Drama at the Womberlater

At eight and three quarter months the baby was developing normally, and now the light above the machine was changing to green, which meant she could insert the chip of personality traits and abilities she wished her child to enjoy. Gone, thank goodness, were those primitive days, when people had to express emotion by more than touching fingers, and having children meant distorting and possibly damaging your body.

Before she made her final decision, Sandra 526 Bland looked at the sexual orientation meter which revealed the growing baby to be personality base Five. “Brilliant: she could go  for a range of talents selected as suitable and available at this time for a child of this blending by the Ministry of Social Harmony and Agriculture. Her child would be a sports enthusiast, but with underlying sensitivity; possibly a talent for painting. That would be enjoyable”. She turned to her husband Opaque 138 Bland, and said” He is going to be a type Five” . “That is good” Opaque 138 nodded, and continued to watch a sparrow reading its newspaper on a tree across the road.

She inserted the character chip into the Womberlater, confident that the child would be as she desired, plus having the ability to speak twenty eight languages from birth, ignoring engineering terms which were considered outside his personality banding. Along with the Womberlater births of all species where now subject to due processing by the Ministry of Normalcy, which meant humans could enjoy the sense of other species, but without being eaten or having the windscreen of their autoflyers blotched by passing animal effluent, to use a sanitized expression. Personality inserted, she returned to doing her virtual jigsaw puzzle, which was a hologram of an antique drawing depicting a retro man looking at what her history group had revealed were called books.

Sure enough, at exactly nine months from ‘initialisation’ the new buzz word for sex; an act which no longer required the tedium of bodily contact, the baby, designated name Opaque 139, was announced to be ready to participate in the household. His mother lifted him out of the device, and slipped his ‘permagrow’ clothing on. An item that would remain on him for his entire life, but change fashion, size,style and cut depending on his age and the mood of the day, as issued by the Ministry of Motivation, with due diligence supplied by the Ministry of Resource Management and Planetary Stabilisation.

Once in his cot, the baby spoke, “I’m sorry to bother you, but could I have some milk.” Some things, it seems, never change and poor old Sandra  526 had to go the Kitchenator to get some. While she was there, she inserted a pod of nutrients, roughage  and vitamins into the Cookerater, and pressed ‘Random’: it was nice occasionally to surprise yourself with an unstructured meal and she felt like marking the day. She returned to the baby with the milk, in a container of largely traditional design, and the baby took a few swigs, before Sandra 526 noticed she had injected it with her husbands illicit supply of Jack Daniels, a cult liquid reputed to take imbibers to something resembling paradise within a few sips.

Sure enough, or not sure enough, depending on your viewpoint, the baby began to wave his arms around and sing some fairly fruity songs composed on the terraces of football grounds over a hundred years before: heaven knows how they had survived ‘social values screening’ but it was too late to worry about that now. Within moments, a siren sounded, and a light flashed outside their apartment.

“Unschooled behaviour:  Unschooled behaviour” said the tannoy in a reproachful but not condemnatory tone, the result of much tweeking from Government physcologists, and both Sandra 526 and Opaque 138, knew that questions without convenient answers would soon be posed. Emotions were expressed.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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31 Responses to Drama at the Womberlater

  1. I think that you have pitched this story well to capture what is a fairly thin line between a utopian and a distopian future. Well written!


  2. Caroline says:

    Great post:

    Sandra 526 and Opaque 138, knew that questions without convenient answers would soon be posed. Emotions were expressed.

    Brilliant end – My reaction to your last sentence was “Phew! At last – there’s still hope for us as a species!!!!”


  3. Ina says:

    SF 🙂 Very scary future, but also nice to know Jack Daniels will still be around for a quick sense of paradise lol


  4. jen says:

    Man, the future sure is complicated. So much for technology…


  5. Al says:

    So much for let the “chips” fall as they may.


  6. Brilliant!! Love it!

    We just dont know do we?! I simply love the way you write, you have given me a big smile to start my day. 😄


  7. lexborgia says:

    Twilight Zone, Adams, Huxley. Orwell fans and scifi freaks like myself love this one. What amused me most was the baby actually speaking (I’m sorry to bother you but may I have some milk), not the singing of football songs – babies sing football songs all the time.


  8. Just wanted to say I would love to see a sparrow reading a newspaper. Love this!


  9. What a delightful wake-up! Exploring other genres I see, and doing quite well at it. A professional that can play any beat.


  10. bloggirl52 says:

    I think I belong in this world of yours! Emotions are the enemy. 🙂 There must be something in the air: this was the second short original I’ve read today that has this kind of unique, over-tech, dystopian future theme to it. Excellent story, Peter.


  11. TerryMaggert says:

    Finally, a combination of Barbarella and Britain. Delightful! Was that too enthusiastic?


  12. Frightening and all too believable!


  13. babs50nfab says:

    I’m not a fan of sci-fi, but at least you make it amusing.


  14. randomrose says:

    Thanks for the like at my place. I enjoyed this read immensely. I like the melding of future and past.


  15. Rachael Charmley says:

    Huxley, Orwell, Skinner. I was all set up for a nice twist on the utopia/dystopia theme, then you knocked me for six with the scotch. Wicked fun!


  16. Bravo…Fabulous story ….5 stars. OMG! and it’s the first time I have smiled in weeks. I love your imagination.. hehhe. I almost wet my pants and this is an extraordinary story and I think some intelligent author’s have a certain kind of sex appeal too. Don’t you? Oops!


  17. Enjoyed this. Where can I get a Kitchenator?


  18. araneus1 says:

    The father’s name and the sparrow are personal favourites.


  19. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Ah that surname ‘Bland’. That was my married name. Loathed it, its blandness. Great choice!
    This is so imaginative Peter, and yet somehow possible, as if it’s stirring on the horizon. I liked ‘kitchenator’. Enjoyed this!

    (went away before to go to my Saturday morning yoga class… back now 🙂 )


  20. Sharmishtha says:

    loved it peter! I rather like the unpredictability of present life, so loved the final portion a lot.


  21. nelle says:

    Good initialisation? Very creative story…


  22. Sounds like a Hollywood movie, dude!
    have I told you lately that you rock my socks?!! xxx


  23. That’s quite an imaginative look at the future. Although it seems so high tech and modern, the word that comes to mind is ‘bleak’.


  24. ampbreia says:

    I love it! And, by the way, I’m awarding you the Blogger of the Year 2013 Award because, as usual, you write really good stuff!


  25. ampbreia says:

    Come over and say hello to the originator of the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award via this link –http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2/blog-of-the-year-2013-


  26. downturnabyss says:

    Vaguely unsettling… in the sense that you just know it’s going to be true, and it’s all a matter of time, and there’s nothing you can do except twiddle your thumbs and wait…


  27. gotham girl says:

    This is…once again…outstanding!


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