Categories > Original > Sci-Fi

Capital Society

by Gai 1 review

An egocentric utopia where commercialism's taken a bit too far.

Category: Sci-Fi - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor, Sci-fi - Published: 2005-12-16 - Updated: 2005-12-17 - 3871 words - Complete

I awoke promptly at six, as always. I wanted to be early to work regularly, as to make a good impression. After all, time is money. I was in good spirits as usual, a commendable trait of mine I had noted. I've always felt there's no greater feeling than getting in a good day's work, and this one would surely be no different. I bounded from my bed without a moment's hesitation, stopping only to glance down at my leg.

I'm not one to let things bother me, but I must admit that the new ankle bracelets the company had recently installed to keep track of employees' locations were getting to be quite irritable, now that the skin had started to heal around the holes the bolts made. Optimist that I was, I soon dismissed the thought, knowing I'd grow used to it in time.

I opened my closet door, browsing amongst my wardrobe in an attempt to decide what to wear, before deciding on a nice beige suit I'd recently purchased for myself on my birthday. Admittedly, it tore easily, making sewing a required skill if one didn't want to go through several clothes, but it happened to be a very popular brand of clothing.

Before I left my room, I naturally made sure to grab my wallet. In today's world, you never knew when you might need an extra dollar, and it never hurt to have some spare change, after all.

I headed to the kitchen, wondering if the plumbing had been repaired yet. Regretfully, the strange substance that oozed out of the faucet looked anything but clean, leaving no doubt in my mind that it was still far from safe to drink yet. It'd been like this for a few weeks now, but I knew that the landlord would take care of it, and made sure to check each morning and night, so as to be sure once it was repaired. I understood the landlord's hesitance in solving this problem perfectly, as I was aware he already had three other nearby apartment buildings to run, and living at the far end of town, I can but assume he had little time in his assumedly busy schedule to deal with this dilemna. Fortunately, I had thought ahead once this problem began, and after having first tasted the water to see if it was safe to drink(which I can assure you, it was not), I had gone out and stocked up on bottled water, so the situation with the plumbing was something that I personally found far from irritating.

Growing hungry, I opened the fridge, entering an order for a simple tuna sandwich. Admittedly, the bread was a little stale, and I must say the tuna smelled rather funny, but while I can't truthfully say it was two dollars well spent, one would find it hard to come across such a meal for less at this time of day.

Once I finished my breakfast, I headed to the bathroom in order to prepare myself for the day. After I was done using the facilities, I opened the bathroom door, stopping in my tracks at the sound of water hitting the floor. I glanced over at the source of the noise, only to find the toilet overflowing once more.

I was needless to say surprised to find it acting up again, having called over the plumber just this previous night. The man who arrived must have spent but a few minutes in the bathroom, before coming out and casually announcing the task was finished. I recall asking him before he left if there was any chances of it happening again, to which he replied that the toilet I happened to be the owner of suffered from numerous problems due to years of rust in the pipes, and that it would eventually act up again, at which time I would need to call for further assistance. He further went on to say that if I had not contacted them sooner, the results could have proven disastrous, perhaps even fatal. Knowing nothing about such things as this man's profession, I paid the good fellow for his services in full, and bid him good night. Beholding the mess that was now spreading across the bathroom floor, I could only gaze with relief, knowing that I had acted wisely in calling for help.

After making my second call to the plumber, I decided to check on my mail. What first caught my eye was a letter with the word 'urgent' stamped in bold, red letters on it. Opening it up, I found it was from the Sunny Side Nursing Home, where I had, two years back, dropped off my loving father. Thinking now of my dear father, I thought to myself of how long it had been since I'd last seen him. Perhaps I would pay him a visit on my day off next week, I then decided, before returning to the letter. In the said letter, it informed me that, as a result of my having missed the previous month's payment, they felt they were left with no choice but to take my father off life-support. I was, of course, quite surprised by this news. Had I actually forgotten? Surely this couldn't be the case, I had always made it a duty as a citizen to be upfront and on-time with taxes and bills of all sorts, and to let this completely slip my mind...

It was at that moment that I noticed that another of the letters came from the same address. Looking at the date, it seemed it had been sent a few days later. Opening it up, I learned from the addressee that I had in fact sent the payment, but it had simply been lost in the mail, and took a bit more time to get there. They said they were most apologetic for this tragedy which they dearly wished could have been avoided, and their only comforting words were that my father passed away almost painlessly.

Relief could never be used in a more fitting situation than to describe how I felt at that very moment. How worried I had been, thinking that at a mere age of 32, I was going senile, only to learn that it was a slip-up in the mail system(something made evident by the fact that I had already received two letters sent on seperate days in the same morning). Looking down again at the letter, I then thought again of my poor father, and his situation that had come about as a result of this whole mess. In reading the letter, however, it seemed that the staff had been genuinely upset over this incident, going as far as to apologize, thus I felt it best to leave this whole situation behind me, 'no point in crying over overpriced milk', after all.

I then looked down at the remaining mail, which consisted of the water bill, the electric bill, the heating bill, the garbage bill, the fire insurance bill, the flood insurance bill, the rain insurance bill, and finally a small package, nestled beneath the collection of bills. I grew excited at the sight of it, knowing that there was surely only one thing that it could be. I tore into the package, which revealed that which I had been looking foward to for days...

The latest Snuggle Bears figurine I had ordered. I had first become obsessed with them after seeing the commercials, they had just looked so cute and adorable that I knew at that moment that I had to become a collector. This one looked different from the others in the sense that it's fur was in fact green, something I had never seen before until last week when I first saw it for sale on television. Gazing fondly at it now, I realized it was worth the paychecks I had saved up to pay for it. Setting the figure carefully down next to the remaining dozen or so in my collection, I had a feeling that this was going to turn out to be a wonderful day.

After getting ready, I headed outside, ready to tackle another day of work, something I prided greatly as a result of the love I had for my job. Ever since my parents were able to save up for my tuition for elementary school, I've known what I wanted to do with my life. I excelled at subjects such as Financing and Economics, but my favorite had always been Social Motivation. I suppose because I always loved helping people, in order to assist them in finding their true work potential.

My last job finally gave me the chance to truly test my motivational skills, working at Centron Inc. Prison Facility. Inmates there had to regularly meet a daily quota during labor hours, and it was my duty as a guidance counselor to help out those who got behind in progress statistics. I was always there to help them find a way to increase their potential, which I'm sure they appreciated. Considering those who couldn't catch up were put on death row in order to make room for new prisoners. I suppose that could put a cramp on one's day, but as I see it, as long as you've got a smile on your face, and a dedication to what you do, there's no reason to be getting behind in progress. That was, unfortunately, the one thing about that job which I didn't quite care for, as the inmates I worked with could often be in a fairly disagreeable mood, and didn't make the friendliest co-workers.

But I couldn't possibly be any more content than with what I was doing now, and knowing where I was headed, I felt only unbridled joy. Looking up, I noticed the beautiful hue the sky had taken. Those tree hugging conservationists could say what they want about the so-called hazardous effects pollution caused, but I actually thought the crimson shade it had was quite lovely to behold. Letting out a quick cough, I remembered to put on my gas mask, as the smog tended to be a bit of a problem at this time of the day.

Unfortunately, my car was still at the mechanic's for repairs. I'd only brought it in to get it checked, something they advised to regularly do every few months, but apparantly, as I was later informed, it was in a most dire condition, and would require some expensive work. So for the past few days, I'd been walking to work. A bother, I know, but I wasn't one to mind, as I only lived three blocks away from my office. Traffic usually filled the streets anyway, so I'd been arriving to work noticeably earlier since I started heading on foot.

Hearing a boisterous series of shouts, I looked over to my right, seeing a man on the corner selling acid rain-proof umbrellas. Only an ignorant simpleton would ever waste their money on those, they never lasted more than half an hour anyway. Fortunately though, I was a bit more clever than the average buyer, and learned my lesson the first time.

As I continued along my way, I passed by the church I regularly attended every Thursday. A devout believer in the faith, I made sure to never miss a session. Last time, we listened to the executive chairman's moving speech about economic downsizing. Even now, the thought of it brings a tear to my eye.

