I think it seems a little too good to be true. I mean, everyone’s got a car, people dress in all different clothes, people stay out late – way past curfew. Nobody’s scared of anything. Yesterday I saw a girl kiss a boy outside a coffee shop, on the street, in front of everyone. If this were my time she would have gotten a citation for indecency. One too many of those and the FBR would have her flagged as an Article Violator, and then she would have ended up in the reformatory or worse.
2012 is nice, but I wouldn’t get used to it if I were you. Things were nice when I was little too, and then everything changed.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen here so far? Why?
Well, that kiss I mentioned before was pretty strange. But now that you bring it up, all the cell phones are really creeping me out. Even little kids have them! And people are talking on them ALL THE TIME. Don’t you worry about the government tracking you? Listening to what you’re saying? Chase would completely freak out if he saw all this – he’s even more paranoid than me about that kind of stuff.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen here? Why?
Where are all the soup kitchens? How do you people eat? When Chase and I were little our moms went to the grocery store, but that was back when everyone had money. Do people do that now? Where I’m from every neighborhood has a soup kitchen. Ours is set up just down the street at the elementary school. The FBR brings us the food. If we’re compliant. We all know that if we screw up they could shut it down…
What are the things in the present (our time) and in your time that are the same?
We still have lots of the same things you do, just most of them are contraband. Lots of music and books are contraband. Makeup is considered indecent. My mom once got fined fifty bucks for possession of “lewd materials” – an old, pre-War fashion magazine (there was a lady in a swimsuit on the front). Most things that aren’t contraband people can’t afford. We haven’t had a TV or a car for years. And our power shuts off at curfew.
If you had a chance to choose between living in our time and in yours, which one would you choose? Why?
Yours of course! I would give anything to live in a world where there was no such thing as the Moral Statutes. Mom would never get in trouble. We’d never be arrested. Chase wouldn’t be drafted, and well, things might be different with us. Like they used to be.
If you were living in our time, could you still imagine this world turning out to be your world? Why?
I hate to break it to you, but this was just how things were when I was little. And then came the War, and then came the Moral Statutes and the Federal Bureau of Reformation, and everything went downhill from there. It’s just a matter of time. If I were you, I’d consider going into hiding now. It’ll save you a lot of trouble later, I promise.
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Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband, Jason, and their precious greyhound, Rudy, in Louisville, Kentucky. Article 5 is her first novel.
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