Author : Jason Frank

I’m in my office, the big one on the top floor, minding my own business and he just walks in without knocking. Hey, we might have just had a revolution but there’s still a right and a wrong way to do things. For example, storming into my office with a sour look on your face and then yelling at me with a tone of voice I don’t appreciate is not the best way to stay on my good side.

“Fred,” he says, “we have to rethink the Copacetitron. We have to turn it back on, now.”

“What?” I shout at him. He’s not supposed to call me Fred, not anymore, nobody is. I didn’t risk my life leading the Eight Departments against the Kindlys of the Serious Commission so I could be called Fred. Comandante, now that’s a title fit for a man of my accomplishments. That’s what I’m supposed to be called, whether or not I told anybody that yet.

“Fred…” (again with the Fred!), “Fred, I know that shutting down that evil, mind bending machine was the whole point of our uprising, but listen, we have to turn it back on, right now. I don’t know, maybe we can turn it down gradually over the next couple of weeks. I just know that turning it off suddenly was the wrong move.” That whole not calling me Comandante thing is totally a crime. Ignorance of the law is no defense, regardless of whether or not I told anybody about it. The law flows out of me like my exhaled breath, the steaming exhalations of the Comandante.

He’s got that look in his eye, I know it pretty good, like he’s going to keep talking. I let him go, he can dig his own grave as deep as he wants it for all I care. “Look, just look outside,” he says and I do.

I knew he was off but looking outside just proves it. The city looks better than it ever did. The lovely fires are bringing out dramatic shadows and angles I never could have imagined. Down the way, I can even see a guy crucified up on the hands of the big clock. Now that must have been damn hard to do and I almost tear up thinking about all the ambitious go-getters we got down there.

“Fred!” he says again, louder this time. I’m going to have to say something to him, that much is clear. He starts walking towards me with some kind of look in his eye I can’t identify. Better safe than sorry, I always say. That’s why I put together this fine club, a stick anyone of Comandante level would be glad to call his own. It’s got a bunch of nails through it at odd angles. Its lack of symmetry really stirs the soul. Anyway, I start hitting him with it (I really should give my club a proper name like, I dunno, Darlene or something). All kind of roses bloom on his face. I think maybe I hit him for too long, mostly because my left arm cramps up something fierce.

I look down at him, my little brother, the brains behind our rebellion. What happened to him? We shut down the evil Copacetitron that was, we all knew, messing with our heads in a manner most indelicate. For some reason, he just couldn’t deal with the reality of our liberation. Oh well, you couldn’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. We were free now and we had to start acting like it.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows