Ethan Switch - Thursday, 16 August 2012
Almost, but not quite. These are the words your parents welcome you into the world with. That great elation, pierced at the sight of your face, covered in reverse sick and all the wonders yet to explore. "What fresh hell is this?" you wonder, crying out into the room and feeling the cold harsh truth of unreality. That bare cut of air turning shivers into involuntary shakes. You weep. You grow.
But then you wake up one day to find your grandfather feebly covering your face with a pillow that hasn't seen the inside of a washing machine since grandpops has cleaned out his attic. They don't allow attics in the city and haven't for decades now. Too much of a security risk. You can't ever find all the Anne Franks in them. Conversely, this is why all basements have been filled shut with cement, ambergris and heartbeat monitors.
You can never be too careful and the government can never let you think you can ever be either.
And son, says the father to the invalid, we come to your eighteenth birthday. Here, as in the waiting room of that Wehling fellow, you will choose which one of your relatives will be taken out of circulation. Their expiration has come and we're running tight on space. When the government ran out and down into the ground the last of their failed ideas it turned to short stories to set policies.
It's nothing new. The future visions of today always come from fiction. And the swelling entasis leads one state after another to ransack their libraries for all their worth. In the distant land of the short attention span, that one beyond the hills of the next year, the only reason to work comes in at under 5000 words. And even that's a tall order.
It's customary to gamble your life on someone's death. After all, limited resources leads to unlimited recourses.
The law stipulates an eye for an eye within the same head. And it doesn't discriminate between eye colour or if they're from the same flesh. Arranged marriages are booming, the land grab for marriages done in dark takes more money than it can handle.
So gramps gets off scott free for a few more months yet. But you're counting down because you know where he keeps his lungs at night. It smells like asbestos.