"THE CULL by Enn Kae
He took the late bus home. Work was horrendous. He had been doing the same job for 5 years, taking calls and processing orders, before he was laid off. It took him another year to find a job, which drove him to near insanity. His Masters Degree afforded him very little as all the better paid jobs had been taken by the Pro-gens. Successive governments had invested heavily into human genetic research and, like millions of others, he was now left behind.
The first generation of genetically altered humans were in the job market now; earning the highest salaries and breeding future generations. Pro-gens would only mate with Pro-gens. They were inherently attracted to each other: a process that was engendered by their natural (albeit enhanced) sense of another’s pheromones. He remembered watching an interview with a teenage Pro-gen who likened the smell of Re-gens to rotten eggs; decaying flesh. Pro-gens were the impeccable breed and that boy on the screen was of the first of their generation and perfect in every possible way; perfectly designed to rule the world.
He took the bus a few stops away from work. It allowed him the opportunity to visit the store for his groceries on the way home. The store was a new outlet for Proco - it’s owner had started a small chain when he was just 16 and now, a couple of years later, his company dominated every street and every shopping mall. The Pro-gen Alliance - an organisation set up to protect the interests of the one per cent Pro-gens, amidst a tide of growing resentment - exclaimed that Proco’s success was testimony to the superiority of genetically enhanced humans.
They also claimed that a Pro-gen scientist was on the cusp of solving the riddle of cancer. Very few Re-gens reacted negatively to the benefits yielded by the presence of their counterparts. Africa had been saved by a feat in medicine: Aids had been eradicated at a time when seventy-five per cent of Africans were dying from the disease. He followed the street down the brightly lit pavement and turned right at the first corner.
The Proco store was expansive and surrounded with starch white light. Inside, the store could easily be mistaken for a laboratory. Re-gens complained that they didn’t feel welcome on account of the fact that Pro-gens were the only ones able to open accounts at the store: the criteria for obtaining credit was exclusively stringent as only those earning more than £100, 000 a year were eligible. Subsequently, they were processed quickly at the checkouts - a thumbprint was all that was required for them to pay for their groceries. The Re-gens protested heavily against this practice, the remnants of which were visible outside. Since most of them only earned a thousand a month, there wasn’t the remote possibility that Re-gens would thumb a print at the checkouts any time soon.
A group of fifteen were holding placards outside the store. The government permitted only silent protests since passing the Silent Protest Act of 2034. The public were only permitted to protest with placards, in silence, and dissent was heavily sanctioned with varying hours of Society Service: which mostly consisted of cleaning the streets or the homes of Pro-gens.
He walked over to the freezer and purchased a packet for Friday’s meal. Proco sold all its food in a selection of packages: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each daily meal was available in several formats: breakfast, elevenses, lunch, dinner and supper. The Pro-gens only ate to survive as every aspect of their being was constructed on practicality and efficiency: no aspect of their life gave way to the pleasure principle. He served himself and tabbed himself out with the token that the machine dispensed in order to leave the store.
The limit in choice was something that took a lot of adjustment as ‘choice’ was now taboo. It was generally accepted that ‘choice’ led to desire and desire led to consumption and consumption led to competition, which led to conflict. By limiting ‘choice’, there was greater control and greater control would save humankind. Few could disagree. World-wide rationing had come into effect after the Food and Water Wars of 2018 and 2020. Each lasted a couple of months and affected millions across the globe.
An international agreement had been chartered to control the types of food that were grown and distributed. Many opted to grow their own food and only sell in local markets. They called it the New Season and all food that was eaten since 2020 was more or less seasonal. People had forgotten what it was like to eat a melon in the middle of winter; that was now the subject of folklore. He grabbed enough for the weekend: his only consolation was that the meals changed every week. The last time he had beef was just after spring and beef was once again on the menu (courtesy of Proco) in that weekend in October, 2036.”
Excerpt from The Cull, to be published by Smashwords.com on the 21st December 2012.
Copyright 2012 Enn Kae
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