To Your Health - -A Short Story - Part one
To Your Health
(After the Supreme Court‘s decision this morning to grant government vast new powers over the people, I put on my magic future goggles, and this is what I saw in store for a “New“ America):
What’s your PICA rating sir?”
The middle-aged man stared at the wall.
The IRS Healthcare Administrator sighed.
“I can get it by scanning your implant, sir, but I prefer that my patients just admit their PICA themselves. That way, I don’t have to listen to their arguments.”
She waved the reader wand, and Jerome’s PICA rating appeared on the reader wall.
“A lousy 3.6?” She smiled humorlessly. “Trying to pull a fast one. Mister Dreup? You know damn well that nobody below a 5.8 gets to the second care tier! Do you have any special talent that’s not listed? If not, your low PICA means you are well on your way to being made comfortable and good-drugs happy!” She chuckled at her own wit.
Jerome Dreup looked at the back of his hands as they rested on his knees. Special talent? He could shoot the eye out of a terrorist at one thousand yards, and often did so during the War with the Middle East, but who needed that now? He could kill a thousand different ways, but who would pay for skills like that? Who wanted someone like that? Ex-military was the lowest of the low in New America.
His Productivity/Intellect/Community/Age rating was a mere 3.6, far below the 5.8 he needed to even be considered for prostate cancer treatment, although it was highly curable. Under the Affordable Healthcare Act’s New America austerity plan, his 3.6 rating simply did not qualify him for treatment. The fact that he was a Medal of Honor winner during the ME War had no influence on the dispassionate IRS Administrators or his PICA rating. Whose stupid idea was it to make the IRS goons the final judges on life? Oh yeah, that too was The Leader’s idea.
There was no good way out now that Congress and the Supreme Court had been disbanded, and all New-Americans had been disarmed in the middle of the night. Well, most Americans that is. Suddenly, he made up his mind.
Food would be a problem. All food outlets were now under AHA control, and the Anti-obesity Act strictly regulated the diet of all New-Americans. A wave of the AHA implant got you a week’s rations, according to your body mass index, and being caught with extra food meant a stay in close confinement for a month, first offense, A second offense meant an excruciating bout with a Narco-PainTrain injection, and a third offense meant total elimination. AHA did not fool around with Health Care scofflaws.
But Jerome Dreup knew how to survive off the land, and he could make a deadly weapon out of virtually anything. Even that oversight was under consideration by the AHA, who had a mind-wipe scanner in the final stages of development. In fact, as a 3.6 in final stages, he could very well be ‘volunteered’ to submit to a mind-wipe test, removing all memory and reducing his brain to that of a newborn child. It was an open secret that ex-military types like Jerome were considered a threat to The Leader.
He had not read the IRS Healthcare Administrator name-badge, but he had named her Betty-Beastly in his mind. She was approaching with a syringe full of ‘happy-drugs’, and a sub-q dispenser. The drugs available in the syringe were a six months supply of painless serenity, and would be slowly meted out by the sub-q. A direct injection however, would be fatal in seconds.
“Roll up your sleeve, Mister Dreup. Time for happy days.”
Jerome rolled up his sleeve, and as she bent to administer the sub-q, Jerome grabbed the syringe and jammed it into the meaty part of her shoulder.
‘If you want to live for another day lady, you’ll get me out of here and to the lobby. Do you understand?”
She nodded, and he could smell her fear. They stood and walked to the locked door.
“Just do the retina scan and the palm print like always. One stupid mistake on your part and I push the plunger. Just keep in mind that I have absolutely nothing to lose.”
The retina reader scanned her right eye, and the palm reader confirmed that the shaking hand was hers. The latch actuated and they stepped into an empty hallway. The elevator also accepted her identity, and then they were in the lobby. All that remained was the street door.
“I lied to you Betty. You'll sound the alarm, and I need time. Just your bad luck that I can't let that happen, because my country needs me. Have a happy-drugs finale on me.”
He pushed the plunger all at once and Betty-Beastly sagged to the floor, her eyes wide open and unseeing. Jerome pulled his hidden ceramic J-knife from the hem seam of his shirt, and bent over the dead woman for a moment, working swiftly and expertly. Then he walked to the street door, where he held up her severed right eye up to the retina scanner. The buzzer sounded, and he tossed the eye back into the lobby as he stepped out into the streets of New America, free for the moment.
- To be continued