Satire Fiction posted September 29, 2008


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The Future Is Now!!

Future Schlock

by TKField


A Peek IntoThe Crystal Ball
The future had arrived, with a vengeance. It was the worst of times, and it was the worst of times. In the year 2022 the United States of America changed it's name to the simpler and more to the point, The Federal Government. If you happened to be abroad, and someone asked where you were from, and you replied ",I'm from The Federal Government." Everyone would know that you hailed from the country formerly known as the USA.

It was the year The Federal Government finally ran out of parking spaces. There was simply no place left to park your car. Gas was $18 a gallon and the TFG was using more of it than ever; not just because there were so many more cars (there were), but because everyone had to keep driving around the block endlessly, hoping a place would open up. Of course, the people who had spaces weren't about to vacate them, not for less than four figures anyway. The tow truck industry was the nation's eighth most profitable business, with fees rising to $600 a tow. Most of their time was spent removing desperately double-parked cars to Federal Government Impound lots, where the offending vehicles were officially confiscated, to be auctioned off, or crushed for scrap at a later date. The scrap metal industry was the nation's seventh largest.

Show biz went on as it always had, with a few minor exceptions. Namely, the former stars of stage, screen and video were now digitalized. Their images transformed into virtually identical, computer generated, 3-D copies, who were fed specialized software that optimized acting potential for any given role. These virtual actors (or VAs), could be programmed to perform anything from Hamlet to Weekend at Bernie's 12, with equal dexterity. Every performance was Oscar worthy, because every performance was now perfect, and therefore, dull as dishwater. There was no longer any need for the flesh and blood versions to do any work in front of the camera. The VAs took care of all that acting jazz. Not only were they super competent actors, the VAs also worked round the clock without complaining, and never behaved like spoiled prima-donnas, who sulked in their trailers and got their panties in a bunch over some imagined slight. The only acting the actual human beings had to do, was to act like celebrities, which was what they did best.

The real life stars still interbred and split up to popular obsession as always. They still paraded down the red carpet in front of frenzied fans and paparazzi, wore high end designer threads to endless rounds of back slapping award ceremonies, gave each other worthless trophies, which they clutched to their chests, and tearfully thanked everyone in the cosmos for the well deserved success of the electronically cloned avatars who had replaced them.

The problem was, the actual people behind the images continued to age. Despite the obsessive use of plastic surgery, raw food diets, personal trainers, self help gurus, black magic, and the best chemicals money could buy, they got old. While the mortals wrinkled, sagged, went to fat, lost their hair and sometimes their minds, the digital copies went on, Dorian Gray like, at the very summit of youth and sex appeal. Sometimes, a digitally generated star's image declined in popularity, or just wasn't putting enough asses in the seats, and had to be retired. Typically, they were killed off in virtual car wrecks, or given a virtual drug overdose, to boost interest in their final projects. This practice came to be known as the James Dean and the Marilyn Monroe endings, respectively. No one bothered to write movies anymore, as they were all superhero flicks that wrote themselves, or remakes of previous, better films.

It was much the same in the music business. Ninety five percent of all popular songs were conceived and produced by computer programs. Most of it bouncy, disposable dance tunes, designed to appeal to adolescent females. The freshly scrubbed members of the various boy and girl bands were not required to do much beyond showing up at concerts, where they jumped about in a hyperactive fashion, and lip-synced to pre-recorded soundtracks, in front of delirious swarms of screaming fifteen year-olds. As one generic band dethroned the one before it, they periodically staged public meltdowns and checked themselves into rehab, just to keep their names in the countless tabloids and entertainment news shows, which was to say, all news shows by this time.

After the third great depression of 2017, in order to remain solvent, The Federal Government officially merged with the Behemoth Corporation, (a holding company headquartered in Belgium). From this point on, all government communications, including the nation's road signs, were provided in English, Spanish, and Flemish.

Depression or not, the rich continued to get fabulously richer and the poor carried on being dirt poor. Only now, the poor consisted of everyone who wasn't stinking rich. The middle class had pretty much ceased to exist. As the haves, and the have-nots drifted further apart, the wealthy grew a bit wary of the lower orders. Being solidly grounded in a liberal arts education, they were well aware of the implications for the aristocracy inherent in the excesses of the French Revolution, and the burning envy everyone without a luxury yacht felt toward those who possessed said vessels.

