© Enisa

“Citizens. You are being watched. It is now safe to cross the street.” The simulated voice from the cross walk camera sounded both melodious and ominous.

“I think it’s creepy how the government is allowed to put up surveillance cameras everywhere.” Joan was complaining to her co-worker Fran as the two of them continued their lunch hour walk.

“It’s to keep us safe. No one can carry a gun or a knife anywhere without being seen.”

“But even in the bathrooms? It’s embarrassing.”

“Only robots using algorithms to detect dangerous activity are watching. Besides, you can’t have everything. To be safe, you have to give up something.”

“I can’t even make love to my husband anymore without feeling guilty. Why do they have to be in our bedrooms, too?”

“Excuse me.”

The two women stopped as they were approached by a police officer.

“I’m Officer Jill Conrad. Our monitors detected what could be interpreted as subversive speech during your conversation. Mind if I ask you a few questions?”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of March 27, 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 168.

The photo looked kind of sterile and “futuristic,” or more like how the future was imagined in the 1960s. So I wrote a small, dystopian tale about how “Big Brother” (see George Orwell’s novel “1984”) was everywhere, watching all the time, including in our bathrooms and bedrooms, all in the cause of keeping us safe.

Am I being ridiculous? There was a time when I thought I could travel by commercial air without having my genitals either photographed or touched, and yet we all seem to accept that as “normal” now.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

31 thoughts on “Surveillance

    • Thanks, Penny. Actually, there are a whole lot of webcams watching public places already including store parking lots and traffic intersections. I doubt that anyone will be putting cameras in bathrooms and bedrooms, but if you have a webcam, either USB or built into your computer monitor, it can be hacked (even when the “on” light isn’t illuminated) so you can be watched where ever your computer is. Some people put a piece of tape over the lens whenever they don’t want to use it. Just sayin’.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s not ridiculous. This is England, land of Orwell. My town’s welcome sign once included a line about it being safer thanks to CCTV until someone told the council it might create a negative impression. The sign was changed, though the cameras remain.
    I enjoyed your story. Thanks


  2. We truly are living in a Big Brother society, and it will probably get worse. I just saw a tweet today, of a little boy talking to Mark Zuckerberg. The Boy says: My dad says you are spying on us. Mark Zuckerbeg answers: He’s not your dad.
    Great story, James.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.