It’s tough to find flowers in a hurry around here. It’s Mother’s Day and, as per usual, I’m late to the foray. Prices have skyrocketed and I have to buy two bouquets – one for my mother and one for the “blind date” I am being set up on.
It’s amazing how one nuclear war brought us to this point. Restarting humanity isn’t easy. We are set up on “blind dates,” which is really just a politically correct way to say fuck buddy.
The process is awkward and clunky. It’s not like the old days when the 3rd date is the sex date. Now you sit across from a catalogue selected mate and get as comfortable with one another as you can before being sent into a room to procreate.
All the fun in sex is gone now.
I’m expected to impregnate, or at least attempt to impregnate, a new mate once a month. The irony is that in college I would’ve loved those stats, but now it means nothing. We are all given cards with baseball-like statistics on the back that show our height, age, weight, dick size, and sperm count. Females don’t have these cards and, in a way, humanity has taken a large step backward “For The Future Of Mankind.”
The outrageous price for flowers is worth it when I see my mom smile from ear to ear. My date seems less enthused when I present them to her. She’s uncomfortable and so am I. The flowers were meant to calm her down, make her feel at ease, and maybe, for a split second, make her feel like a woman again.
Her name is Miranda and we had little interaction before this day. We went to High School together but both ran in different cliques. I rode the line between jock and nerd; she was a loner who would get stoned underneath the bleachers during lunch. There was always something about her that interested me but I never had the balls to pursue it because of my delicate social standing.
She sat there with a stoic look on her face as I handed her the flowers and forced a smile that ended up being a cross between a bitchy valley-girl and The Joker. I politely smiled and took the seat across from her. Between us was a coffee table filled with various aphrodisiacs and one tablet that officially sucked the joy out of the room.
Because we all had to commit to repopulating the human race there was an official documentation process before and after intercourse. It wasn’t shocking to find a Documenter in the house either; masturbation made it easy to trick the program into thinking you’ve done your part and filled your quota for the month.
Documenters were horrible and boring. They sat outside the room with a stopwatch and would knock on the door if you took too long. Intimacy had no place in the world and thinking that both people creating this human life would play any part in it further down the road was laughable.
I scanned the room for an unwelcoming, pale face and fortunately I only found one, Miranda.
The mystery surrounding her made her more and more attractive. There was a sadness that I wanted to cure; I wanted to unlock something inside her that would lead to unbridled happiness. She discarded her normal wardrobe of Leftover Crack tee shirts, skinny black jeans and high leather boots that earned her the reputation of being a neo-Nazi. Today she opted for a white sundress that hid her body. A muted protest to what would transpire today.
We caught eyes for a moment when we both reached for the tablet to start the trail of paperwork that needed to be completed before we got down to business. We touched hands and my heart warmed, a sensation flowed through my body telling me none of this was right. The sullen look of her eyes explained everything I needed to know about her. She was just a scared girl being forced to endure a savage ritual that has become commonplace.
We reluctantly signed the documents and walked into the bedroom with no words shared. The door closing behind me sounded like the bars on a jail cell being slammed shut and then it was locked from the outside ensuring there would be no escape.
The bed was neatly made in accordance with military instruction. We stood in the middle of the room facing each other and making eye contact. It’s customary for the male to make the first move but I was frozen. I couldn’t go through with this. Every piece of me wanted to give in to all preconceived notions of what I built up in mind about Miranda but I was a statue.
“What’s wrong? You don’t want to fuck me?” Miranda asked.
“No, I do. That’s the problem.” I gave her this veiled answer hoping she would understand.
“Now’s your chance, Cowboy. Throw me on the bed and fuck me silly. I’ll scream loudly too, that’s what most of you like.” She was starting to get angry at this situation.
“I don’t understand what you mean by ‘you.’”
“All of you. All men. You’re sick. We’re nothing to you. Just rag dolls you get to stick your dick in. After you convulse on top of us you salute and say “For the Future of Mankind” like some kind of send-off that’s supposed to make us feel better. Like we’re doing our civil duty by laying there and taking it and then we are expected to just move on with our lives.” Miranda began to tear up as she spoke.
“This is what it is now though. It’s awkward for us too.”
I hadn’t put much stock into what I just said and suddenly Miranda was charging at me with her hand raised and she swung it at me. I grabbed her wrist before she could make contact with my face and drew her close to thwart any sudden attacks. As I held her close she began to cry.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that.” I did my best to calm her down and console her.
“You don’t get it.” She said as he pushed me away.
“Tell me what I don’t get.” I pleaded with her.
“You won’t understand.”
“It’s not what everyone thinks it is. Sure the instructions say what you’re supposed to do but we’re still humans. We all still remember what life was like before and yearn for it. Sometimes you can just block everything out and it’s over in five minutes and sometimes people take it too far. Women are treated like prostitutes now. Even when Documenters are present, men don’t care. They hold us down, they choke us, they call us ‘sluts’ and ‘whores.’ The hit us, spit on us, degrade us. They sneak in handcuffs and rope and outfits they want us to dress up in. It’s only sex to you all. No one is concerned about what the women go through. It’s torture and when we carry a child for nine months. It’s a constant reminder that after we heal we are sent back out there like a pitcher takes the mound. We have to smile and be polite when our “blind dates” walk around free committing atrocity after atrocity.”
