We Don’t Want Your Kind Here

no entry

© yarnspinnerr

The sign said “No Entry” in two languages, but Allen saw the young couple approach the main doors from the side and go in any way. He knew the sign was directed at him, not him personally, but you had to be a member in good standing of the Party to even be considered.

The event was held in a different city each year, and today it was in Mumbai, but the administrators lived in the U.S., and their influence was everywhere.

Officially, segregation didn’t exist, but when “his kind,” as they often referred to non-Party members, tried to petition for even ancillary status, they were rebuffed. Since they’d taken control of the political structure, entertainment, all news venues, they hadn’t felt it necessary to use him as a punching bag anymore, but they still called him a “Nazi” from time to time.

His kind wasn’t allowed at any of the popular venues including WorldCon. They didn’t think it was possible for a cisgender, white male from Montana to be a science fiction fan.

I wrote this for the 179th FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I’ve been chronicling the whole WorldCon 76 meltdown and recovery, as well as the latest shots fired at conservatives who, for some reason, are not only thought of as “Nazis,” but not considered worthy of being science fiction fans. So I thought I’d write yet another tale of the dystopia where prejudice is alive and well and running the world.

Yes, I know. I rant about this a lot, but now that this year’s WorldCon is officially over, I’ll find something else to focus my attention on.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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The Other Side of the Fence

fence

Image credit: Mattias Milos via Unsplash

Gabriel peered though the tear in the chain link fence that separated Lucia from the foothills. The foothills used to be part of a State Park before the west coast cities separated from the rest of California. They kept enough land to go on hikes or walk their dogs, but except for a few community gardens, they had all their food flown in.

He was only sixteen and had been born after “The Schism,” the separation of what his Grandpa called “The Left Coast” from the more rural and conservative parts of the state. He said that other big cities had done the same thing, not just in the U.S., but in Canada and Europe, too. The state capitol had been moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles, and people in the “rightist” coastal areas, like Orange County, had chosen to sell their houses at a premium, and move to mid-sized cities here or in other states such as Idaho, which was a pretty popular destination.

“What makes you so special?”

In spite of his Grandpa, his parents, and most other people he knew, including the kids he’d grown up with, he was curious. What did the coast cities have that the rest of California didn’t? They had video games, but so did he, though not from the same manufacturers, and “coastie” products were deliberately overpriced for what they called “hicks” and “deplorables”or just plain not sold outside the cities.

Same thing with movies, music, and most of the other stuff produced in the big population centers. Yeah, the central part of the state had their own tech and entertainment products, but not the same ones. He’d never see the latest superhero movies or TV shows made by Marvel or DC unless they were pirated, and he suspected that what he and the other kids saw, listened to, and played weren’t quite as good.

“Hello.”

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The Last American Flag

old glory

© Yinglan Z.

Alex and Ginnie brought their heavily armed team up to the top of Crystal Peak. They didn’t have much time and had no hope at all. When they placed the flag here six months ago, they knew they were breaking the law, but America had been founded by a courageous group of law breakers. This time, there would be no forming a new nation, because the America they knew, the one their fathers and grandfathers knew, was gone.

First, it was “taking the knee” during the pledge in protest. Then there was stomping on the flag or burning it, and posting the videos to YouTube, which immediately went viral. Finally, at the behest of President Julian Sanders, Congress abolished the Constitution to form the People’s Socialist Party of America. Flying Old Glory became illegal.

“They’re coming.” Ginnie grabbed her husband’s arm. He said nothing and waited. The small band of resistance fighters watched the brigade of black-clad security forces and prepared to make their last stand and die with their nation as did their forefathers.

I wrote this for the 171st FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

After a vain attempt to locate where the photo was taken, I decided on a different approach based very loosely on news items I’ve been reading over the past couple of days. As difficult as some of those events may seem and how some people view the U.S. currently, it could still be much, much worse.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The State of Dying

burned house

© C.E. Ayr

“This is the perfect place.”

“But it’s just a burned up building, Grandpa.”

“Exactly, Amy. Bring your brothers and sisters. Tell them to have their squirt guns fully loaded. We’re going to have a supersoaker blast playing “spy” in here.”