By the time I reached 83nd street, a rather busy part of town, I had made sure to have a quarter on me, which I promptly inserted into a stop light. After just a couple minutes, the light changed red, much to the dismay of many drivers, who responded to me as I crossed with a number of obsceneties I choose not to recount.

And finally, there I was. The Telecom office building. My job. Could one ever be more proud? It's admittedly not a very large building, but don't let that fool you, they know how to manage size, and we're packed pretty tightly, working like a closely-knit family. Walking over to the security automaton standing at the front, I calmly paid the admission fee and was allowed through the doors. Inside, I was quickly patted down and had my barcode scanned, and after a short five minutes, I was moved along on my way.

I loved my job. I know I've said it many times, but I don't think expressing my enjoyment in performing this work a hundred times times over is enough. Finally I had found my one true calling in life, the position I was meant to hold: a telecommunications associate. My duties basically entailed reaching potential customers at their estate when they were available, offering them special offers of all kinds, from laundry detergent to phoneline services. I couldn't possibly think of anything more fun or rewarding than helping people like I was.

As I headed to my cubicle, I saw the co-worker I shared it with, employee #4185, or Thomas, as he liked to be called, being interrogated by security. Apparantly, from what I could make of it, it seemed he was being accused of stealing pencils from the office. I shook my head in disgrace, saddened to see that the very man I had worked with could be so lacking in company loyalty. As I headed over to the coffee machine to buy a quick drink, I heard the sudden noise of machine gun fire. Employee #4185, why did it have to come to this?

After wiping off the blood that had gotten onto my work area, I immediately set myself to the task at hand, another day of serving the community and it's people. I won't go into the details of my work, but suffice it to say, I think those who received my calls couldn't have been more satisfied when they heard the exclusive deals I had available for them. At least those who didn't hang up.

In what seemed like mere minutes, another twelve hours had passed by, and it was time for me to leave. After being escorted off the premises, I noticed I still had some free time available. I decided I might as well go down to the public library and rent a couple books to pass the time.

Realizing I was a little low on cash, I first decided to make a withdrawel. Unfortunately, the bank where I had an account was a good distance from work, so I had to take the subway. Paying the fee, I stepped on, immediately getting in line. I generally didn't care to ride the subway, as there tended to be some less than savory characters who frequented them. Having been mugged twice, I was beginning to wish I was carrying some money for the men who became rather disgruntled when seeing that I was a wasted effort. Wiping the blood out of my eyes, I paid the fee to get off and left.

Entering the bank, I was fortunate to find that it wasn't terribly busy that day, and after just half an hour in line, I reached one of the tellers up front. These days, it had become a very common sight for businesses to use machines for customer services instead of the much more costly employee. It admittedly made it difficult to engage in friendly chatter, but they worked just as well in any case, for the most part.

"Hello, how may I be of service today?" the teller asked once I pressed the help button. I smiled at it's friendy greeting as I always did, then pressed the withdrawel button.

"Would you like to make a withdrawel?" it asked. I pressed the withdrawel button again, hoping to get a different response this time.

"Thank you for choosing Globex Community Banking. Goodbye" the teller said, shutting down. As I hadn't gotten my money yet, I pressed the help button.

"Hello, how may I be of service today?" it repeated. Pressing the withdrawel button, I instead received a rather confusing response.

"Globex Community Banking does not hold itself liable for funds that are lost or stolen, if you have a complaint to file in this area, please contact our customer service line," the teller explained. I decided to try again, and once more pushed the withdrawel button.

"That function not understood," it said. I was considering pressing the withdrawel button again, before I was promptly cut off.

"Goodbye" the teller ended, before once again shutting down. I was a little lost for words at this point. I supposed there must have simply been something wrong with the machine, not entirely a suprise as this bank had some of the lowest interest rates in town, so it tended to make some 'shortcuts' in certain areas. I decided it would probably be best to get into another line, and less than an hour later, I was out of the bank and on my way.

Looking at my watch, I saw it had grown rather late. The streets were dark, with the only light coming from a buiding window or two. It could be rather dangerous out here at night, as police protection was limited to businesses, somewhat like insurance. I, however, had nothing to fear, having taken a few self defense classes the previous month, which were guaranteed to protect you in dangerous situations like this.

