Morning In America
The alarm wails. I should get up and go for a run. To hell with it. Another 20 minutes won't hurt anything.
"Either get up or sleep another hour, but either way, turn off the alarm."
Almost two miles out, I'm moving past the old state pen. There are guards posted in every other tower. Hard to believe that ghost town was filled above capacity less than a year ago. I heard a couple of the death row guys even ended up going Mecho. I don't doubt it.
I should've done a better job of hydrating before the run.
Sara has the radio on as she prepares for work. Pretty much every defense contractor I've ever heard of (and a handful of new ones) are running job ads. I guess it's a welcome change from all the government make-work shit that was prevalent for the better part of the last 10 years. Huzzah for the military-industrial complex.
End shower. Goddamn water rationing.
Breakfast with the family. At the table, Cedric is reading a tattered copy of Heinlen's "Starship Troopers," which recently replaced "Catcher In The Rye" in the 8th grade required reading curriculum. Sara feeds Lia, our two-year-old.
It's Sadiq's week to drive our carpool. He's right on time, as always, and has already picked up Dave and Christine. If gas prices hit $8, we'll probably bite the bullet and add Jim and Ramana to the pool, even though it'll mean an extra hour of driving to the day.
"Give peace a chance!"
"Stop the war!"
"Mechos are humans, too!"
Protestors picketing the front office entryway. I don't know whether I should be comforted or annoyed that people can still find a way to be stupid and unproductive in this country.
I've spent the better part of the last hour and a half reading emails sent to and from IP addresses traced to China Town. Grocery lists, used car inquiries, a thread of complaints about what may have been an unjust job termination, and various and sundry notes exchanged between cheating spouses. Nothing out of the ordinary, so far. Still, enough messages remain to last through to noon. The phone logs will have to wait until after lunch.
Time for a break. I grab a cup of standard issue (and piss-poor) office coffee and head out to the smoke pit to chat up the co-workers.
"So, last night, I caught the kid downloading some of that Mecho thrash shit."
"For real? You mean to tell me that's an actual genre?"
"Seriously. It's pretty much the romanticized shit you'd expect, set to screaming and synthesizers. I'm pretty sure I heard references to gladiators, blood, and yellow flesh. Pretty sick stuff."
"I guess that's what passes for hardcore these days. Pretty funny when you consider that these sellout musicians would shit themselves silly if they were around real Mechoes."
Rest of the email logs don't turn up much more than a 38-year-old Chinese male looking to buy ammo. He doesn't have a list of priors, but protocol demands that I flag him. So I do.
Call from Sara.
"Cedric's been suspended."
"You've got to be kidding me. What for?"
"Evidently, he got in a fight during gym class. Some idiot kid called Lia a chink, and I guess he lost it."
"Wonderful. Did he win the fight, at least?"
"Our son has been suspended, and that's all you think to ask?"
"Well, did he?"
Time to grab some lunch.
© 2009 Nate Hoppe