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Eye For An Eye
“Are you kidding me?! Give me your arm; it’s going to take a lot more than that to pay this off!”
I rolled out of my almost new hover chair onto the hard, unfamiliar pavement. Managing to tap the red button on the side of the chair, I lay on the ground, incapable of movement, waiting for the patrols to arrive on the scene.
It had been no more than two minutes when they showed up in their very own hover chairs.
“What’s the problem here?” asked the first officer in a very unconcerned tone.
“Well can’t you see? Or have you spent those too? This man here just wrecked my hover chair, and I believe that will cost him at least an arm to repair.”
“Please, can’t there be any negotiation? Anything else please!” pleaded the man responsible for totaling my hover chair. “My wife and I were planning on travelling with this arm.”
“I’m sorry but it seems like it will take at least an arm to pay this off.” Then the officer directed his attention on me. “I’ll send you along with your chair down to Ford’s”
“And how long would you expect it to take?”
“Don’t ask me, you never know with these American companies anymore.”
I’m sure at this point you are fairly confused as to what exactly is going on. I’ll let you in on some background here, as I’m sure these times are far different than your own. The year now is 3122, and as many predicted, it is very shiny here, very shiny indeed. The streets are lined with engineering marvels decorated in chrome, the roads themselves also sharing a fine coat of chrome, covered by a bright chrome sky, and covered with the various chrome hover chairs that are now used by civilians as the main form of transportation (the only other form being teleporters, although these are only reserved for high officials—movie actors—and the patrols). The hover chairs, however, didn’t go into popular demand until fairly recently, when they were literally needed.
Up until about the late 2400s, credit cards were beginning to be a bit overused, or at least more overused than they were a couple hundred years back. The U.S. government was losing too much money from buying on credit, and they needed a solution. Here’s where our perfect new invention, the hover chair, came into play. We created this idea that instead of using credit cards for our big payments, why not just use body parts? This idea was taken quite poorly at first to be honest, but then it was explained:
Instead of using credit cards, people would make big purchases using expendable body parts, the size of the part varying according to the price of the purchase.
This would allow people to have a surplus of valuables at birth!
The nation’s credit problem would dramatically decrease.
With our new hover chairs, you wouldn’t even need as many body parts anymore.
These amputated parts could then be donated to scientific research and to our military (the number of able bodied men in America had reached an all-time low, and with the nation’s economy taking a downward spiral, other nation’s were beginning to plan their assault, so we needed an army, and fast. The idea would be to make an artificial army, using the body parts of U.S. citizens to form the bodies and artificial energy to give it life, the outcome being something like a “Frankenstein Army”).
Over the course of 100 years, credit cards would be banned from public use, putting a stop to the growing credit problem.
When our nation realized how much benefits would come from this, they couldn’t reject the idea.
We then spent the remainder of the 2400s carrying out this plan, called “Operation.” And now here we are, back in 3122, a virtually limbless society, excluding those poorer individuals who, of course, could not afford to lose their own body parts, holding the lower class jobs that still required the use of their whole bodies. And that brings us back to my predicament, after having been teleported by the patrols to Ford’s Automotive.
“I suppose you’re here for a repair,” spoke a grime covered young man, polishing a recently refurbished hover chair under a dim light in the center of a large, cluttered garage.
I turned around, realizing that I had just been teleported without warning by the patrol. Remembering the question I had just shared with the officer, I asked, “How long will it take until it’s ready?”
“That depends,” said the young man, throwing the towel onto the seat of the hover chair and looking, for the first time, at me and my wrecked vehicle, “how long will it take you to pay?”
Just then, a crashing sound was heard inside the man’s office. Something had obviously just landed on his desk. The man, a bit startled by this interruption, turned towards his office door. “I suppose that would be it then?” asked the man.
I nodded and crawled onto the seat stationed next to me.
The man looked back at my hover chair as he was walking towards his office to examine the payment. “Looks new.”
“It is, spent nearly half my leg on it.”
The day I bought that gave a new meaning to the phrase “a painful purchase”.
“Well, unfortunately, with these new chairs, it’ll cost a little more than that man’s arm in there,” the man informed me, pointing towards his office.
“You mean I’m gonna have to pay for the rest myself?”
“Unless you want to crawl after that guy and wait a good day or two for this to be fixed.”
That would have been a problem. A whole two days without transportation? What would I be able to do? Hesitantly, I said “fine then. How much do you still need?”
“Ehh, about a fingers worth.”
Well great, I had already given up all of my fingers, and toes for that matter, the last one having bought my wife’s anniversary gift. The repair man was sitting in his office, toying with a bouncy ball, while I sat and recalled what was so important that I had to amputate all of my other expendable body parts. That reminded me of my first major purchase: the house. Along with that there was my daughter’s 16th birthday party, my hover chair, my wife’s anniversary gift, and many other things. As I was thinking about these purchases, I began remembering what had gone through my head with each one. Various questions had managed to stick to the back of my head but were never able to push its way to the front where they would have been noticed. Questions like, is this the right thing to do and what are the consequences? Until now, I had never analyzed any of these. I had never realized that the result would be so severe, so important. But, I was forced to face the consequence of my own actions: I had no more fingers, or any expendable limbs, to pay with.
And so, I had to ask myself the ultimate question.
How do I keep buying more expensive stuff now?