Sunday, 18 September 2011

16) The Mag retired

    “The Mag” is Home.
    Home is a ten by twenty cell with pink walls and a surprisingly comfortable bed. He’s celebrating his 55th birthday by staying home and reading his favorite book, ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ He likes the book even though the main character has a super power he doesn’t have any control over it. The poor guy is just yanked around.
    In his youth The Mag used to fight crime. Then as his early 30’s turned into his late 30’s out of the blue he was framed for counterfeiting.
    The prosecution had argued that with his super-vision he was the only one who had the skills necessary get the exact secret details on the new hundred dollar bill. And since he and the rest of the Super-Five had had a tour of the newly built White House the month previous he had also had the perfect opportunity to see a new hundred in person, proudly on display, in time to help manufacture the counterfeits.
    It hadn’t helped to argue that it took several seconds of concentration to get his super vision to work at the magnification necessary by that time someone would have noticed him staring at the bill. It hadn’t helped either to mention that he already had plenty of money from toy residuals.
    But The Mag tried not to dwell on the past, only enjoy the present, what little he had left of it locked up in his minimum security prison. He had food, shelter, an internet connection, air conditioning, what else was there? Sex. He was gay, so there was plenty of action when the lights were out. Life was pretty sweet, when he let it be, when he didn’t fight.
    Suddenly he heard the treat trolley coming down the hallway and his heart skipped a beat. What’s on today, he thought, fruit, puzzles, chocolate? To keep the inmates docile a ‘treat cart’ was regularly but randomly paraded down the hallways and good little inmates got their pick of its contents. If they were bad they were passed on by.
    The Mag tried to keep reading his book, but the story wouldn’t stick as he heard the trolly stop and start down the hallway. Then he saw the trolley’s shadow, and tried to not act like an excited kid. He looked up calmly from his book and said, “Hey Thomson, what’s news?”
    “Got sumtin special for yah.” The guard said and tossed a shiny red apple through the bars for him.
    He shined it on his shirt then something on the stem caught his eye, a small light smudge. And before he could stop himself he looked down and into the smudge. It wasn’t a smudge, it was several pages of micro fiche sized text.
    He scanned it, something about ‘The Knights of New Chaos’. The name meant nothing to him. He could never keep up with the proliferation of supers and their soap operas even when he was in the game.
    The text read like a high schooler’s manifesto, large on hyperbole, low on reality and facts. The Knights wanted freedom for Native Terrans and equal rights for uplifted dogs. He saw an offer for freedom at one of their safe houses on the moon and good karma and bullshit.
    His stomach went sour. He tossed the apple into his waste bin and went back to his book.

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