The super well-to-do, reacted by banding together in gated communities, whose intimidating checkpoints rivaled anything that separated East and West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. Ex Delta-Force members, ready for lethal violence at a moment's notice, manned the entrances. The reinforced concrete walls that surrounded these stately pleasure domes, were twenty meters high and topped with electrified razor wire. Heavily fortified guard towers existed, not to keep people in, but to keep the ever multiplying mobs of the wrong people out. Within these fortresses, were self contained communities, whose well heeled denizens enjoyed a level of luxury and indulgence not seen since the heyday of the Roman Empire. There were beautifully landscaped parks, gardens full of animal shaped shrubbery and charming gazebos overlooking Koi-ponds with baroque fountains. Every view was a great view.

These gated communities, or GCs, contained expensive shopping malls, pro-level golf courses, deluxe polo facilities, and that was just for the kids. The grown-ups were worse still. They had heated toilet seats, extra, extra virgin olive oil, liked to play chess with human pieces, and insisted on being carried around in custom-made palanquins. Squads of servants attended their every whim, which meant they did all the work, while the privileged overlords of the realm mainly hung out by the pools of their mega-mansions, steaming lobsters, and swilling Dom-Perignon by the case. They were so decadent, even their orgies were catered.

The GCs became semi autonomous city-states, who devised their own forms of government (Parliamentary Dictatorships were popular), and ruled themselves with little outside interference. However, an intervention by the New York National Guard was required in 2015, when a GC on Long Island instituted a Divine Monarchy, and the royal family began throwing their neighbors into the Tower (actually the girl's gym at the high school), and started to torture and behead them when they wouldn't confess to being in league with Papists.

The food supply to the GCs was provided by huge industrial prison farms. These massive agricultural projects were staffed by convict labor, most of them victims of the newly passed Extra Man Act. It was determined there were a lot of spare males sitting around, with no real purpose in life, and nothing to do but get into mischief. Henceforth, anyone deemed an EM, or Extra Male, was put to work at various Federal Government Corrective Work Camps scattered throughout the Midwest. Every month, heavily guarded convoys of food trucks traveled from the farms to the gated communities. These convoys were often the targets of road pirates who made their living selling stolen goods on the black market, which was to say, all markets by this time.

Outside the razor topped walls of the rich, existence was hand to mouth, with the great hordes of destitute rabble left mostly to their own devices. Get rich quick seminars and crazy religions were big business. The economy was based primarily on barter, gambling, and methamphetamine-labs. Everyone was armed to the teeth with the latest personal artillery, and not at all afraid to use it. On the barren moonscapes that surrounded the GCs, scavengers and peasants picked through the garbage of the rich. Often, they lived in the garbage of the rich, as most homes were constructed from the discarded cardboard boxes of high dollar flat screen televisions and durable goods.

Occasionally, the mobs grew frustrated and attempted to overrun the GCs, to get at all the goodies within. In one case, an army of the great unwashed laid siege to a large city-state called West Greenwich and prevented food supplies from entering. The siege lasted three months, and before Federal Government Troops lifted it, the starving citizens of West Greenwich were forced to consume all their foie gras, Beluga caviar, and Llasa-Apsos.

Despite the depressed status of The Federal Government, the huddled throngs of the rest of the planet still clamored to emigrate, and countless others continued to come illegally. It seemed no matter how squalid and trashed out the country formerly known as America got, it was still better than the poorest hellholes of the Third World, where conditions were so pathetically bad, they were officially demoted to the Fourth World.

Many novel ideas were proposed to alleviate the immigration conundrum, and all of them failed. Finally, a unique solution presented itself, that combined the country's love for history, gambling, and sports, with its love for war and violence into one mammoth event. Applicants were formed into armies, decked out in period uniforms, and made to take part in reenactments of the great battles of the U.S. Civil War. The twist was, they used real guns and live ammo. The winning side and their extended families gained immediate citizenship. Large viewing stands were erected and tickets sold for big bucks. Of course, betting was the main point of these so called battles, which, like the carnage, was heavy.

