Diary of a Gatekeeper

This diary entry was found  lying next to the body of Harold Bazemore who died of a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. How he was able to obtain the handgun is still under investigation.

I stand guard at the entrance way to Tybee Island. I was told it was for their protection but it feels more like the checkpoint serves to keep them inside instead of keeping Rovers out. The girls that pass through my gate get younger every year. It this were fifteen years earlier it would have been considered a crime for a man to touch a girl so young. They pass by me in passenger seats of giant SUV’s driven by their stoic Guardians who seem not to notice the tears that are barely kept at bay within their eyes. These are the lucky ones, the girls that still have a light inside them. They’re alive enough to realize the S.A.F.E system isn’t a way of life.

Our government uses billboards, television advertisements and political speeches to deliver its propaganda. These slogans are meant to keep everyone focused on the goal, “Procreate and Populate.” The repopulation effort is for the benefit of everyone and research or whatever has shown that the S.A.F.E system is the best way to achieve our goal. We’re told it’s for their own good, for the good of the entire nation. In fact this fertility program is necessary for our very survival. Whether or not it’s actually helping remains to be seen.

I know it isn’t helping the girls and the pregnancy rates don’t seem to have improved much. These women – no girls – are taught that everyone must do their “duty,” but they are the only ones suffering this way. Regular citizens have common struggles like not enough fuel credits or fresh produce, but at least our personal lives belong to us. What must it be like to grow up in a world that only sees you for what your body can produce? May God forgive me for saying it but I believe my Olivia was lucky to have been taken by the Gender Flu. As terrible as the wasting sickness was on her it was far better than the slow painful death of the soul that the surviving females now experience.

I shouldn’t be writing down such dangerous ideas but does anyone care what a tired old gatekeeper thinks? I sometimes feel that I have to write down my frustrations or I’ll explode.

Diary of a Gatekeeper

Olivia Bazemore, Age 14

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Her First Assignment

Every successful pregnancy provides the female with a higher station in the new S.A.F.E hierarchy of power. Let me rephrase that, women are powerless, but a woman who has borne live children-a thing that has become rare-have certain perks. A larger apartment was one of these perks, so I was currently enjoying the space in my neighbor Ebony’s bathroom.

I sat at her vanity waiting for her to magically transform my hair into a shape. I couldn’t have gone to a stylist, even if those people still existed somewhere, I didn’t have any money. The S.A.F.E program required females to be clean and the purity belts we wore demanded a certain style of clothing, but there was nothing stating we needed to have haircuts.

“Hold still unless you want me to muck it up,” Ebony warned. She was from Wales and had the misfortune to be in the U.S. when the Gender Flu hit. She hadn’t been able to flee the country before the travel ban and was effectively stuck here.

The blades of her giant sewing shears snicked together and strands of pale lifeless hair floated to the floor. She’d been a stylist in another life and still enjoyed practicing her craft in secret. I wanted an inverted bob with bangs but she said it would be too drastic a change and someone would notice. I didn’t understand who it helped to have every detail our lives so regulated? My short haircut wouldn’t hinder getting pregnant, but it also wouldn’t help it, and that would be their argument. Ebony wasn’t even a citizen but she was fully committed to the repopulation effort. If they ever updated the manual to say that haircuts were no longer allowed, she would obey the order without question.

Ebony finished and removed the towel she’d draped over my dress. “Fancy a Squeeze?”

I didn’t want a tart lemon drink, I wanted a glass of wine. I remember my mother was always given a single glass of white wine when she had her hair done. I was given a water or juice if they had it and sometimes the manicurist would even paint my nails while I waited on her. Of course that had been a real beauty salon and it was prior to the Gender Flu.

“Squeeze sounds good,” I lied. I didn’t want to seem impolite or ungrateful. My hair would be hanging down the middle of my back by now if it wasn’t for Ebony.

I opened the can she gave me and took a long swig. The first taste was always the worst, but once you got past that it went down easier. Despite it’s awful taste we all kept drinking it because it was free and also because the government said we needed to drink or risk intestinal infections.

Dorian stood in the doorway with his arms crossed and a severe expression on his face. “It’s time to go we’ve wasted enough of the day.”

I stood and did a twirl. “Do you think he’ll like it?” I asked. Tonight was my first scheduled encounter with my new assignment from the Dating Pool. I didn’t know anything about him other than his name and the fact that he’d paid an absurd amount of money to be with me.

“He has no choice but to like you,” Dorian said and ushered me out of my friends apartment.

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or a bleak and obvious comment on the current state of affairs.

Ebony followed me us to the door and before I walked out she turned me around and placed a palm on my flat stomach. “Good luck, and let it be a girl,” she said.