So, they had come for him at last.
The man at the door looked respectable at first glance: nice suit (no tie), short dark hair (well-cut, but not over-styled), suitcase. He had his ID card held out ready; he was from Licensing. Ash had known it was only a matter of time. The card looked genuine (Ash had seen enough fake ones), and he looked at the face on the card, then the face on the man. The man’s thin lips were drawn in a friendly smile, eerily identical to the picture on the card, but the card didn’t convey the icy intent in those blue eyes; that look (Ash had seen it before) that meant I mean you no good.
At the bottom of the card it said ‘You are being recorded, it will be used as evidence against you’.
Once Ash had studied the card, Agent 42295 (no name) stepped straight into the house. Ash had to take two quick steps (almost a stumble) backwards.
“You haven’t got a licence.” The agent looked around the room, his sharp eyes darting and stabbing quickly, like a prison shiv, accusing and unapologetic.
“I cancelled it.”
“I don’t need a licence. The law says so.”
“The law, son, is my tool. Not yours. I know people like you. I’ve read your old blog, anarchist ballshit.”
“I don’t blog anymore.”
“People like you can never stop. We’ll find your new blog soon. Don’t you worry.”
“This is bollocks, the licence is bollocks. I don’t have to pay to think. And I don’t have to pay if I don’t blog.”
“Careful, son.” The agent’s smile got a little wider, and just a little scary. He held up his card again.
You are being recorded.
He picked up Ash’s board and tapped the spacebar. The screen fuzzed into sky blue existence in the air in front of the agent and a kitten unfurled a union jack with a password prompt on it.
The agent sneered. He typed something too quickly for Ash to follow, it certainly wasn’t the password; it looked about a hundred characters with no spaces. The laptop let him in (traitor).
“Oh, please. Amateur.” The agent pulled a clip from his pocket and pushed it into the board. A new icon flashed onscreen; it looked a bit like two swords (crossed cutlasses). The Agent pressed the icon without breaking the integrity of the display. Old school dials and gauges unfolded across the screen and started to fill.
“You can’t –“
“We can. Just cloning, son. We get this back to the office, it won’t even know it’s not your board.”
“And you’ll find nothing.” Ash felt disturbed, a stranger on his board, he felt tense and violated even though he knew there was nothing illegal on there. It felt even worse than having this abrupt, horrible man in his home. “I’ve written nothing. I don’t need a licence.”
“Everyone needs a licence.
“Everyone wants to get their thoughts heard, everyone wants to broadcast their ideas. Information doesn’t like being stuck in one head. And we gotta be there to protect people. Can’t just have any old ideas out there, can we?”
“Free speech used to be considered a basic human right!”
The agent laughed cruelly then, “Shit, son, can you imagine the chaos?”
Recommended reading: Nocturnal Omissions by Mazzz-in-Leeds.
I also blog: Will Write Flash Fiction For Food.
Because information really doesn't like being stuck in one head and I really do like to write. ;)