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FlashNano Day 8 – Bix

November 8, 2017

Day 8: Write a story set in the year 2027

Bix (644 words)

Standing at the sink, scrubbing the dried blood from my hands, I look into the mirror and wonder how long I can keep this up. Hands clean, I unbutton my shirt, shrug it off and toss it into the bin. Whether or not the blood will come out, I don’t care, I’ll find out later. Cindy will care and I’ll find out about that later, too. I reach up and smooth back my wet hair and lean closer to the mirror to examine the wrinkles around my eyes and notice a spot of dried brain matter on my temple, just below my hairline. I notice a bunch of gray hairs, too. Looking at the hairs, I realize I need to get out of this line of work.

When the Nationalists, led by Montana senator Eugene Dawson, gained control of Congress in the 2020 elections things quickly went to hell. Tax cuts that were supposed to trickle down to people like me trickled up to people who didn’t need trickling. The nation’s economic activity slowed almost overnight to a standstill and businesses, instead of expanding as promised by the ‘Trickle Uppers’, declined as prophesied by the ‘Trickle downers’. Production fell, sales fell, housing fell and income fell and as a result, unemployment rose and the crime rate rose and the black market thrived. By 2021 you had a better chance of finding a gun or drugs, or a human for sale, than you did of finding a job or a home.

Welcome to America. Great again.

By 2025 crime had risen to such an extent that the nation’s already overcrowded prisons were rendered obsolete. Ongoing problems with the labor unions and human rights groups, coupled with extreme overcrowding, made running a successful government prison system virtually impossible. Prisoners were sleeping two to a bunk and those were the lucky ones. The not-so-lucky ones were sleeping on the floor, in stairwells and in their own filth. Prison guards tired of risking their lives working 12-hour days for minimum wage simply walked away, deciding that nothing was better as long as it was somewhat safer.

Enter Eugene Dawson and Dawson Technologies and the nation’s latest chapter in prison reform: Centralization. While corporate prisons were nothing new, a centralized prison owned by a private company and run by the government was. Construction on Dawson One, or D1 as it came to be known, began in the fall of 2025 and in the summer of 2027 all state, local and Federal prisons were closed and prisoners were bound wrist and ankle, shackled together at the neck and loaded onto trains and transported to the new facility. And I use the word “facility” loosely. Dawson Tech’s centralization involved turning the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri – chosen because of their relatively moderate climate and nearly square outer borders – into one very large prison. Residents of those four states were given two options: work for the system in some capacity or leave their homes without compensation.

Cruel and heartless and lacking nothing but imagination but that’s life in 2027 America.

Inmates to D1 are banded and branded and they live out their lives roaming 300,000 square miles of America’s heartland in conditions not fit for a cockroach. Parole from Dawson is possible but due process is difficult to come by.

Economic conditions in the US haven’t improved and crime continues to rise along with Dawson’s profits. There aren’t usually any problems with the system – what goes to Dawson stays in Dawson you could say – but in this modern world where politicians run billion dollar private prisons, the idea of anything being “usual” is as scarce as hair on a pumpkin.

But inmates are ingenious and we do have our share of problems here and when there are problems is when I’m called in.

I’m Bix Fujara and I’m a bounty hunter.

– End

What is FlashNano: “Created by Nancy Stohlman in 2012 in solidarity with NaNoWriMo. FlashNano is in its 6th year!” Click HERE to learn more.

(Please pardon any typos or grammatical errors. My goal at this point is to just get the story down. I can worry about fine-tuning and editing later if I want. Thanks for reading!)

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