist.
“Thank you, Ellen,” The man said as he slid the device into its holder on his belt.
The two men then left the house.
Ellen returned to the dining room, removed the plate that she’d put there for Fred and called for her daughter, Angelina. Seating Angelina, Ellen sat down: as they casually took the first bites from their meal the dark van left the drive. On the side it read, FWEA.
June 6, 2009 (Three-years earlier)
Fred Anderson and his wife, Ellen, and millions of other Americans across the United States, reported to their family doctor for an examination. All applying for aid under the new Federal Workers Employment Agency required the exam, paid for by the country’s new federal health care system.
An hour later Fred and Ellen left their doctor’s office having readily accepted the implant of a microchip for identification purposes. With their compliance came a guaranteed job for Fred and all the things needed for daily living, including a home, food, health care and a car. In every home, like Fred’s was a TV set to receive the government’s special digitalized signal. The first thing broadcast when the TV was hooked up was, “Stand by for an important news bulletin!”
Rick Huffman is the author of, Kelly’s Way.