Prompt Day #343: We all know what “hate crime” is and what makes it so despicable. But think about the phrase. What if it was really against the law to feel hatred or any dark emotion whatsoever? Construct a plot around this restriction.
A few things I want to say. 1. I am so close to starting my residency and beginning work on my thesis novel. I have to focus a lot on it right now. I am going to finish these 22 prompts, but I can’t put the time and effort I have been. They will be shorter and they may just be plots/paragraphs/the beginnings of pieces rather than whole short stories. (This one, for instance, isn’t finished, sorry. It’s an idea that needs a lot more time and attention) 2. I am going to be skipping around a lot i.e. the numbers will not match those in the book because I have to go with what comes to my head. 3. This one seemed appropriate today anyways.
The Day The Music Died
I was seventeen and a half at the time. Just six short months and I could have voted. So many days I spend wondering how things might have turned out if my generation had been able to vote. We were so ready to change things. And now, we are the generation to suffer the most. We know what we lost, we know these severe all-or-nothing laws fester and lead to something no one ever meant. It just always does, you know?
The “Mood Ring” law was passed in The spring of 2017, not long after one of the most dangerous men in the history of the world was voted into power. He was gasoline on a fire of ignorance and hate. One of his brain dead followers got the idea to control people’s emotions. Make rage and hate a crime. That was the vote we didn’t get a say in. And within a year, we were all required to have devices implanted into the hippocampus of our brains. The monitor of these devices looked like the stone of a mood ring which was surgically embedded in the centers of our foreheads where our moods could be recorded and audited at all times.
So, we all struggled to keep our anger and rage in check. “Oh, watch, your stone’s turning red.” We’d say and the poor soul would go outside to walk it off or meditate or count to ten. Whatever it took. In the beginning, we all got three warnings before an arrest, but five years in, there were no more warnings. Five years in, we learned something else too. Strong feelings of any sort (love, passion, laughter, pain) were siblings of hate and rage. They shared 99.9% of their DNA. Soon, we were being warned against any strong feelings. It was best, and government recommended that everyone maintain a copasetic attitude towards everything.
Have you figured out where this is going? Can you imagine a world full of Stepford Wives? A world of gray. We all walked around like fools on thorazine. So, without strong emotions, we all got along fine, there was peace alright, but there wasn’t art, there wasn’t music, there weren’t books filled with wondrous places or frightening horrors. All the things that made us humans, were the same things that were not outlawed.
People tried to disconnect the devices, they tried to develop secret, lead-lined speak easies…they were arrested, found guilty and promptly put to death. In this new “democracy” anarchy was a death sentence. Life itself became a death sentence.
Something had to be done. But we had to think about it carefully, we had to think about it in such a way that no emotions would get out of control. We had to be clever.