Her words hit me like a brick and I’m left dumbfounded and silent.
“Exactly. You can’t say anything. You thought you would just have your way with me. Get to live out the fantasy you had in your head about me. Do you think I don’t remember you? The stares you would give me in the hall, the whispering to your friends about what you would do to me if you had the chance. You’re just like everyone else. Those flowers were a good touch, I’ll give you that, but it doesn’t mean shit.”
Then I kissed her. I don’t know what came over me but I had to do it. I had to know what I was feeling was real. I had to let her know that I understood and that I would care for her. She pushed me away and had a look of anger on her face. She wanted to scream but I cut her off.
“I love you.” I said. I don’t really know why but I wasn’t lying. I felt something deep inside for her. Miranda was always this enigma, a Rubik’s Cube of a human being that could never be figured out.
She stood there frozen staring a hole through me. I felt exposed.
“I don’t know why I said that.” I quickly snapped at her. “But I’m not sorry.”
“I want to be there for you. I want to protect you. You’re right. Everything you said is right. There’s a sadness in you that I want to rid you of. I’m not saying I’m the answer here. I’m not saying us together will be perfect. I’m not saying we are soul mates or any of the other crap that Hollywood wanted us to believe as kids. I don’t want “fuck” you. I don’t want to have sex with you. I just want to be with you.”
“I need time to process this. It’s insane what you’re saying. You know me for 10 minutes and you love me? That’s what psychopaths say on the third date to get laid.”
“No one is as surprised as me. I just see so much pain and how much there is to fix and I want to be that person. Maybe it’s old feelings coming back. Maybe something in my subconscious connected when I saw you sitting there and now it has manifested itself into this feeling. I’m not even sure myself how it happened, but it did and now we’re here. It’s us being human. This is what everyone longs for but can’t commit to.”
The door begins to unlock and I instinctively stand in front of Miranda to protect her from whatever threat may be entering the room. She doesn’t question the move and does her best to stay completely behind me. I notice the fact that she is close to me and leaning her head on my back, I can’t help but smile.
A man in full military garb is standing in the doorway with my mother in the background being handcuffed to a chair by another man.
“What’s going on here?” The man said in a deep, booming voice that was distorted to sound more authoritative by a microphone in his shielded helmet.
“It’s just taking a while to get acquainted.” I replied.
“Where is the girl?”
Miranda pokes her head out from behind me to show that she is there. Her body is still pressed on mine; I’m still her protector.
“These actions are punishable in accordance to the Union Regulations. Failure to complete your obligations for the future of mankind will result in incarceration and, if deemed necessary by an overseer, may be considered a treasonous act punishable by death.”
A palatable silence filled the room. Despite the blacked out visor I knew the militant was waiting for me to act and he would put me down if necessary. My mother was now bound to a chair, the other militant behind her standing with his arms behind his back. A few more tense moments pass and suddenly the militant in the doorway established he’s the commanding officer when he raises his arm up causing the private to shock my mother with a cattle prod. What must’ve been three seconds felt like an eternity as the electric current coursed through her body making her convulse and flop like a fish out of water. She slumped over and appeared to be unconscious.
“This will continue to happen until you yield to our orders.” The commanding officer demanded.
I did all I could to compose myself before I spoke. My knees felt like Jello as I watched the private pull my mother’s head up by her hair and wrap his arm around her neck as if putting her in a choke hold.
“Please, stop, she’s innocent in all of this!” I pleaded.
“By allowing you longer than the allotted time she has not upheld her responsibility and therefore measures are to be taken to encourage you two to uphold your obligations to the future of mankind.”
His speech sounded rehearsed and practiced to the point where his cadence and delivery was polished. Despite the situation unfolding in front of me I was somewhat impressed by this.
“Okay, we will do it.” Miranda stepped out from behind me and began to disrobe.
“No, Miranda, don’t.” I put my hand on her shoulder to stop her from undressing.
“This is your only warning. Either you fill your obligation or you will feel the full wrath of the Union.”
I wanted to give up at that moment but everything in me told me I shouldn’t. I loved this woman. Each second that passed I knew knocked down a domino that would eventually lead to her feeling the same way. I took a deep breath and collected myself.
“Do what you have to do. I will not…”
A gunshot rings out and I look over to my mother who is slumped over in the chair motionless. I yell but no words come out. I want to run over to her but I can’t move. Tears stream down my face and I feel arms wrap around my waist holding me back from moving. I fall to my knees and sob into my hands as they cover my face.
“It will all be over shortly.” Miranda’s sweet voice whispered into my ear.
I look up and see no gun in either of the militant’s hands and then see the blood on Miranda’s as she lets go of my waist. I collapse to the ground face first and can feel my heart slow down, each beat reminding me there are fewer and fewer left. Miranda rolls me over to my back and straddles me.
“I’m sorry I had to do that.”
“Why?” I ask.
“You’re weak. Love is an emotion that has no value in this world anymore. This was a test. Your mother noted it on your last performance review when you spoke about your female mate.”
“What about everything you said?”
“I meant it and it’s true but that’s the world we live in now. I’m committed to reestablishing humanity. I have ideals but they have no place now.”
“Ma’am we must go.” The commander said.
Miranda leans in closely and kisses me on the lips.
“I love you, too,” she said, “I’m sorry that cost you your life.”