written upon waking
30 or 40 years into the future. I am a cub reporter for a large newspaper, maybe the NYTimes or The Guardian, walking into a darkened overfilled, high-floor conference hall to await an announcement by the mayor. Entrance to the hall is a spiral ramp with no railings suspended over the commercial floor below. I have two older colleagues with me and we are met by a huge security goon and forced to sit in the last row of seats with him. We see more goons approaching from the spiral into the hall. They are all headed for us.
The head goon turns to us and says “If you publish your findings, we will take your Section Six Clearance badge,” then turns to me and says “since you’re the cause of all this, we’ll just take yours now.”
“He doesn’t have it here. It’s downstairs,” says one of my colleagues, a gruff Jimmy Breslin type in a porkpie hat. “Leave him alone.”
I am grabbed by the approaching goon and held in place. Tears start to well onto my lower eyelids. “What has be country become?” I ask. “Where has my country gone?”
At the New Jersey house in which I grew up, also in the future – maybe 15 years. It’s on ~5 acres of wooded property; not a lot of views of neighbors. Moonlight filtering through the trees. Rumbles from outside keep interrupting dinner preparation w/ my parents & my wife. I am waiting on friends to show up to join us.
“What’s going on?” I ask. “Is that noise outside Leila and Jonny getting here?”
“I don’t know. Go check on it,” my dad says, putting on an oven mitt and slapping it on the counter twice.
I step outside to find two US Postal Service flatbed towing trucks idling in the driveway. I knock on one of the windows and ask, “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting to get into our lot,” the driver says.
“But this is our house, our driveway. It’s private,” I say.
“We can wait anywhere we want,” he snaps back and rolls up his window. I look up to see that the flatbeds have multiplied. There are perhaps 6 or 8 now idling in the driveway. I go back in the house.
My friends Leila and Jonny have arrived. She is a small Asian woman and he is a tall, blonde Dane. Leila’s shirt has a hole in it and she points at mine. “You have it, too,” she says.
I look down to see that my shirt also has a hole in it.
“What does it mean?” I ask her.
“Why should it?” she asks.
I head upstairs to change my shirt, but all of a sudden, a deafening noise rumbles from outside. “Our dogs!” Leila shouts.
I run outside to find two Armored Personnel Carriers, emblazoned with Postal Service logos, tearing across the lawn and woods around the house, destroying everything in sight. They run over a gardening shed while the dogs run around and underneath them. One of the dogs comes over to me and I am joined outside by the others. My dad leans in to me and says, “That’s the dog that wouldn’t get in our car.”