How the World Once Was (a Short Story)

By | April 10, 2021

It was bedtime in the Walker household. As little James climbed into his bed, and his Dad tucked him in, he asked with a sleepy yawn:

“Daddy, will you tell me a bedtime story?”

“Of course”, said his Dad. “Which one would you like?”

“Well, you promised to tell me your story of “How the World Once Was”, said James.

“Yes, I did promise didn’t I?” said his Dad with a smile, “Ok, here we go then”.

And Dad began.

“Once upon a time, not so long ago, people were free to go wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted and with whomever they wanted”.

Little James eyes widened as he imagined what that must be like. “And they didn’t need permission from the police?”, he said.

“No”, said his Dad

“Didn’t they have chips under their skin, like we do, to track them and control their movements?

”No”, said his dad again.

“But didn’t they feel unsafe if they weren’t tracked everywhere they went?” said James questioningly. “We are told in school that we need to be tracked everywhere we go for our protection and so that we don’t ever get lost”.

“No”, said Dad, “There was no tracking, and nobody felt unsafe”.

He continued “And they could think whatever they wanted and say whatever they wanted too”.

“Wow”, said Little James, “It’s hard to imagine that. They really could say whatever they wanted without the police arresting them? What about the thought police?”

“There were no thought police in those days”, said Dad.

“No thought police?” said Little James, his mouth wide open in disbelief as his imagination struggled to make sense of this type of world.

Dad continued, “And anyone could get on a plane and fly to anywhere in the world, whenever they wanted to”.

“You mean, if their social credit score was good enough” said Little James, quizzically.

“There were no social credit scores either in those days”, replied Dad

“What? No social credit scores at all? None at all? That’s really weird”, said little James, almost laughing.

Dad continued, “And people used to go to the beach or to the park and they could spend all day there if they wished, and come home late, or not come home at all. That was their choice”

“That’s not normal. We have to get permission to go out and can only stay for the time permitted, and always must be home before curfew”, said Little James sternly.

“And what about social distancing limits and vaccination IDs?”

“There was none of that either”, said Dad, “and huge crowds use to gather at music concerts and sports events, sometimes as many as 100’000 – or even more”

“That sound very unhealthy”, said James, “All those people so close together. But they were all properly vaccinated weren’t they? “

“Not necessarily”, answered Dad, “A lot of people thought vaccines were unsafe then. But that was before vaccines were made compulsory. Many people were put in the reconditioning camps to be trained in how to think properly”.

“You mean that people were allowed to walk around and mix with others without being fully vaccinated?”, said James. “Were not allowed to go anywhere unless were properly vaccinated. It’s in our body chips. Wow, what a world”.

“And people used to carry around wads of coloured paper to pay for things”, said Dad. “It was called money. And they could buy whatever they wanted with it”

James jerked his head up, “They could buy ANYTHING? You mean anything they had permission to buy, don’t you?

“No”, his father said, “Anything they wanted, as long as they had enough of this coloured paper that they called “money”.

“You mean there were no controls on quotas, and on where you were allowed to shop?

“None”, said his Dad. “But all that was before the introduction of the global digital currency, and the universal body chip implants”.

James smiled. “How funny”, he said.

Dad paused for a while, before James said “But, is this really true Daddy? Is this really how the world once was, or are you making some of this up just for me. It does sound like a fairy story – something that could never really be true”.

“Yes really”, said Dad wistfully. “This is how the world once was”.

Little James was silent for a moment, and then said slowly “But Daddy, if this is really true and people had all that freedom, how did they lose it all?”

Dad thought for a moment before replying.

“Well you see, it all started so innocently. They began by taking away our freedoms little by little, saying it was for our protection”

“Protection”, said little James “how can losing your freedom protect you. I don’t understand; to protect you from what?”

Dad looked decidedly uncomfortable as he replied” Well, they said it was to protect us from a deadly virus that might make us ill and kill us all. Everyone was so afraid”

“Daddy I don’t understand”, said James again, “how can losing your freedom protect you from being ill? That doesn’t make any sense”.

“Well, nobody complained at the time”, explained his Dad, “and little by little, they took away more and more of our freedoms until there was no personal freedom left, and they had total control over every detail of our lives. This is the situation we have today.”

“But” said James, “You did try to stop them didn’t you Daddy? Tell me what you did to stop them”, James asked excitedly sure that his Dad, his hero, had fought valiantly to defend his freedom and liberty. He waited patiently to hear of his Dad’s heroic deeds.

Instead, his Dad hung his head, “Nothing” said Dad forlornly. “I did nothing. I just let it happen”.

Little James looked at his father with sadness in his eyes. How could his own dad, his hero, have done nothing? How could he have let them take away all of his freedom without even resisting, without a struggle?

As he drifted off to sleep, James began to dream of how wonderful it would be to still live in a world with so much personal freedom. But it would remain just a dream now, because he would never know such a world; it was gone forever.

o o o o o o o .

Will you be telling a similar story to your children or grandchildren sometime in the not too distant future?


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