Gerard was sick. As sick as he had ever remembered being. But he had to hide it. His boss couldn’t know. And even more importantly, they couldn’t.
Who were they? They enforced the law. It was illegal to be sick and Gerard was damn near guilty.
Once word got out it was over for him. The black insurance truck would come and take him away before he became a risk to the system. People couldn’t be expected to pay more for his failure to stay healthy. Gerard was a leech, a parasite, an impending virus to good companies that simply wanted to make jobs. And nothing else.
He felt shame for allowing his body to become such a socialist utopia but he wanted to live. It is all my fault, he thought. But Gerard knew if he survived he could start a business and make the world more capitalist. He would do anything, deny workers the most basic rights to appease the lords in Washington. If they just let him live. They would not, though.
The news told of a protestor the other night, pleading for his life in front of the Speaker. The Great Speaker would not be bothered, however, and simply struck him down with the large staff he carried everywhere. It was pure gold with a large, ornate ruby on the top. The news later praised his courage in facing down the progressive menace.
That was Gerard’s fate; being taken by them, or dying at the hands of the speaker himself. His complexion had already become so pale you’d think him deathly if you saw him. He coughed and sneezed and wheezed and hacked….
Maybe it was just the flu. It didn’t matter. People were taken by them for far less. If lazy, freeloading Gerard showed weakness, they would lock him up and start the gas. It was for the greater good, the greatest good.
Low profits were the worst plague imaginable. Locusts, falling skies, did not compare. It stopped the flow of capital, endangered jobs, and hurt the economic outlook. One man’s life was not worth the damage that would cause. Gerard knew it himself, as the companies and the Great Speaker did.
Loudspeakers in the town square encouraged the sick and potential burdens to society to take their own lives. Gerard had thought it over. He knew he wanted to live. If he compromised his conservative credentials, however, there was no turning back. He might say he’d start a business and deny workers time-off and bathroom breaks, but it was a slippery slope. If he lived and became a burden on the system for even one minute, he’d end up giving workers healthcare and God forbid, allow a union. It had to end.
Gerard opened up a velvet case, containing his gun. It was mandatory for every citizen to have.
He pointed it inside his mouth. Sensors inside the barrel began ticking to determine he was not killing a CEO or public leader.
“Suicide approved,” it said before firing the bullet into his brain. “Scum neutralized.”