A Tale of Numbers

Before I begin with today’s creative story, you may view the photo credits used for today’s blog post anywhere on this sentence. Thank you!

***

“Hi, my number is 1,243,801. What’s your number, and how can I help you today?”

“Mine is 2,001,314, and I would like to credit some gasoline to my automobile.”

The sound of rushing gale winds could be heard outside the isolated gas station as the road was empty of any other sign of life.

It was an ordinary day for number 1,243,801. He was working alone (as usual) and was left to operate the gas station for the next eight hours.

Economic times had become rather tough on the nation, and people hardly ventured outside anymore. This was a nation run on the wealthy alone, with no voice for the working people.

In fact, long ago, during ancient times, there had been something called democracy. It was a rather strange and fickle concept, but nobody in this current world knew anything about democracy.

How is that possible? You may ask yourself as the reader.

Simply put, education was strictly for the wealthy class alone.

Honestly, this was a good thing, though. Because both natural and manufactured resources were severely depleted in the world.

Keeping the lower-class people working hard would be a good thing. Because then they would never have any energy or time left over to question their lot in life.

This kind of tactic ensured only the most hardworking, fortunate, or lucky received the best lifestyle possible. But, of course, the truth of the situation was somewhat darker. Yet, nobody would ever know of the sinister lies this nation’s ruling class had conjured up to keep the masses ignorant of the truth.

Also neglecting the fact that many poor people were intelligent beings who (under fairer circumstances) could be just as hardworking, if not even more so. This is what the ruling class feared the most. They didn’t want too many hardworking people to overthrow them from their powerful positions. They needed just the right amount of hardworking individuals to keep this nation running at optimal levels.

But that kind of truth was neither critical nor relevant in the current reality.

No, the man named number 1,243,801 was busy completing the transaction for the woman named 2,001,314. As she had stated, she needed to fill up her rusty but trusty little automobile to go to her third shift at a small clinic about 30 minutes down the road.

“Can I please have $225.00 credit on gasoline pump 3?”

As number 1,243,801 used the touch screen device in front of him to dial in the request, he could hear something strange from where number 2,001,314 had been standing.

As he finished the transaction and glanced up, he was a bit taken aback. Number 2,001,314 had collapsed onto the floor.

Not having been faced with such an out-of-the-ordinary situation like this, number 1,243,801 hurriedly leaped over the counter and knelt down to the exasperated being.

“Excuse me? Number 2,001,314; respond with clear words if you can hear me.”

No response.

Number 1,243,801 began to panic. He wasn’t accustomed to emotions, so when he felt anything inside of his soul, he trembled with sharp uneasiness.

“Number 2,001,314; respond with clear words if you can hear me.”

Still not seeing, or hearing, any responsive movement, number 1,243,801 slowly stood up and looked around the gas station.

He felt alone for the first time ever. As ironic as that may have sounded since he worked alone in a desolate area, number 1,243,801 felt truly alone like never before.

But as he slowly gazed around the gas station, he observed everything inside to make him feel less alone.

The small gas station was surprisingly filled with a wide variety of assortments. There was no shortage of valuable items, from everyday snacks that smelled of beautifully manufactured goods to hydrating drinks rich in protein and sedatives. Even small medicinal nano-capsules to help wane the inconveniences of human sickness the gas station didn’t supply to the right customer.

That was it! As number 1,243,801 pondered on this thought, he realized he could see if there was some medicine he could use to save this poor number from her fainting spell.

Quickly rushing over to aisle 5, number 1,243,801 guided his eyes with his index finger as he scanned the aisle of medicine. He was somewhat familiar with aisle 5, being that not many customers had enough credit to purchase such expensive goods.

So as number 1,243,801’s eyes and index finger found what he was looking for to wake up the poor number – a deep feeling of fear grasped at his heart. He realized something deplorable, indeed.

You see, what number 1,243,801 knew, which everyone else in the wide world knew, was that opening or stealing any items without first purchasing them was grounds for termination.

Termination? Yes, a death sentence followed with a quick injection of lethal serum from one of the millions of flying drones monitoring from above to the people below.

Quickly looking for his hand with the inserted money chip, number 1,243,801 checked his credit account to see how much credit he had left to his number.

Shaking just ever so slightly, number 1,243,801’s heart dropped as he saw he only had $576.31 credit to his number.

Glancing back with still trembling hands, number 1,243,801 saw the translucent price tag on the small medicine box. It read $600.00 credit.

As he let his mind race with all of the endless possibilities that he was faced with at the moment, he felt nearly paralyzed with fear.

You see, this society had crippled not only its women, but it had crippled its men as well.

No person alive in the world could escape the cruel indoctrination of “maiming.”

Maiming was a rather cold and calculating way of ensuring the population stopped growing so disproportionately large.

But, of course, there were always those who had managed to escape the process of maiming.

Would saving this relatively unknown number 2,001,314 be enough for number 1,243,801 to risk his own life?

The tale of this number would be for another time, altogether…

Forever in Your Debt,

Leon R.M. Auguste

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