One memorable match took place in 2019, when a Confederate force made up of Filipinos, turned the flank of a Union army of Mexicans, and pushed them off Cemetery Ridge on the second day of a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, which reversed the traditional outcome, and created an enormous windfall for a Russian organized crime syndicate, who fixed the battle by buying off the Mexican/Union troops defending Little Round Top. Everyone had a wonderful time except the fifteen hundred dead, wounded and missing on both sides. A public outcry followed the particularly gruesome results of the second Battle of Antietam, which, (like the first one) ended in a bloody draw between a Confederate force of Mandarin Chinese, and a Union army of Ethiopians and Somalis. Casualties were so appalling, the immigration wars were discontinued, even though it was pointed out that all the combatants had been volunteers.

The other big headaches of the 21st century lent themselves to some unusual solutions. International terrorism, and organized crime were simply co-opted, that is, turned into publicly traded corporations, listed on the stock exchanges of the world. You could buy shares of Hezbollah or the Jamaican mob, as well as marijuana and heroin futures on the commodities market. In 2018, Shares of Al Qaeda went for two hundred dollars, and every time they blew up a car bomb or beheaded someone on the internet, the stock went up, and all the shareholders were happy. People invested in everything from Nigerian internet cons, to exotic reptile smuggling cabals, to Asian sex slavery rings.

It was about this time that members of congress did away with all pretense and started charging for their services outright. Bribery became a contest to see who could do it the best. Formerly known as lobbyists, the number of professional bribers mushroomed, mainly because advanced bribery degrees were available online for a few hundred dollars. Crime was finally legit.

The field of psychotherapy experienced an unusual rise and fall during this period, when the medical and drug  industries merged. After the huge success of Attention Deficit Disorder and the resulting gold mine selling the drugs to treat it, doctors came up with ever newer disorders, that required newer drugs to alleviate. Among them; IMD, or Inability to Merge Disorder, (described people who had trouble getting onto freeways), and CSTOCPD, or Can't Stop Talking On Cell Phone Disorder, (described people who had trouble talking to anyone not on the other end of a mobile phone). There was Bullfight-o-phobia (the fear of bullfighting), and Valet-itis (the irrational dread of valet car parkers). There were so many disorders and phobias, it was determined that nearly every man, woman and child in the country suffered from one debilitating condition or another, and thus needed a lifetime of highly profitable medication.

Just as they were poised to cash in on the mind repair boom, the ceiling caved in. A large shipment of tainted Blitzonomine, a Chinese made drug for the treatment of CCD, or Can't Coordinate Disorder (described people who wore stripes with plaid), killed three hundred of the poorly dressed, touched off a panic that halted the use of all psycho-tropic products, and caused the entire medical/chemical establishment to collapse. Forthwith, the nation's mental health needs were turned over to the Church of Scientology, which drove people nuts the old fashioned way, with whacked-out religious dogma, instead of prescription drugs.

Sex in the future was strictly pay as you go, even within marriage. Wives charged by the hour and levied a hefty penalty for early withdrawal. People were so lazy, they sometimes hired a prostitute, and then hired someone else to have sex with the prostitute. The general attitude was, why bother? Since the advent of erectile dysfunction drugs, people could have sex anytime they wanted, and consequently, almost never had it. Couples were so busy scraping by, they often forgot to copulate for months on end. At this point, all relationships were arranged by E.Harmony.com, which also owned E.Divorce.com.

Sex so pervaded every form of media and advertising, it became routine and boring, though there were some intriguing attempts to inject a little zing back into the awkward act. A popular fad for men, was to have their privates surgically removed and re-attached to their foreheads. Certainly, it spiced up a few dates, but when people started using them for coat racks, the fad died out.

These were but a few of the many delights and disasters experienced in the future. Maybe it wasn't the best of all possible worlds, but it was the loudest. The inmates ran the asylum, and perdition rained down on the traumatized, shell shocked citizens of the planet, which was to say, all citizens by this time.


Recognized


I wanted to make this satire as wild and imaginative as possible. It's sort of a brief history of the future, done strictly for laughs. I didn't mean for it to be this long, but after I got going, I couldn't seem to quit. Thanks for sticking with it.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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© Copyright 2017. TKField All rights reserved.
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