As I continued on my way to the library as I had previously planned, I was stopped by a man asking money of me. Glancing down at him as he sat there on the ground, it was clear to me he was another homeless scavenger. I'm a polite man, by all means, but people like this, drunkards who have no goals or aspirations in life, were the only thing that could annoy me. I wouldn't work hard everyday just so I could give my money away to someone who clearly didn't deserve it, and told him so in a very firm manner, stating as well that if he had a job he could make something of his life. In a typical response one would expect from a vagrant, he fired back that tired old phrase, 'there's more to life than money'. Insane too, I saw. These types were dangerous, filling people's heads with crazed, anarchical ideas of revolutions and unionization. I decided to myself as I walked off that I'd have to report him to the authorities when I got home so he could be taken to a homeless shelter. A feeling of guilt crossed my mind, when I considered how the older and more sickly ones were typically processed as livestock feed, but dismissed the thought when I reminded myself that he had it coming in choosing not to be a part of the work force.

There was an increasing amount of homeless these days, I thought to myself, with the previously mentioned demand by employers to use artificial intelligence in the workplace. The people who lined the streets weren't a problem as long as they didn't get in the way of working people like myself, but in some cases, like with the incident that had just occurred, they crossed the line.

I soon reached another stoplight, where several cars rushed by. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out a quarter and put it into the light. Or tried. It seemed the coin had gotten stuck, perhaps as a result of how rusted the stoplight had become. After trying vainly to force it in for a few minutes, I gave up, realizing I'd simply have to make a dash across the street. It was just as well, as I knew that surely any driver seeing me would be decent enough to slow down or drive out of the way.

It seemed I had made an error in my judgement, at least on the part of the driver who honked angrily as I got in his way, simply increasing in speed so as to make sure he didn't get caught up on me. Lying on the street, feeling several bones cracked and blood rushing out, I struggled to get up while dragging myself to the sidewalk, only to have my right leg plowed over by another driver who cursed at me to get off the street as he passed by. When I reached the side of the road, I desperately searched my pocket, finding I had forgotten my pain killers at home. Pulling out my cell phone instead, I called the nearest hospital, asking to have an ambulance sent right away. Once the operator had confirmed that I had insurance, she informed me that an ambulance would be there in half an hour.

When it finally arrived, a medic stepped out and walked to my side, making sure to avoid stepping in the blood that lay around me, asking first if I had insurance. Being unable to speak as my throat was so full of blood, I simply nodded in reply, before I was abruptly heaved up and put into the back of the ambulance.

In a few minutes, we were at the hospital, and I was led into a waiting room. After a while, I was finally escorted into the operating room, where I was laid down on a table. The surgeon looked down at me, demanding the money for the procedure, and I pulled out my checkbook, painfully scribbling out the necessary information. The surgeon ripped the check from my hands, inspecting it carefully, before making a call to my bank to ensure everything was in order. He talked for a while on the other line, and I grew increasingly dizzy, going into spasms coughing up yet more blood, before being silenced by the surgeon, who was still speaking to the man on the other line. Finally putting the phone down, he walked over to me, an irritated look in his eyes. He told me in an admonishing tone that I had insufficient funds in order to pay for the check, causing my eyes to widen in suprise. This wouldn't be the first, or second, time that the bank confused my account with another, but now wasn't exactly the best time. I tried to explain to him that this was just a mistake, but as I had already mentioned, the blood I was coughing up made speech somewhat impossible at this point. I reached into my pocket, seeing if I had enough cash on hand, while my vision grew blurrier.

I was tired, really. In severe pain, but mostly tired, for some reason, as I counted. Twenty, forty, eighty...wait...eighty comes after...I think the blood loss was starting to affect my...

Returning my thoughts to my money, I glance down at the collection of bills. Is that even a twenty? It looks like a thirty...but they don't make thirty dollar bills...I's hard to think right head's starting to feel a little funny...this was turning out to be a bit of a bad day...maybe I just need to rest a bit...
Sign up to rate and review this story