Monday 28th December
Diary Entry – 20660607
“I told him everything, everything I could remember anyway. I hid nothing from him at all. I even told him about the laptop, and this stupid journal I was writing. He said little, just smiled benignly and encouraged me to carry on.
After a couple of hours he led me to a bedroom and for the first time in months I sank into a real bed, but this was different. There was no duvet, but sheets and blankets and a thick eiderdown, they felt so heavy at first, but I soon fell into a long and deep sleep.
I woke and looked at the bedside clock. Eight it read, but I had no idea whether it was eight at night or eight in the morning. I was used to the twenty-four hour digital clocks on every screen; a.m. and p.m. were hardly used these days. This clock had old-fashioned hands and the little one was pointing to eight.
I stumbled out of bed and into the ill-fitting but warm clothes he had laid out for me. Cautiously I came downstairs, half scared there would be the Polis sitting there waiting for me, but no, just the old man. No alcohol in his hand this time though.
I asked him who he was, and what he did. He said his name was Peter Skinner, a retired judge and that he would be ninety three in a month’s time. He had retired early due to his wife’s ill-health. She had died a year ago and he now lived here alone. He was writing his own unofficial history of the remarkable century we were living in, though of course his words were uploaded and not secret as mine had been. But he told me it was a ‘warts and all’ version, as he called it, and quite critical in places. He had no fear of reprisals though, why should there be any reprisals for simply telling the truth. Besides he was telling it from the inside, as one of the administrators, especially of the emergency measures that had been necessary during the transition from chaos to the ordered strata system we now had.
He couldn’t really understand why I had been so dissatisfied with my life. I was in a reasonably high strata; I had a valuable and somewhat unique and interesting job, a wife in good health, and above all I was fit and still young. I had everything to live for, surely.
“Yes, all that is true. But is it freedom if you cannot decide whether you agree to everything that is being done in your name; if you aren’t even asked.” I parried
“Oh my dear boy, you are being too simplistic. It has always been thus. In fact, it could be argued that of all the epochs in human history this was the one where most freedom exists. You are confusing the concept of personal freedom with the collective freedom we have ensured for almost everyone. And what did the exercise of that personal freedom ever achieve? Chaos and uncertainty.” And again that benign smile, it lurked around his whole face, and yet I detected some steeliness in his unmoving eyes. “But enough of all this theorising, I am tired of it. I hope you are recovered somewhat after your long sleep. Over twelve hours, that is quite some sleep.”
I nodded that I was feeling better – but I was wary now. He still wasn’t telling me what he intended to do with me; I could hardly remain a house-guest forever. As if reading my mind he smiled again and said “Well, I suppose you are wondering what I have in mind for you aren’t you Janek? I hope you don’t mind me calling you Janek. Smith is so impersonal – reminds me of Eton, my old crammer, and that is a long time ago I can tell you. Your future Janek all depends on you. To be more specific on how compliant you are. As you are aware I could have you arrested in minutes, and I am not at all worried that you might harm me physically. Even you, in your muddled thinking are not that stupid. I assume that like almost everyone you wish to remain alive, as long as possible; though I must admit I was surprised at the success of the Euthenase programme when it was introduced, oh must be thirty years ago now. Amazing how many people continue to opt for it, still it is their choice. Just as what I am about to offer you is your own choice. Of course that choice is not entirely free, as the alternative will, as you have so rightly guessed be your arrest and detention. So, I suppose you are wondering exactly what I have in mind, aren’t you?”
And again that enigmantic smile hovered over his lips, belying entirely the hushed threat in his words. I didn’t answer him, partly because I didn’t want to play his little game, and partly because I was quite scared. This strange little man who though physically quite frail had enormous power over me; I was literally his prisoner. And I was beginning to dread that what he wanted me for might be worse than the alternative, arrest and even clagging, might be.
“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” he said rather bitterly, almost spitting out the words. “Don’t worry, it’s not that awful. Don’t look so scared. The truth is that one gets rather bored living here in this rather comfortable but splendid isolation. I do have a few friends, like minded individuals, and they too get a bit bored also, so we like to amuse ourselves occasionally. And we find our amusement in using people. Some would call it abuse, but actually no real harm is done. Well not usually. And again that depends on you Janek. Submit to a few old men’s fantasies and you will be able to continue here for a while, or at least until we tire of you. Of course if you would rather I let the authorities know about you straight away, I can always arrange that.”
“How the hell do I know you won’t just have me arrested whatever I end up doing for you? And what happens when you tire of ‘using me’, as you call it.” I was beginning to get really scared now. This was no longer a game, this was becoming very dangerous.
“You will just have to trust me, won’t you. As for what happens when you leave here, that too depends on you doesn’t it. The Polis won’t believe a word you might say if you were ever so stupid as to think that telling tales might be a possibility. I am a man of my word, and if I say I will let you go at some point in the future then that will surely be the case. Besides I really couldn’t be bothered with having to lie to you. Come on Janek, you know you are in no position to negotiate. Besides, who knows – you might even enjoy it; you wouldn’t be the first.”
And so there I was, a virtual prisoner, with no real possibility of escape, about to be sexually abused I supposed by a group of rich old men supposed to be running the damned show. What the hell did they have in mind? I would soon find out. And I was right about him drugging my food, as a few minutes after I finished the cup of tea he offered ‘to help me make up my mind’ I slipped into unconsciousness.”