As we settled into our life together, we drew closer. It had been an amazing two weeks of pure paradise. Sure, we had our disagreements, but who doesn’t? She never stayed mad and I never got angry. We could talk everything out. And I do not mean just the little things. I mean the whole enchilada.
She busied herself at sculpting and painting, when she wasn’t running her gallery, while I was at work. Neither of us brought work home with us. I found this change a welcome one. It freed me up to be with her. And, it stopped all the worry.
Although I dealt in preserving those things that the system now considered deviant, and tried my best to rescue every piece of our country’s literary and film and television history, I knew that I could never feasibly save it all. But there were others like me who had dedicated themselves to such preservation, and what I could not save, they did. We were a network of preservationists, but we were accused of sedition. But we were never open with our rebellion, or ever threatened to revolt. All we did was try to preserve the past.
Owning books, unless they were approved by the corporate leadership, was strictly forbidden. Unless you were a corporation. Magazines, which I had secreted into a vault beneath my own corporation, were even more illegal. Even the corporations were banned from having any.
Of course, most no longer knew how to read. This was the result of over ‘reformation’ of education until there were more tests to be taken than there was actual time to teach. Once it reached oversaturation, many corporation preferred the plug and play method of training where the ‘student’ was literally plugged into a computer source where they were programmed according to the corporation’s needs. This meant that they were less human once they were extracted than they had been when they went in.
Management no longer needed emotion. And often, the individual was completely destroyed by the process and a cyborg version of them was released upon the unknowing populace until it went berserk. By then, it was too late. And yet, they still could not bring themselves to admit that they had done the wrong by closing the public education system down. No, they ‘just had to fix a bug’, like it was the computer’s fault. Not theirs.
And the masses accept whatever the corporations tell them now. There are few paying jobs. most of the illiterate, untaught populace are now little more than slave labor. They live in corporate housing, go to work like good little worker bees, eat, sleep and live the corporate agenda.
I had been born near the end of the life of public education. I had been one of the few who graduated and went on to boot camp at the end of the summer. Very shortly afterward, the school I went to was replaced with a charter. The charter only lasted a few years, then was closed at the command of a local corporation in favor of the ‘plug-n-play’ method…which was only open to a select few. Quite a few less than the charter.
I watched as everything went south. Corporations did away with the minimum wage. As the wage lessened, so did the ability of the average citizen to buy entertainment items. Or even read. The colleges folded. No one could afford tuition. Post offices closed.
Libraries closed. Movie houses closed. Book stores. Television stations. Radio stations.
Our corporate leaders began banning everything. And I begun to salvage what I could. I also got a handful of people interested in doing the same. Pockets of my colleagues bought up the Art. Paintings. Sculptures. Artifacts. Pottery. Comic books. Pop art.
I bought up all the films and television shows from centuries of both. And books. But I couldn’t save them all. And I did it all with my military pension and what I inherited from my father. And my mother.
When I had it all safely hidden away, I opened my company. It would serve as a fantastic front for my secret rebellion. The library would only be open to those who could still read and had secretly taught their children to read. In this way, we could begin to build a deep resistance to the powers that be. I was building a revolution.
And into this, I was bringing Margot. And she was a willing participant. She had found a place where she could creatively express herself. She even threw herself into what I was doing. I had found one of a kind.
She was the one who came up with the idea to actually begin finding a way to arm our revolutionaries. “It’s war, Dan,” she would always say. And she was right. It was war.
I had just been too blind to see it. I called a meeting of the board. I knew they would all support the secret move. An army of our own. Just to begin restoring sanity to an insane country and world.
I waited for them to get seated. “Greetings. It has been brought to my attention that our little act of rebellion has been nothing short of a declaration of war against our oppressors. Would you agree with this?”
Marx was first. “Yes. When we began this project, we were merely trying to preserve the past. But we might draw undue attention. Then What?”
Simi nodded, her blond curls bouncing with every jerk. “I agree. We formed this company to serve the people. And we have. Now, we must go farther.”
I opened the door to let Margot in. “Here is the source of the new information. I will let her explain what she has planned.”
Margot commanded the room as if she had been born to be there. “We need to make contacts, very discretely, within the arms corporations. Presumably one with the most to gain if things returned to the old ways. With public education and the old systems. We,then, need to start finding workers who are discontent with the lack of a wage. One by one, we will pull them in. Train them. Educate them. Then send them out back into the workforce, fully armed and ready to wreak havoc.”
Marx was definitely in agreement. “But who do we get to train these recruits?”
I stepped forward. “That is where I come in. I have a network of veteran-friends who are chomping at the bit to train. Since corporatization, they have been considered obsolete. And some of them might be able to pull in, secretly, a few corporate soldiers who are disillusioned with how things are in their respective corporations.”
Simi looked at me. “When do we start?”
Margot smiled. “Immediately.”