I stood looking in the mirror to see if there was anything that I needed to touch up. My hair was combed fine, my shoes, which I had carefully polished the night before were still shiny. The only problem I found was that my tie was crooked. I adjusted it. I was ready. Today was the big day that I had been waiting for: graduation. I was finally graduating high school, and I would soon be moving on to college. This anticipation left me with a mixture of feelings. On the one hand I was ready to go out and make a name for myself. On the other hand I knew that this would likely be the last time that I saw all of my friends together for a very long time. I got in the car and drove to school. I put on my cap and gown and joined the rest of my classmates as we prepared to move on with our lives. We tooks lots of pictures together, told stories reminiscing on our time together, and then it was time. Time for us to walk the stage, get our diplomas, and move on to the next stage in life. Things went well. We all sat and listened to speeches that can not be remembered due to the excitement of the day, we crossed the stage and received our diplomas, and sat back down. We threw our caps in celebration, and proceeded to go to a party that was being held in our honor. With great food, and friends around the party that lasted most of the day only felt like a few minutes. After the party it was time to go home. Since then I have not seen all of my old friends together, and many of them I have never seen again. It was time for us to get rid of the old routines and habits and move on to the new.
In just a few days I am going to start college, this is going to give me the experience that I need so that I can be successful. At least that’s what I think. This has been a big decision for me of where to go to college, though it wasn’t much of a choice. I had earned the grades that I needed so that I could get into pretty much anywhere I wanted. The only exceptions were the best of the best schools such as Jefferson and O’Brien. I had made my choice. I was going to go to Henryville. This is where both of my parents went, or at least their files say that they went. I don’t really know, I never got to know them much. They raised me until I was five then I was sent off to school where I have completed my education. Am I sad that I never got to know them? No, not really because it is completely normal for parents wanting their children to be successful to send their kids to the government run schools never to see them again. And why wouldn’t it be normal, the government paid my parents a monthly stipend for the privilege of educating me. With how poor everyone is around here, every bit of extra money helps, so many parents will have two children, the legal limit, and send them to school when they are old enough. So, Henryville, this is where I was going to spend my next several years. Hopefully I will be able to get a government job when I am done. Those are the best kinds of jobs. You get a guaranteed supply of money, and your food is even paid for. For these reasons the government jobs are the best ones to get; however, they are incredibly difficult to obtain. If I can’t land one of these jobs I am sure that I can get a contracting job. There are many industries that get government contracts, and provide stable employment. These are by far the most common, and they pay roughly the same, but the food isn’t paid for? I am wanting to study engineering, so I can help the government if it ever has to fight something like the 9 year’s war of 745. The numbering system started over when Humphrey English, the great founder of this country, and the one to raise the government to the amazing power that it has now, created this glorious land. In one week I leave for Henryville, at that time I will get on the rail to Henryville, and I will start my life over. I can’t take anything with me due to regulations, but I will be provided everything that I need to get me through college. The government only wants what is best for me, so they will try to keep me well, and give me lots of comfort so I can be strong and robust when it comes time to start my service to this country and to the government.
I have been at Henryville for two months now. Luckily I was able to pass the exams and get into the engineering program. I have had to work to succeed in school, it is definitely harder than high school was. However, I have been progressing rapidly, and it seems like I might even finish college early. That is probably just wishful thinking since no one has ever finished early since the government standardized the material. There is an attractive girl who sits next to me in my morning class, her name is Molly. Not only is she attractive, but she is very intelligent. She seems bored, more like frustrated with the pace that the class is going. The other day I heard her mutter, “Man, I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I could just learn to work, and get started making money.” What? I thought, what is she talking about? Why wouldn’t she want to be here? Why would she want to start making money? Money is only for buying things we need or want, and here at the university everything that we need or want is given to us. I waited until after class, and then I asked her what she meant. She said, “Oh, it was nothing. Sometimes my mind just says crazy things.” With that she hurried away. This did seem like something crazy to say, and my mind comes up with some crazy ideas sometimes, but never any as crazy as that. Anyway, I dismissed it. The next day in class I didn’t mention it, and she didn’t seem to think anything of it. She continued to sit there doodling in her notebook, and taking notes every now and then. A few times I saw her head drift down, and then snap back up. It was obvious that she was trying not to fall asleep, not that it would have mattered, and she still would have gotten perfect grades on the next exam. Things went on like normal for the rest of the semester, and there were no more weird instances of her saying she wanted to stop going to the university. The next semester I got the chance to sit next to Molly again. I was beginning to really like her, and several times I had even thought about asking the family department if it would be alright for us to be together, I never did, and I am grateful that I didn’t. One day in class I looked down at her beautiful silky hands and noticed that she had dirt under her fingernails. I couldn’t figure out where she had gotten dirt under her fingernails, or how she had gotten past the guards at the entrance of the classroom with something as obviously unclean as dirt under the fingernails. Didn’t she know that it was illegal to have dirt under your fingernails? Obviously she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to be. I didn’t know what, but I knew that I had to figure it out. I laid my hand over her finger to get her attention, and then made a point to show myself cleaning my fingernails. She understood what I meant, because she quickly pulled her hand away, but she didn’t make any effort at trying to clean her fingernails. As soon as class was over I pulled her aside and said, “Molly, don’t you know that you can’t have dirt under your fingernails?” She looked at me blankly and said in a hushed voice, “Yes, Steve, I know. But I don’t think that the government should be able to tell me that. In my own little way I am protesting the government. I don’t want to make it too obvious because I don’t know enough yet, but I have heard that The Uprising might be starting up again, and I think that I might want to join.” “What?! Are you crazy? They can put you in jail for that.” “I know, but I think it might be the right thing.” With that she put her hand on my shoulder, pulled me in, and kissed me. Right on the mouth, she kissed me. Oh my goodness, I have never felt anything as magical as that. Then she looked me in the eyes and said, “If you want any more of that you won’t say a word about this.” This seemed like a good deal to me, so I agreed.
The next day I was pulled aside after class by an officer of the government. It didn’t take much to realize that he was a member of the police force. He was tall, looked strong, and wore the pale green uniform. This uniform told me that he was in the police, but he was just beginning. Only the new guys wore green, then it moved to blue then yellow, orange, red, purple and finally black. He told me that he had seen some video footage from yesterday and that he wanted to know what was going on between me and student 715528. “715528?” I asked. “Yes, she goes by the name of Molly, she is in your class.” It didn’t take me very long to realize that he was talking about the kiss that happened yesterday. I didn’t want to get Molly in trouble, so I feigned ignorance. “I don’t know what you are talking about. She sits by me in class, and then we each go our separate ways. There is nothing going on between us that I know of. Why, is there a problem officer?” “Yes,” said the officer, “there is a problem. Yesterday directly after class we noticed that you two talked together, and then she kissed you. We ran your records and saw that you two had not gone to the family department to have this relationship authorized. As you know it is illegal for people to have a relationship before they see the family department for validation. We will let you off the hook this time since we checked your record and found it clean.” “Thank you officer,” I said. “Just don’t let me see anything like it again, and there won’t be any trouble.” “Alright, you’ve got it. It won’t happen again.”
The next day I saw Molly. I told her what had happened. She said that she had been visited by an officer as well. I asked her what she thought about going to visit the family department so that we could be together, and not risk getting in trouble about it. She said she wasn’t ready for anything that serious. She said that she would rather just be friends. Ow! I just got friend-zoned. While I was disappointed with her answer I wasn’t crushed. I knew that we could still be friends, and hopefully one day we would be able to visit the family department and get everything settled.
Things went smoothly for the next few weeks. I noticed a few more times that she had dirt under her fingernails, but I didn’t bring it up again. While I didn’t quite understand how she could be so flippant towards the government, I still liked her, and I didn’t want to risk our friendship by bringing it up. I wanted to be able to see her outside of school, but I knew that I couldn’t ask her on an official date. After class I asked her if she would meet me at the movie theatre. I figured that as long as we went separately then it wouldn’t be considered a date. I asked her, “Hey Molly, would you like to see a movie this Friday?” “I would love to Steve, but you know what we were told. We can’t be seen showing affection for each other.” “I understand, but I have a plan. If we both meet there separately it won’t look like we are together.” “That sounds reasonable enough,” she said, “I will meet you there.” There were no other details to discuss because the theatre only showed one movie, and they only showed it one time a night. I had seen the movie several times before. It is the only movie I can remember watching since starting Henryville.
Friday came and as planned Molly and I went to the movie separately, but together. During the movie Molly leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Next time, I get to decide what we do, and you aren’t going to tell anyone where we are going. I will give you a piece of paper when we leave tonight. I want you to memorize it as quickly as possible, and then I want you to destroy it.” “Alright, I can do that.” We finished the movie in silence, and as we were leaving she slipped me a small piece of paper. I acted like nothing happened, and hopefully no officers will show up again and ask me what was going on.
I got home before I took the opportunity to look at the paper. It said: “Brown’s Bakery, Main St. 7:00 Friday, ask for Rye Bread, and they will let you in. P.S. Don’t let anyone follow you.” Simple enough instructions. I could handle that. I did have some questions though. Why couldn’t anyone follow me, and why should I ask for Rye Bread, don’t they know that Rye has been replaced by the newer Reif Bread. It is healthier, cheaper, and has more nutrients. While it didn’t make any sense I memorized it, and then quickly burned the paper.
