In a World Without Science-Fiction
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The streets were never my friend. They were safer than the communities, the hum drum to the ordinary. I was far from it, and their answer were pills being forced down my throat, killing my mind. So, I escaped, but for those like me there was no escape. There were only the streets until I died.
It was Saturday. I think it was Saturday. Every damn day was the same, but today, I passed by the deli. Bland was the special, and it just looked like the sandwich was thrown together. No originality. Just two slices of hard bread pressing a lump of red flesh together, but that’s not what caught my attention. I noticed a kid outside painting the brick wall in white, struggling to pull the art from his mind. He couldn’t. He was too drugged to imagine, and he finally gave up. I on the other hand opened the black can next to the white and made a smiley face against the wall. A squad car that was passing by slammed on its brakes. If I didn’t run for it, then I would be done, and they gave up chasing me. But I knew that the smiley face was gone.
It was warm today. I liked sitting on the bench near the park, watching the kids play. I hoped that they would chase their dreams like fireflies, never giving up the chase, but most of them sat in their sand boxes, zoned out. Their mothers were comatose too except for those looking at me with suspicion, knowing that I could influence their children to change, and when more of them looked my way, I knew the cops were coming. I hurried away while I still could.
This was what I did every day. Hide and seek. That used to be a game, one with imagination, I think, but if you talked of imaginary friends, then they would lock you up and then shock you until you lost all touch with whatever might have been inside. Sometimes, I hid in the movie theaters, but I was so tired of the blaring, white screens and small black words that flashed across it. I wanted to see action, monsters, aliens, but I knew better now than to say that. And I touched the scars by my temples.
At night, everyone crawled back indoors, staring into space, waiting for another day. There was no tv, no radio, no books. Just silence. Conversations were even dead. Nobody wanted to say the wrong thing, reveal that they dared to dream, fearing the punishment that would fall upon them. I would lie on the bench near the park, satisfied of being left alone to look up at the stars, wondering if we just had a taste of technology, would we be better? Then, those damn red and blue flashing lights would find me. They’ve caught me a few times. Last time, I had to crawl out through a sewer, a rat in their tunnel, and all I wanted was to dream, talk of the What If. But history was a hardened stone. It happened. That’s that.
My stomach growled. Maybe, if I was lucky, I would get some white slop. I think it’s supposed to be yogurt, but there were no flavors, no fruit. Just white slop, but I managed to get some. That would hold me for awhile, but as I licked it down, my tongue began to feel numb. I had heard that we were going to purge us out to guarantee their monotony, but I never realized how true that was until this moment, this moment where my body started to tingle and then jerk and finally convulse. My mind became gray mush, bleeding out visions of little, green men, machine creatures with guns, starships going light speed, and my tongue flopped to the side, touching pavement. The streets were never my friend.