You didn’t realize
what you’d signed up for, but you had your suspicions…
First, there was the alarmist uproar
over genealogical surveys in the early 2000s, the intense scrutiny
of ancestral charts. One case in particular amazed even you:
a staggering amount of people descended from a chance meeting
in Louisiana, circa 1649.
Enough to fill a country—even a
planet. Or what was left of it…
Then came the legislation of 2012.
It was after the polar ice caps had melted, the floods had receded,
and the survivors had to report for mandatory gene scans. People
were traced, tagged, and ordered to report to The Center for
the Study of Population Control Protocols on a monthly basis.
While irony abounds in retrospect, the government subsidies for
mandatory surrogacy for viable embryos was enacted around the
same time. Unfortunately, those records were destroyed by ensuing
Following the Legislation of 2012,
was an addendum to the constitution in 2015, to resurrect a somewhat
improved variation of FEMA. It was in 2020, or thereabouts, that
the wormhole project was unveiled.
Or maybe it really was just a time
machine after all…
It’s quite clear now that you didn’t
realize what you’d signed up for, but here you are in 1649, and
it’s muggy in Louisiana, but not nearly as sweltering as it is
back in 2022. You’re holding the targets’ reproductions in your
hand, scanning to the left, the right, hoping to intercept at
least one of them in order to prevent the massive weight of their
descendents from coming into being.
And then you see HER! The sparkle
in her eyes, the curves only slightly hidden by her voluminous
skirts. Jet black hair curled just right and cascading over her
shoulders. The scent of lilacs, while initially cloying, seems
to add to her allure.
You pocket the targets’ images,
approach her, flash your most winning smile, a bit self-conscious
of your expensive dental work. Oh how she blushes as she accepts
your name, your arm, then a walk toward a shady bench in the
park. HE passes by moments later, and you tilt your hat to him
as he looks on with envy.
You are relieved for the duration
of polite banter, basking in the glory that was the Old South
with its thinly veiled etiquette dashed to the cobbles while
you awkwardly ask to call on her again the next day.
This relief takes awhile to dissipate,
like the dust kicked up by the trammeling of horse and carriage.
When it does, you still haven’t realized what you signed up for
until this moment, when I arrive on your porch, declining the
offer of a cold glass of lemonade, although my journey has stirred
up an awful thirst.
I watch you—but not without compassion—as
images of your wedding, the birth of each of your eleven children,
the births of each of your fourteen grandchildren grow misty
before your eyes as you finally recognize me from the cubicle
down the hall at The Center for the Study of Population Control
As aforementioned, I am not without
compassion, and so send you back before I crack, then pour, the
vial of genetically-altered bacterium into the town’s water supply.