The eight-year-old grinned as she ran back next door to his house. His neighbor’s wrecked home reminded him that he needed to move out soon too. He’d turn seventy next year, and the state’s ridiculous “right-to-die” law for the terminally ill now allowed legalized murder of anyone over that age, whether they wanted to go or not.

Their bloated environmental laws worked about as well as their population laws. The government had killed 75% of the native plants and animals, and now they were working on the people.

He turned as he heard five pairs of running feet approaching. “You better get going, Grandpa.” At ten, Chad wasn’t the oldest, but he was the ringleader.

“Unless you want to get soaked.” Five-year-old Emily had that “killer” gleam in her eye.

“I’m running.” Mitch dashed into the ruined structure. He had to move the family to one of the free states before the jackboots came after them all.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of June 3, 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 196.

For some reason, the image reminded me of both Florida and California. I chose the latter since I used to live there, and “Googling” the search string “California dying,” I came up with plenty of information on that state’s “right to die” law at both The Los Angeles Times and Death with Dignity. I also found an article about the demise of California’s Sierra forests, which are perishing in spite of all the tax money California’s state senate can throw at the environment.

I know “dying with dignity” is a controversial issue. People of faith tend to believe that giving and taking life should be left to God alone, but it’s hard to watch someone slowly dying and in great pain when you could ease their suffering.

Also, I actually do have a great concern for the environment. One of the reasons I like living in Idaho is because of the vast areas of wilderness, the mountains, rivers, and lakes. But something obviously went wrong in California’s case, because people from that state are moving here in droves.

Anyway, putting that all together, I authored today’s wee dystopian tale.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Lift

car balloons

Photo credit: Vincent Bourilhon

“They’re gaining, Tomas. We need more lift. Hurry.”

“I’m trying Irma. It’s easy to imagine more balloons but hard to make them pull us up.”

Twelve-year-old Irma Ruiz was mimicking the motions of her Papa, remembering how he drove his antediluvian Rambler, putting her hands at the ten and two o’ clock positions on the wheel to steer it. The wheel was wet because of her sweaty palms and every time she looked in the rear view mirror, she saw them getting closer.

“Tomas!”

“I’m hurrying! I’m hurrying!” Her ten-year-old brother couldn’t afford to look behind them. His head was stuck out the passenger door window looking up, concentrating on visualizing an ever-growing bouquet of helium-filled balloons, red, white, yellow, green, blue, all the colors of the rainbow. He could feel the car continue to climb but they had to go faster and higher.

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Resistance

resistance

Actor Christian Bale as John Connor in the 2009 film “Terminator Salvation.”

The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before. Joe Kelley had been confined in the Detention Center for nearly a week and compelled to read and view all manner of anti-Christian and progressive texts and films in an effort to “correct” his views on the existence of God and particularly the God of the Bible.

He was surprised they hadn’t simply arrested him, beaten a confession out of him (or “disappeared” him like so many of his friends), and then sentenced him to a long prison term. Then he realized that with his son Gabe being a high-ranking official on the local Public Education Council, the Progressive Enforcement (PE) Police didn’t want to embarrass him by having the news media report that his Dad had been convicted of seditious religious beliefs.

At first, his Counselor Mx Torres considered “converting” him to a state-approved inclusive Christian church, but when the psychological test results came back, the recommendation was to completely reprogram him to deny all faith in Christ.

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That Which is of Good Repute

big brother

Image from the film “Nineteen-Eighty Four (1984).

Warning: This is a work of fiction but also a controversial commentary involving social movements, political positions, and religions and it might not be considered “politically correct” by some or most. If you believe you might become upset or offended by a minority point of view (from my perspective), please stop reading now. Thank you.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)

Joseph Kelley closed his Bible and sighed. “Yes, but what does the world consider true, honorable, right, and pure these days?”

He got up from his bed where he’d been reading, walked into the small closet and felt on the wall behind his jackets. There he found the hidden panel and pressed the three catches in a particular order to release it. With the panel open, he put the Bible back in alongside his concordance, a torn and aging copy of C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” and his dear departed wife’s Stone Edition Tanakh. Then he sealed the panel again and rearranged the clothes hangers so his treasure trove was again concealed.

