Author : Dan Endres

She was identified by two letters. One capital “A” and one capital “G” stood side by side under her left eye in laser-imprinted ink. She had chestnut hair, green eyes and a healthy tan, but those two letters were what people recognized first. Her name was Angela, but to most of the population that was irrelevant. She was an AG. That’s what mattered.

AG wasn’t specific to her of course. There were plenty just like her of every race, religion, gender and orientation. AG stood for Alderman General, the hospital where she had been born. It was a fairly dull place to begin one’s life, (coming in somewhere between 98 and 92 on the hospital rankings from year to year) but she couldn’t complain. AG came with enough respect to find decent work, if not enough prestige to live the most comfortable life. Those were saved for the JH’s and SJ’s. Still, it could be worse. She could be brandless.

The brandless were the worst kind of people. Born in clinics too poor or backwards to have a proper designation or even worse, born in their parents’ homes, these ‘people’ barely qualified for the word. AGs weren’t rich, but even they knew better than to associate with the brandless. They were drains on the economy, vile, ignorant and decidedly untrustworthy. If there wasn’t such a pressing need for cheap labor, most brands agreed it’d be better to simply eliminate them from the population. Always coming back to that lens, Angela appreciated her modest life.

What she did not appreciate was this subcentennial ticket scratcher taking up the last fifteen minutes placing a simple order for a burger. He might not be brandless (he wouldn’t be ordering food if he were) but she knew before even seeing his face that he couldn’t be from one of the top one-hundred. His posture was horrendous, his hair cut into a vulgar purple Mohawk and… did she hear him right? Was he seriously trying to order tacos at a Patty Prince?

“Well can I get ‘em crunchy?” he asked the dim faced cashier, scratching the back of his head. She knew it. He was a ticket scratcher. For what must’ve been the hundredth time now, the woman behind the counter explained that Patty Prince did not serve tacos. Her voice was as plain and monotone now as it had been for the first explanation. She was probably subcentennial too.

Angela was just about to speak up when the subbie finally seemed to get the message. It didn’t really matter now though. By the time she got her own food she wouldn’t have time to eat it. Work resumed in less than ten minutes and it would take that long just to get back to the office. She could try to sneak a bite on the way back, but if she were caught, a public eating violation would spell the end of her career anyway. Fuming, she slipped out of line and stormed out through the glass doors of the Patty Prince. Brandless might be the lowest form of sentient life, but at least they knew their place.

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