I wanted to ask Molly those questions, but I knew better. I knew that I shouldn’t ask too much, and that there was probably a reason why she said that I couldn’t be followed. Whatever it was, I was curious. I couldn’t wait for Friday, but I knew that I had to.
On Friday evening I made the trip down to Brown’s Bakery. It wasn’t a very far trip, but I mad it take longer by intentionally starting in the wrong direction so that I wouldn’t be followed. I didn’t think that I would be followed, but it never hurts to take caution. I finally arrived at the bakery, and asked for rye bread like I was supposed to. The clerk said that she didn’t have any on the shelf, but if I would follow him he could lead me to the back where there was a collection of rye breads where I could choose what I wanted. This seemed a little strange to me since most places don’t allow anyone who is not part of the company access to the back rooms. I went back behind the counter and followed the clerk through this little door. When I went through, I realized that there were several people back here. Apparently there was a huge demand for rye bread this evening because there were twenty or thirty people here. This assorted group was a strange mixture of young and old, male and female, successful looking, and those who looked downtrodden. Also I saw that Molly was sitting there, and that there was an empty seat next to her. I went over and took it. In a few minutes a man came in and began to speak. I couldn’t believe that anyone could speak anything so radical as he did. He talked about things like taking pride in your work, and not being afraid to get dirty. He also mentioned that it was because of the people in this room, and others like them who were what made this country great, and who were responsible for keeping this country running. I didn’t know what to think about this. Everyone knows that it is the government that keeps the country running, it isn’t some group of ragtag people who all want to eat rye bread. I had no idea what they were talking about. A little further into his speech and he mentioned that it was getting close to the time for us as a group to take action and try to overthrow the government. “Overthrow the government?” I thought, “They must be raving lunatics. I will just have to turn these people in.” Then I remembered that I was there with Molly, and that if I turned in this group then Molly would probably get caught up in it too. I didn’t want to hurt Molly, so I decided that I would lay low to see what was happening. After the meeting the main speaker came up and introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Mike, so glad that you could join us. Let me know if you have any questions.” Now was my chance, maybe I could figure out why these people thought that they should buck the way that things were going and why they thought that anything needed to change. I asked him, “Why do you think that this group is so important, and how could you possibly be better than the government?” “Mike looked at me and smiled. Finally he laughed and said, “I guess you didn’t know what you were getting into.” “Absolutely not” I replied. I just did what I was told, and showed up. “Okay then, we have a lot to cover. I will break it down into small pieces, and over time I will teach you how we think, and why we think what we think. If you want to hear our reasoning, then you will have to keep quiet about this, and not say a word about us to anyone. I can tell that you are a university student, and as such, I’m sure that you would like some exclusive information.” “Exclusive Information?!? But only the elites are allowed access to exclusive information,” I responded. “Yes, but I think that you have the potential of becoming an elite and really making a difference.” “Okay, you’ve got yourself a deal, I will keep this quiet and you will provide me with the information that I want.” Mike sat down and pointed to a chair next to him. “Sit down,” he said, “this first lesson isn’t going to take very long.” I took the chair and leaned in ready to hear what he had to say. “The first lesson is this: we don’t want to be told what we have to do.” With that he got up and said, “That is the first lesson, think about it, and next week I will give you the next look into our ideas. Then he turned and walked away. I sat there dumbfounded. There was this whole secret society thinking that they were the most important people in the country, and there main objective was to not be told what to do. Molly who hadn’t left asked me, “So what did you think? Do you think that you will be back here next week?” “I think so,” I told her, “I have so many questions I will need to get them answered.” “Yes, I understand that you have several questions, I did when I first heard of this group, but now I believe fully in what they are talking about.” I looked at her still very confused and asked, “Who is it that you believe is telling you what to do and you don’t like it.” “The Government” “But the government doesn’t tell us what to do.” “Oh yeah,” she responded, “wasn’t it the government that told both of us that we couldn’t be seen around each other too much without first going to the Family Department?” “Now that you mention it, you’re right, they did tell us what to do. But that was only one time.” “No it isn’t the only time, think why you had to ask for rye bread. It is because people aren’t allowed to sell rye bread.” “That makes sense,” I said, “it isn’t as healthy.” “Exactly,” said Molly, “but don’t you think that you should have the choice to buy what you want to buy instead of having the government decided that you can’t buy it.” “Well, it did taste better than this new stuff, and if I had my choice I would probably eat the rye bread it isn’t so bland.” “Keep thinking about this, and next week we will look into the next step of this group.” Then she turned and started to leave. “Molly,” I called out, “I didn’t catch what this group was called.” “The Uprising,” she said as she left. I was then sitting alone in the room, and I’m glad that I was sitting because I don’t know if I would have been able to take all of this standing up. I sat there for a little longer then I got up. I knew that I would have a busy week for the next week, and all of these ideas would be swarming around in my head.