Of course, he had memorized the contacts list for his cell of fellow believers. That was the one thing he could never commit to writing or any other record. Even if he were caught and they found his contraband, they would (hopefully) believe he was a rogue and not part of a larger group or fellowship.

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A Not Entirely Objective Book Review: “The Handmaid’s Tale”

handmaid

Promotional image for Hulu’s television series “The Handmaid’s Tale

I just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I can tell you it’s not a book you review without doing a bit of research. Of course I knew that going in.

I’ve been peripherally aware of both Atwood’s novel and the television series on Hulu but didn’t give either much attention. Then I read a few stories about this year’s Women’s March and noticed in the news photos amid women dressed in vagina hats and full-body vagina costumes, there were groups who wore the red and white wardrobe of the handmaids (I assume the protestors’ inspiration was more the TV series than the book but I have nothing with which to back that opinion).

Since the Women’s March largely is a protest against the administration of President Donald Trump, I became curious as to the connection (I already knew what the vagina costumes were all about).

Fortunately, my local public library system had a copy, so I reserved it and when it arrived at the designated branch, I eagerly began reading. I’m going to break down this review into sections both to make it more readable and to keep things straight in my head. It’s not that I found the book itself so complex, but there are wider social implications to consider.

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The Lightbringer

light

Photo credit: Goroyboy

The day the Lightbringer walked into town felt like the best day in everyone’s lives. She was good, pure, and right. Everyone wanted to know about her and she asked the townspeople to gather in the square at noon.

“I am the Lightbringer,” she began as every man, woman, and child were held by her gaze. “I show what is light inside you, what is good, what is pure, but I also reveal the darkness. What you think is light is the darkness and what you think is darkness is the light. I will show you true light that you may purge the darkness. I am the light, you must be like me. There is no other way to the light.”

The townspeople became confused because they had been a peaceful and wholesome folk for so long, and now the Lightbringer had revealed that their wholesomeness was really the darkness. They desired to be the light, but while the Lightbringer seemed so good, should they surrender themselves to her just because she came into their town?

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 30, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel “A Handmaid’s Tale” which has spawned a film and a currently popular television show on Hulu. It depicts a dystopian future where a conservative, religious society has enslaved women, turning the fertile females into breeders and waging war against other countries that hold different belief systems. I’ll subsequently write a review after finishing the book and completing my research on Atwood’s perspectives that led to the novel’s creation.

This morning I also read an article on the ACLU’s website called Let’s Stop Sexual Harassment and Violence Before They Begin With Comprehensive Sex Ed written by Melissa Goodman, Director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project , ACLU of Southern California. She authored the missive in support of a law in the State of California which dramatically changes sex education in the public school system starting at the kindergarten level. What I think she may have missed is what the parents of these students have to say about what their children are taught.

Regardless of how you interpreted my wee tale above, my point is that ANY political or social system taken to an extreme will become a totalitarian regime where the rights and freedoms of the citizens will be subordinate to the will of the State; a State which almost always is controlled by an elite few who are exempt from their own laws.

What I’m suggesting is that no matter how nice, sweet, cool, and beautiful someone’s “line” is and how they promise to do only good things for you if you let them rule over you, it is vitally important that you check in with your own mind, emotions, and exercise your free will. The minute you turn that over to anyone, no matter how much they say they’re a “lightbringer,” you will very likely find yourself dragged into the darkness.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Religious Defector

silhouette-interview

Found at YouTube

“We appreciate you allowing us to interview you, Mr. Kwon.”

“Not at all, Ms. Singer. It is a pleasure to be here, to be able to tell my story.”

The middle-aged gentleman was dressed casually in a button down checkered shirt and jeans. He looked uncomfortable in the television studio but the reporter, Judith Singer, tried to put him at ease.

“Just tell us your experiences in your own words.” Her tone was soft, gentle really. She leaned forward slightly to indicate interest but not enough to block the television camera. Off to one side, she could see the wall mounted monitor that displayed what the audience was seeing. The dialogue was translated and projected as subtitles because he didn’t speak the same language as most of the audience.

“My country is officially atheist. Except for the show church in the nation’s capital that tourists visit, our religion is illegal, well, all religion actually, but especially any public Christian worship.

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