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The Gr8 Society
Ms. Trason returned to the front of the room. She beamed unnaturally white teeth at the crowd of children in front of her and began, “The American Revolution ended in 1721. We were vict- victorious against the British armies and then we made the constitution later.” The class, as a whole, had paid attention to none of this incorrect information. However, Omar Sintenni had the usual look of disgust on his face. He raised his hand and Ms. Trason almost flinched.
“Mr. Sentenni?” She spoke in her unnaturally high-pitched voice.
“The Revolution ended in 1781 and the Constitutional Convention was held during the war, not after.” He replied timidly. Ms. Trason responded with an obnoxious giggle.
“Mr. Sentenni,” She began, “How could you possibly know more than your own history teacher?” Omar decided not to answer her and the question hung awkwardly in the air. “Moving on. Let’s focus on the Constructed-“
“Yes, the Constitutional Convention. That’s what I said, Omar.” The rest of the day followed in a similar pattern with Omar bringing it upon himself to correct his teachers in all manner of subjects. History was the most difficult, everyone but Omar had an A because only Omar realized what the teachers were giving was wrong. Why was it that everything he read, heard, or saw counteracted what he read in his own history books.
Too often had his father told him not to reveal that he knew so much. Books are ‘primitively inaccurate compared to modern society’ at least that was the official slogan. His father had a collection of them hidden in the basement. There were none between the years 2000 to the current date of 2041. Only news articles of a crippled economy, a corrupt government, and a hating society. A society that didn’t like other people, hated other countries, and started wars for little reasons. The most hated of which were Muslims. Omar found the way Muslims were treated in the later 20’s as those that blacks were treated in the 20th century.
But Omar wasn’t Muslim. He just looked Muslim to other people. In reality his father came to America after the Egyptian Revolution, fearing war for his family and growing anti-Christian hostilities. Omar was born after the Reforms happened. The Reforms, he checked, were celebrated in newspaper articles and defined on the internet as, “During the Resource wars, the United States federal government enacted several Reforms in order to preserve society and maintain the common morals of a god-fearing people.” The rules of separation between church and state were dropped, executive powers were extended to the point where Congress was almost purely symbolic and amendments were handled exclusively by the President who then dropped hate crimes as being suppressive to free speech. A few months later, the American economy peaked as it became the world’s only remaining superpower (he found news articles stating that the People’s Republic of China had fallen into a second civil war).
Omar couldn’t dwell on the past and neither could he dwell on his father’s library. He pushed forward through each day of school. No matter how ridiculous it was. He did the same thing every day, looking at adults with colorful hair and ludicrous outfits. Until the day that Anastasia Kingston arrived from London at the Chicago School 12. Grade Eight. On February 23, 2041. She didn’t have any ‘birthday surgeries’ where she got her teeth fixed in a few hours with a sculpting laser or had her hair permanently solidified into one shape. She was normal. She didn’t wear bright dresses and rainbow style tutus. She wore jeans and T-shirts. Omar couldn’t help but admire her.
Anastasia and Omar’s first meeting, however, was not as pleasant as Omar would have hoped. She slapped him twice and told him he needed his speech checked. Most people would’ve been offended but Omar had been staring with his mouth open trying to say something intelligent but all that came out was, “Gah… I’m O- You’re pretty!” His light brown face turned almost white and his eyes bulged. The rest of the day he had a red handprint on both cheeks.
Their next few meetings went much better. No violence. Eventually they were friends. They made a certain effort to escape their shiny and colorful world for one that was dusty and dark, their favorite spot being Omar’s basement library. Anastasia learned from a history book that she shared the name of a famous Russian princess whose death caused a mass scandal. She learned all about the world before the Reforms and the free place where people could be any religion and believe anything they wanted.
“That’s so stupid.” She told Omar one day, “They threw away their freedoms on the off chance that they could fix their money problems.” Omar couldn’t understand her frustration. It was the past and there was nothing they would ever be able to do that would change it.
“Why did your family move here?” He asked the question somewhat out of the blue.
“Why do you want to know?”
“Just curious,” He shrugged.
