It’s all gone wrong. So terribly, terribly wrong. During the early part of the 21st century, there was still the possibility of free speech, but as people became complacent, the Political Correctness Movement gained strength. It swept across cities, then nations, then the world. We all watched in horror as comedians were publicly executed, and now they’ve come for the bloggers.
I’m currently plinking away in Camp 3X Alpha, an internment facility that keeps steady track of writers. A giant robotic sentry that resembles a mechanical spider stalks through rows of bloggers, its cybernetic limbs whirring and shunking as it plods mercilessly through our ranks. I’m chained to a titanium desk, a Tom-Hanks-Castaway-style beard on my face, plinking away at some banal manuscript ordered by POLCOR (the new acronym for the agency that enforces political correctness). Something stupid about how we should always make sure that when we eat ice cream, we are required to precisely mix the colors of our delicious confection so that all flavors are included. Don’t like strawberry? Too F’in bad! Down the hatch it goes, along with a scoop of prune juice, anchovy, or whatever other heinous flavor is available.
Working out was outlawed five years ago; apparently it encourages body-shaming. Despite the cognitive and musculoskeletal benefits of consistent exercise, POLCOR has decreed that all citizens under its purview will achieve a physical fitness level that is no greater than that of dad-bod. While I slave away at my desk, I have engaged in a surreptitious regimen by which I tense my abs in regulated intervals, allowing me to keep some measure of muscle tone. I also employ a breathing protocol created by the marvel of physical potential that went by the name of Wim Hof, but I’m careful to keep it low-key: Wim Hof was executed via hillbilly sodomy ten years ago for deviating from what POLCOR deemed appropriate.
I’m in the middle of a set of ab-tenses, when the robot sentry stops behind me. Its cyclopean laser-eyed head pivots toward me, bathing my environs in a harsh circle of halogen light.
“CITIZEN OF POLCOR—MY SENSORS INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE ENGAGED IN UNAUTHORIZED EXERCISE. PLEASE FACE THIS UNIT’S PRIMARY SCANNER AND LIFT UP YOUR SHIRT.”
I freeze in place and stare blankly to my front. This is it. The end of everything. Unless…
One last chance. My fingers dart to my keyboard and plink out the title for the unrealized sci fi epic that’s simmering in my psyche.
Magic flash. I hear explosions and the stuttering of gunfire. Followed by a ferocious female voice screaming orders. A set of bolt cutters clamps around the chain links by my ankle and snip my restraints. Jessica Rabbit throws me over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and begins hoofing it out of Camp 3X Alpha, blazing away with a machine-pistol in her free hand. When we get outside, she dumps me on an armored assault bike, then gives me a quick once-over.
“Goddamn Kent, you look okay this time around, but in other realities, you’re always yoked.”
I don’t know what to say to that. Other realities? What the hell?
She cops a quick feel across my shoulder girdle, then clucks her tongue. Murmurs: “Gonna have to get some protein into you.” She squeezes my non-squat-thickened butt, then grimaces. “A LOT of protein.” She grabs my package, and lets out a relieved sigh. “Well thank god THAT’S still up to standard.” She hops onto the bike, guns the throttle, and off we go.
Not gonna say what happens after that, but I will tell you that your favorite author and perennial Man Child Kent Wayne regained his normal hirsute appearance, and engaged in some serious toon-on-human action. 😉
Do you feel the cyclopean eyes of POLCOR’S spider-sentries closing in on you? Not a problem! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle