Thursday, August 17, 2006

In Loco Parentis

iodine.jpgHere’s another short short story from Michael Swanwick’s collection to write the ending for. I’ll put up a link to the collection on Saturday.
In Loco Parentis

It was all done in the name of security, of course. My security, your security, national security … it hardly made any difference which. Smoking was banned from public places. Motorcyclists had to wear helmets. Drivers were required to wear seat belts. Airline passengers couldn't carry nail clippers. Pregnant women weren't allowed to drink. Hardware clerks had to submit to random drug testing.

Some of these laws made sense, of course. Others did not. But they all added momentum to the slow erosion of liberty, and then to the rapid erosion of liberty, and then to the redefinition of liberty as a threat to Our Way of Life. Everyone was required to carry ID cards with their gene-print and retina scan. Contact sports were banned. Distressing news was kept out of the media. Walls were built at every border. International travel was halted. Government finkware was installed in all new computers.

The day dawned when everyone's existence was finally safe. Free of danger, violence, sex, or human contact. Free of hate or envy or jealousy or lust or even love. Nothing new or unexpected ever happened. One day was much the same as another.


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