“When England… you know. We kind of left.” Her eyes shifted nervously from his to the floor. “It’s just that my parents were capitalists, I mean, they owned a railroad company and they’d have been arrested and I would have been too, but, I dunno.”
“Your family isn’t cowards or anything Ana. My dad left Egypt with my mom because of their Revolution.” It was almost said with contempt but he suppressed any negative feelings around Anastasia. “It’s just the way things are.”
“We should change it.” She mumbled. Omar raised an eyebrow. “These books! They all talk about how this country was about the people who lived there and not the business owners and the government officials!” She jumped up. Omar looked shocked and she started picking up books and slamming them down. “This one! And this one! This one’s about a suicidal lover named Romeo and it’s still amazing! It’s not even political!” She was sort of ranting and shouting now. Omar silently admitted his fear that she might hit him with a hardback.
After an hour, Omar had convinced Anastasia to calm down. After two, Anastasia had convinced Omar that they were going to change their world. After three, she was screaming again. After four, she went home. Twelve hours later, they met at school, an hour after that they were given a surprise trip to the mall from their society sociality teachers.
The mall, as every shopping area in the U.S. was; bright, colorful, electrically magnificent and full of colorful people with piercings and gem implants, colorful wigs, and long fake nails. The rest of their class was busy draining the credits off of their parents MoneyCards, while Anastasia and Omar sat at the Food Court. Awkward and totally out of their element. A ServeBot came by with another Peña Colada and chocolate milkshake.
“Thirty eight dollars and seventy five cents, please.” It chirped in a mechanical voice.
“What’s the extra eight for?!” Omar demanded.
“Tip.” It chirped. Anastasia and Omar exchanged irritated glances.
“Just give it to him, he probably needs it to recharge.” She giggled and Omar grudgingly gave him the ‘tip’ he needed. The robot chirped its thanks and wheeled itself away. The two sat in silence sipping for a while until Ana rolled her eyes, “This place is disgusting.” She spat.
“What your drink tastes bad?” Omar looked up, “I mean, if we give him a hundred I think he’ll consider getting you a second drink.” He laughed.
She looked at him with thinly veiled annoyance. “No. I mean, look at everyone. They’ve all got these wild hair styles and big, enormous, frilly clothes and make up. And all they do is shop and spend money! And all they talk about is shopping and spending money, Omar! What’s wrong with us?” Her eyes were huge and she actually was screaming, without Omar’s notice Ana had climbed on top of the table. She attracted the attention of the entire Food Court. Some looked frightened while others snickered and pointed. The most disturbing spectators were the Federal Guards at the end of the Court. They looked at each other, one spoke into a walkie-talkie. The guards began to move forward. Omar tugged at Ana’s hand.
“Let’s go. Now.” He glanced over at the gaining Federals. Ana didn’t notice and continued her ranting. Omar panicked.
“We’ve got some kind of activity at the Michonne Mall.” The taller guard spoke into the walkie-talkie again. “I don’t know, she looks like a Tranq Target.” He snickered and pulled out a very small gun.
“Ana, we have to go, now.” He pleaded, pulling her hand. “Please. Ana, hurry.” But Ana wouldn’t listen, the guard with the Tranquilizer Gun pointed it at Ana. He looked over at the other guard for confirmation, he nodded. Eight seconds later, Ana was on the floor, unconscious. Fourteen seconds later, she and Omar were in handcuffs. Forty three minutes later, they were on live television, Ana was ranting at the nation on her way to the City Prison.
Twenty seven days later…
The riots had gone on for days. Dallas, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Miami, Portland, Nashville and Cleveland were in anarchy. Chants for democracy and political freedom rang through the streets of cities that didn’t have martial law. The only city that remained untouched was Washington D.C. Even though the President and most of Congress had fled a week ago. The Constitutional American Liberation Front still assumed that the city was under heavy security. Statues of current political leaders were torn down. Malls were destroyed but not looted, banks were robbed but money was not kept by their robbers, schools had been wiped clean of their inadequate staff and replaced with capable teachers for a better future. As Omar left his cell, thinking of Ana, he realized you couldn’t think of the past, and thought of a better future.