Even though it was late in the day after he dropped off the Mexicans at the meat packaging plant, Red thought it best to return to his work to keep his mind occupied and not think of all the debacles that occurred in the last day or two.
When he entered his office, he found a black shirt, only this time a woman, at his desk. He asked her just what was she doing there. She explained to him that he no longer would be running his business. In fact, she explained, it was no longer “his business” but the federal government’s business operation. She further explained to him that if he had read the booklet on Sustainable Development under the Business section, he would already know that he is not allowed to make any money over $250, 000. That added to his wife’s money from her job at the bank, they were simply making too much money. Not to worry, however, the woman told him, the federal government would send him a check each month that would supply his necessities.
The woman got up from the desk and told Red to wait while she went to her car to get Mr. No Blame’s “Sustainable Development and Businesses” book which would give him a full explanation of the process, the limits, and the amount of money he will receive from the Federal government for his sustainability. She told him not to worry himself about anything, the Federal government would deposit into his checking account probably $600 a month for his necessities and once he started his State worker’s job, he would receive additional vouchers for travel money to his work place, extra food money and some clothing allowance. She estimated to Red that he would probably receive an additional $200 for those amenities in vouchers or a Government debit card.
Furiously, Red stood there thinking if she were a man, he would have knocked her on her butt. But, his father had taught him to never hit a woman. His father was a conservative who believed in morality, ethics, respect, the dignity of persons so he was taught some good things. His mother was a liberal and a feminazi from an earlier era and she had a fit when she found out Dusty was pregnant and demanded Dusty get a government paid abortion. Dusty was appalled at his mother and her cold, icy demands of abortion. Dusty was a liberal woman but she wanted this child. Since having Nutley, his mother had not spoken to them.
The black shirt woman came back into Red’s office with another huge booklet. She handed it to Red telling him to take it home and make sure he read up on all the policies under this UN Sustainable Development and Businesses. Red asked what the UN has to do with this. The black shirt woman looked at him with contempt and went back to whatever she was doing at Red’s desk dismissing him.
Walking to the rickety van Red wondered how much more of this he could take. He kicked the van knocking off the already torn bumper. It clanged as it hit the street. Red looked around afraid a black shirt was nearby and saw what he did. Nobody was in sight.
Red drove the van down to the Federal Government building which was the hub of information. He first went to the Department of Health and Human Services. He wanted to see his wife and child he told the clerk behind the desk after he waited in line for an hour with a ticket. The clerk told him she was not able to give him any information on his wife and child. Red pounded the desk and demanded to see her supervisor. She quickly punched in some numbers on the phone, but he could not hear what she was saying. Next, she told him to take the elevator up to the “Sustainable Population Development” office to see a Mr. Coldren.
Mr. Coldren met him with a warm welcome. Red thought finally he was getting somewhere and he now could get some answers. He demanded to see his wife and child wherever the government had taken them. Mr. Coldren looked at him piteously and told him that was not possible. What did he mean Red asked? Mr. Coldren rolled his desk chair over to a table stacked with large booklets. He handed one to Red telling him to take it home and thoroughly read through it as it would explain to him the policies of Sustainable Population Development.
Red slammed the book on his desk. Red’s face moved into Mr. Colden’s space eye to eye and told him no, he was not going to take home one more booklet and spend days upon days reading these documents that he actually needed a lawyer to interpret for him as these policies were difficult to sort as to exactly what they were saying.
Mr. Coldren glared at Red and shoved him back into his chair. All right, Mr. Coldren shot at him, I will tell you in plain English where your wife and child are. But, I warn you Mr. Acorn, one scream, one shout, one threat and you will be thrown into a detention center.
Red could feel a sickening feeling come over him. This did not sound like it would be something for which he would be delighted to hear. The sweat broke out on his brow and he started to feel his stomach roll. He was glad he had not eaten yet that day.
Mr. Coldren told Red he could not see his wife and child because they had been euthanized yesterday. Red sat there in his chair, shock moving across each and every nerve of his body. Euthanized? Did he hear right? He asked the man did he mean his wife and child were dead even knowing as he spoke it how ridiculous he sounded. Mr. Coldren told him yes, they were dead. There was no room in our society he explained to Red for anyone mentally impaired as his wife was and babies were of no use to the State. Either of these conditions, being mentally impaired or being a baby or younger than age 14 or older than 50 were of any use to the Sustainable Development of the Population and the State.
Only those who were healthy, old enough, and strong enough were needed for State workers’ programs. You simply must meet these criteria in order to be a constructive member to the collective society. Take him for example, Mr. Coldren elaborated, you are the right age, mentally unimpaired and strong enough to contribute to the collective means of the modern society in which they now lived. The guidelines were all in the book and according to Mr. Coldren Red should have already been completely familiarized with these policies.
Even though Red somehow knew the answer to this question, he asked to see his wife and child’s bodies and to have them taken to a funeral home of his choice. Oh, no, Mr. Coldren explained to him. They were cremated right after the euthanasia. Red shouted he wanted their ashes but those were not available either. The government provided a place for the ashes to be stored and he was not allowed to have any access to them.
Red stumbled out of Mr. Colden’s office, somehow managing to get onto an elevator and back to the van which now sported a bright red ticket which informed him he needed to replace the bumper on the van within 14 days or he would receive a fine of $500. Red tore it off the windshield and threw it onto the ground.
On the way back to his house, Red drove on auto pilot. His mind was no longer there on the road. His mind in fact seemed to be nowhere that he could place, a disassociation that he had never experienced before.
He unlocked his front door and immediately upon entering fell to the floor. His legs were so wobbly and weak he could not stand up any longer. He crawled into a fetal position and from a distance he heard a moan that did not sound human to him. His body was convulsing with sobs while the moaning continued and Red realized suddenly it was from him that the moaning was coming. Pain grasped at him like being clenched in a tiger’s jaws. The jaws tightened around him, his body, his soul, his heart were being ripped from within him.
Red, for the very first time in his entire life did not want to go on living. His head pounded with pain, his throat was dry and raspy, his body felt an inability to move and the sobs crashed over him like the stormy waves of an ocean pounding the shores of a beach roaring with that incessant tumult that would never leave him any peace.
To be continued…………………