As a fledgeling teenager, I dreamt of being a rebel. But between the rigid Presbyterian church we attended every Sunday and a father not afraid to wield his thick leather belt, I learned to conform.
Now, as a law-abiding, middle-aged man I pay my taxes. I don’t drink or smoke and have never taken drugs or cheated on my wife. Rules and regulations; bylaws and petty bureaucracy were made for people like me.
Hence my present dilemma. The arrow tells me to drive one way. So I do.
And I wonder if I will ever break free of this roundabout?
“Everything is in place, Sir. The rings were dropped into the sky a week ago and don’t appear to have caused any concerns amongst the populace. As we expected, they have convinced themselves they are in some way connected to their strange celebration of Christmas.”
“Excellent. Are we ready for the next phase?”
“The rings are activated, Sir. Once you give the order we will begin beaming selected humans onboard.”
“Start the process, Jones. And remember, the Intergalactic Zoo are only interested in young, healthy specimens. Jettison any that don’t meet the necessary criteria.”
The drone hovered silently above the deserted playground. Alert. Waiting. Watching.
Its handler, tucked deep inside a military bunker many miles away, panicked. Drone X3Z4S1 had gone rogue. Despite all the fail-safe procedures they had in place the thing was steadfastly refusing to respond. All they could do was monitor its progress on their screens and pray.
There was a movement from the far corner of the playground. Two young lovers, hand in hand, were strolling towards their favourite secluded park bench, unaware they were being watched.
The drone’s weapons system locked onto the target and then fired.
Is it dangerous Doc? It’s just he means so much to me I couldn’t bear it if I were to lose him.”
“He’s in the best place. He’s still young and in reasonably good condition, so I’m optimistic. You must remember though, nothing is guaranteed. There could be complications. We just have to hope we can find a match.”
I watched in dread as the doctor carefully opened up Tommy’s front and removed the defective battery. Then he searched through a large jar on the window looking for a replacement. I prayed to God he would find one that worked.