FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Meet the Parkers

Six terrorist attacks in Manhattan in one month changed everything.

At first, tourists were allowed entry. They felt safe. All attractions were guarded by the military. Humans and robots.

Before the terror attacks, Jane and John Parker, who’d never lived anywhere but Manhattan, went to Washington Square Park every Saturday. Then a terrorist boarded a bus near Times Square, exploding himself and the passengers a few seconds after he’d driven into a crowd.

People weren’t out in the world anymore. Out in the world was what the Parkers first called it. Then life was divided into BEFORE and AFTER.

A couple of times, early morning, they’d taken the stairs down to the lobby of their building. This was before martial law was declared. Still, they felt like subversives. Walking the sidewalks that once seemed to vibrate with energy, they saw mostly emptiness.

Soon, parents were instructed to homeschool. Textbooks were delivered by robots.
The Parkers’ only child was grown, had left the city for a quieter life. Funny, the Parkers had discussed a quieter life for years, seriously when Jane was pregnant, but they couldn’t leave. They loved Manhattan.
Now, they looked out a window, down at streets once swelling with diversity. They joked about it. About all those discussions they’d had about a quieter life. Because of terrorism, a quiet life was imposed.
“I’m ordering the usual from Fresh Direct. Can you think of anything you want?”

“Um, mixed nuts.”

“Wonder how that woman who worked at Food Emporium is doing. Remember, she said the government was spying on her. Wonder if she went off the grid.”

“Shh,” John said. Wondering could be a red flag. That woman had been right.

They talked about their friends but then realized they could socialize in person only with residents of their building. Occasionally they kept in touch with long-time friends the same way they did with their son: Skyping and Facetime.

People with school-age children received a guaranteed income, deposited into their bank account only if they taught their children a standardized education, mandated by The State. Who’d want their children out in the world anyway when some terrorist might blow up a block? Who’d want their children out in the world when they might get caught in terrorist/robot crossfire?

People without children and those, like the Parkers, whose children left prior to BEFORE still received a guaranteed income. Guaranteed if certain requirements were met. Everyone had to re-pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to obedience. Mass surveillance unquestioned. No citizen analysis of the Terror War.

An older couple in their co-op rebelled. They said the wars were crimes against humanity, was a catastrophic failure, that the cycle of violence had to be broken. They called the U.S. government a terrorist organization. Retrieving a Bush-ism, they taunted, “If we are fighting ‘em over there so we don’t have to fight ‘em over here, then why ARE they here?”

One morning when the Parkers opened their computers, an image of the couple appeared above the word “Traitors”.

After this, the Parkers never failed to end Skype and Facetime calls with, “God Bless the United States of America.”

The Parkers are fine with their life inside AFTER. They love their freedom to order whatever they want to eat, like mixed nuts, to Skype and Facetime with their friends and son. They’re eager to have grandchildren. They can Skype and Facetime to see the expanding family. They feel nurtured, protected by a government that cares, that provides an income that covers rent, food, access to entertainment, the American News Network, and healthcare—simplified: enter symptoms into an online search, answer a few yes or no questions, and hit “Next” to receive a diagnosis. Medicine delivered robotically.

They laugh, laugh that they’re paid to be incurious. Overthinking caused anxiety. They say to each other, “Ignorance really is bliss.” And despite their belief that Hillary Clinton would have been an inspiring Commander-in-Chief (yes, they had been Liberals, protested the invasion of Iraq, and after the election, both went to D.C., wearing a pink pussy hat), they’ve come to appreciate a president who’s not only making America great again but also who’s made America safe again.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

August 10, 2020
Gerald Sussman
Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem
Vijay Prashad – Érika Ortega Sanoja
How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
Daniel Warner
Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes
Mike Hastie
The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020 
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs
Rev. William Alberts
Cognitive Without Conscience
David Altheide
Politicizing Fear Through the News Media
F. Douglas Stephenson
Is Big Pharma More Interested in Profiteering Than Protecting Us From Coronavirus?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Money Plague
Howard Lisnoff
Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is Defeating Himself
Lynnette Grey Bull
The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump
Victor Grossman
Some Come, Others Go
Binoy Kampmark
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities
The Stop Golden Rice Network
Why We Oppose Golden Rice
Michael D. Knox
After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace
Elliot Sperber
A Tomos 
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
Kavaljit Singh
Revisiting the Idea of Pigou Wealth Tax in the Time of Covid-19
Paul Ryder
Here Come the 1968 Mistakes Again
T.J. Coles
Fighting Over Kashmir Could Blow Up the Planet
David Macaray
Haven’t We All Known Guys Who Were Exactly like Donald Trump?
Conn Hallinan
What’s Driving the Simmering Conflict Between India and China
Joseph Natoli
American Failures: August, 2020
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid or One State: Has Jordan Broken a Political Taboo?
Bruce Hobson
The US Left Needs Humility to Understand Mexican Politics
David Rosen
Easy Targets: Trump’s Attacks on Transgendered People
Ben Debney
The Neoliberal Virus
Evelyn Leopold
Is Netanyahu Serious About Annexing Jordan Valley?
Nicky Reid
When the Chickens Came Home to Roost In Portlandistan
Irma A. Velásquez Nimatuj
The Power of the White Man and His Symbols is Being De-Mystified
Kathy Kelly
Reversal: Boeing’s Flow of Blood
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Framing Irish Complicity in the Slave Trade
Ariela Ruiz Caro
South American Nations Adopt Different COVID-19 Stategies, With Different Results
Ron Jacobs
Exorcism at Boston’s Old West Church, All Hallows Eve 1971
J.P. Linstroth
Bolsonaro’s Continuous Follies
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail