Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Short story

I wrote this short story back in high school for a creative writing class. That was either 1979 or 1980. It was published in the high school literary magazine, Andromeda, in 1981. I rediscovered it last night while looking for my copy of The Lord of the Rings.

The Quota

The mobile guillotine slid down the street. The metal sluices shined in the early morning light. The police had to get their weekly quota, and they were still 237 short. If they didn't make it, the force made up the remainder.

The guillotine was used for such offenses as jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, and other misdemeanors. It replaced the chamber--quicker, cleaner, and generally more efficient.

Its photo-electric eye spotted someone leaning on a sign. It sped up to the loiterer, told him the charge, and asked him to lie down flat. The culprit, knowing that he had no other choice, lay down and it was over in an instant. The head was put into a collection box on the corner, and the body dropped into a incinerator nearby.

"Only 236 more," screeched the voice speaker in the police lounge.

"God Bless! Its Thursday and 236 more to go by Saturday midnight," gruffed the commander. "We haven't been this far behind since that one week in '93."

"Yeah, think maybe we could pick some of 'em up, Binky, huh?" asked a sergeant of his commander.

Binky slowly smiled. "Yes, yes. It looks like we'll have to get them one way or another. Too bad."

The electronic listening device sent this and all other conversations to the main computer. It was listened to and then sent to the data bank for police corruption.

After listening to it many times and analyzing voice inflection and sincerity, the computer commissioned a force of guillotines to the station.

Listed in the file for the weekly quota: "Due to the abundance of criminals this week, there will be no need to send out the mobile guillotines next week."


Steve said...

What dark humor we had . . .

Angie said...

. . .and here I thought *I* was the (real) writer between the two of us.

I'll just go back to writing about new shirts. . .you keep copying your *published* stuff on your blog.


Steve said...

I just figured it out. You wrote this the week after you got your first speeding ticket, didn't you?