Civic Duty

It was Friday evening and Lucas was getting ready to perform his duty. He’d already tugged off his leather loafers to put on a pair of combat boots. He’d disheveled his black hair in front of the bathroom mirror and traded his pinstripe jacket for an old worn t-shirt and army fatigue vest. After arranging these things, he looked himself over in the full body mirror and decided whether or not he would be afraid of himself.

Lucas ate a bowl of chicken noodle soup and drank some iced tea. He figured he could make use of the empty tea bottle as a Molotov cocktail if need be, and he chuckled at the thought. It was funny to him how he came to think of this as humorous. The rest of the world never seemed to get the joke.

8:00 pm rolled around and he heard the phone ring in the kitchen. He wiped off his mouth after finishing the soup and went to pick up the line. “Hello, Merryweather residence. Lucas speaking.” Lucas listened as the reminder that his Friday night was ruined berated him through the receiver.

“Look, I already told you,” Lucas continued as he went to tap the opened letter on the counter as if he’d somehow forgotten why he was dressed like this. “I have Riot Duty today. I told you this last week. No, we can’t play poker. No, I can’t get out of this. You know how much they fine people for skipping out on Event Assignments.”

He went on to explain that he barely knew what he would be rioting for. The protest itself didn’t matter: it was the violence at the end.. Lucas was frustrated, but the government was strict when it came to people who didn’t show up for their civic duty. Civilization had to move forward, after all.

“Yeah, I know it sucks. Hey, listen, I have to get going. Tell the guys I’m sorry and that I’ll catch them next week.” He held the phone between his ear and shoulder as he loosened his belt to let the fatigued pants slump around his waist into a more comfortable position.

“Hah, right. Very funny. The police haven’t won in over two years, so this is probably something they secretly want.” When Lucas refastened his belt, he glanced at the watch on his wrist. “Look, I’m gonna be late. Later, man.” He hung up the phone and grabbed the ice tea bottle from the counter.

Lucas never asked questions when it came to his civic duty. In the past, he’d been called in to riot, and called in to be a witness at assassinations. It was the responsibility of a citizen to do his part for the country. Looking into the bottle, he scrunched his nose as he walked towards the door. He needed to stop and get gas.

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