There is always a possibility that ‘What if’ will maybe happen.
…Mary M. Forbes
Life was perfect for Jacques. He had his great house module on floor 636. People were now required to preserve as much land as possible. They were finally taking responsibility for the privilege of living on this earth. Jacques had his ideal wife who had now used all her required cosmetic surgery vouchers, but looked wonderful. He had his quota of one and a half children according to Rule No. 579, Section III, Line 27. With such an orderly life it was nearly impossible to imagine the chaos and problems that often happened in the old days. The solution was simple – just follow the rules and life was perfect.
Although little Joey, his youngest son, did not like being the one without hands and legs – his unhappiness was not allowed to interfere with a collective perfect life. There were copious amounts of hospitals and programs to help with little Joey. And as his wife always pointed out – their older daughter was perfect. Her marks in the school she attended were the best, in both social behavior and Rules and Regulations of a Perfect Society. These were the most important subjects and the idea that she was struggling in math didn’t matter. To share the burden of equality, it was only fair Joey would need help.
Jacques had a perfect technical job, with perfect pay also. No one was above him. No one was below. Every night he could watch his own TV, play on his own computer or text his wife in the next room watching her own TV or on her own computer. To preserve power all lights and electronics were shut down at 11:00. By then you would be in bed. It was a good rule. Lights were not required.
In the summers the white painted streets, when he looked outside, were beautiful, reflecting the heat upwards to the skies. In the winter, those same streets, painted black, held the heat to the ground. To the east of this great city was his own patch of land, for his fresh vegetables. There were wind turbines spattered about, between and lining the little fields. Fortunately, man-kind had figured out a way to eliminate that awful fossil fuel finally. The beloved government was now working on ways those turbines didn’t chase away wildlife and birds. The piercing sounds created by the turbines, not heard by humans, seemed to disturb the wildlife. They were nearing a break-through. They said so and it was wrong to question them. No one seemed to know the punishment because no one dared to question them.
Jacques, of course, didn’t work his own garden. It was his duty to hire those unfortunate workers who couldn’t seem to grasp the idea that it required education to work in the technology world. Were they people who questioned the government? Was punishment digging in the dirty, germ infested ground? Jacques, although he knew everyone was equal, secretly believed he was superior to those people.
Then he felt guilty for his thoughts and moved back to his required peaceful thoughts – of his perfect life. And Jacques could have lived his whole guaranteed hundred years in peace and quiet if he hadn’t met Spotted Eagle.
He was sitting in the tiny organic cafe, ‘Good Old Fashioned Eats’. It was on the outskirts of Winnipeg. He was enjoying the cracked wheat, tofu and bean sprout sandwich with a wheat-germ smoothie. It was his one guilty pleasure – once a month. Some scientists were in the process of determining that wheat was harmful. It wasn’t just because growing it took up too much land headlines assured the public. He had just read they were nearing a break-through. He realized it was probably going to be illegal very soon. Jacques loved wheat bread.
He was careful not to look towards the west. Beyond the city limits of Winnipeg was uncharted territory. No one could survive there. It was what he had learned in school and therefore must be true. Germs, danger and uncertainty abound unfettered out there. Mankind had not yet gained the knowledge to tame the wild, Wild West. So it would only stand to reason – IT WAS TABOO. No one was allowed outside the city limits to the west and no one – if there was any such animal – was allowed from the outside – inside the city limits.Today was proof – there was life in those uncharted territories.
Today that rule was definitely broken. He saw the man and he knew he should call the police. It was obvious from the animal hide clothes and long, probably lice-infested hair, this man did not belong in a perfect world. His face was lined with wrinkles, a problem of the past and he was eating something – white bread – possibly meat. But horrors of horrors surely the white substance dripping out must be mayonnaise – fat. Didn’t the man realize it would make him obese? Jacques realized he would have to report his favorite restaurant too – they were serving illegal substances.
Jacques, like any good citizen would, reached into his pocket to pull out his cell-phone. Once he dialed the number he was careful to leave it the required four inches away from his ear to prevent radiation. It was a known fact cell phones caused radiation and by following that rule he could possibly add on another year to his life. He believed the experts in these matters. He listened to the first ring.
Suddenly the dirty man was standing right before him. He knocked the phone to the floor. Jacques was stunned. He looked first at the intimidating man and then down at his poor phone. He couldn’t touch it. Now it was probably covered with germs. He looked back at the man. He was lamenting the fact he would now be taken to the hospital and fumigated. There was nothing enjoyable in that process.
Before he knew what was happening, the man grabbed his wrist and pulled him out into the street.
“Hi, I’m Spotted Eagle… Wanna see the big waters?”
“Big waters…” Jacques had to admit curiosity jumped into his mind. And try as he might he couldn’t suppress it. This primitive, uneducated life-form could talk. How curious was that?
“Yes, I would like to see the Pacific Ocean.”
He was no flat-earth believer.
And that was how Jacques became a modern explorer.
To be continued….