Author : Denny Knights

William struggled against the padded leather straps that held his hands and legs pinned against the surgical gurney which he was laying upon. He writhed and squirmed as much as he could against the restraints, hoping that they’d break, but it was a fruitless notion, the straps were solid. As he struggled, the straps cinched tighter and tighter until movement became impossible, and as the straps tightened, a small alarm bleeped just outside of his room.

Within a few seconds of the alarm’s initial bleeping, a bull of a man dressed in hospital scrubs appeared in the doorway leading into William’s room. “Hey, knock it off wouldya?”

“Let me out of here! I don’t belong here!” William exclaimed.

The bull wearing hospital scrubs said in a gruff voice, “That’s what everybody says.”

“But I’m not everybody. Jesus, I don’t belong here.” William said.

“Listen, Jesus doesn’t have anything to do with it. If he did, he woulda made ya smarter, and ya wouldn’t be here.” The bull said.

Seeing that William wasn’t going to acquiesce, the bull hulked over to William’s bed. William read his name tag, ‘Dante’.


“Yeah?” Dante asked.

“Dante, there’s been some kind of misunderstanding.” William said.

William watched as Dante pushed a button on the frame of the gurney. A blue liquid that had been suspended above William’s head in a translucent bag, slowly dripping through an I.V., now turned into a steady stream. The blue liquid quickly exited the plastic bag and rushed into William’s body. Almost immediately, William’s intellectual acuity became muddy and his body stopped responding to his requests to squirm and move. “Don’t worry about this stuff,” Dante said nodding at the blue liquid, “it’s a surgical paralysis concoction. It’ll wear off in eight to twelve hours.”

Dante pushed another button, this time, the operating slab detached from the gurney, gently levitating off the ground. Dante, with one finger, slowly spun the slab so that it was facing the doorway and gave it a gentle push. The slab maneuvered itself out of the room and then down the hallway toward the operating room. Dante walked in time with the levitating slab.

“William,” Dante said, “at the age of eighteen, everyone is required by national decree to register, take, and pass the National Purification Exam. You registered, you took it, but you didn’t pass it. Your scores were low enough that they landed you here.”

William tried making sounds of objection, but his body was now fully grasped by the blue liquid from the translucent bag. He only managed to make gurgles.

“I know,” Dante said, “you don’t think you belong here. But you do, your test says so. It told the government how smart you are, or in your case, how dumb.”

“It’s not so bad.” Dante continued. “The doctor will do a quick couple snips. The operation isn’t invasive, recuperation time is minimal. You’ll be out of here in another day or two. Best of all, you’ll still be able to have intercourse for as long as you can pump blood down there, you just won’t be able to have children.”

William’s eyes enlarged with panic.

“Hey, it could’ve been a lot worse than being sterilized.” Dante said. “You could’ve scored in the range that would’ve qualified you for automatic extermination.”

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