Colon Foxworth

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  • icon Civic Duty



Colon Foxworth is a former trial lawyer and sports fanatic who hopes to combine his meager literary talent with an earnestness for writing that may result in something that piques the interest of the reader, if not stir her soul. He resides in Middle America, both literally and figuratively.

Civic Duty

Arnold Adam lay strapped on the gurney, an IV tube in his arm. They had come for him earlier, taking him from his pod to the Science Center. His electronic handcuffs and leg irons had been removed quickly. The attendants were efficiently preparing for the procedure.

    Adam looked up at one of the attendants, a young woman with a chestnut brown eyes peering sharply over her surgical mask. He decided to tell her what was on his mind and in his heart.

    “I don't want to do this! I know I agreed . . .”

    “Inmate, you've got no choice. It's your sentence,” replied the attendant in a terse voice.

    “I've changed my mind! How can you do this? You have medical ethics!”

    “Inmate, your sentence has been approved by the Council. Our oath is to the nation-state. ”

    “But, what about my life! It won't be improved, it'll be over! That's assuming it even works!”

    “The procedure works, inmate. Its been tested numerous times. Our technology to preserve the life functions when facilitating the transplant is exceptional.”

    “It won't be me!”

    “It will be your body. That's you. Your brain and its functions, desires, and memories are being disposed of here today. You will receive an acceptable brain which serves a vital purpose for our glorious nation-state.”

    “That's only because I agreed! I've changed my . . . I want to speak to my attorney!”

    Another attendant, a short man, spoke rapidly. “The recent amendment to the Constitutional Charter abrogates the right of counsel for people convicted of crimes such as yours.” He paused. “Plus,the Council forbids you to have any contact with your previous attorney, friends, or family. It's not

    “I didn't think this through! I don't want the transplant! I didn't do anything wrong!”

    “You were a Negative Producing Citizen without exemption. The nation-state made that status a crime decades ago.”

    “I can change! I'll make more money, just give me another chance!”

    The man said, “You had the five year redemption period after your initial warning. It's too late. It's time for you to produce a positive return for our nation-state.”

    “The Council graciously allowed you to contribute your production by this program. In barbaric times, you might have been imprisoned”, added the female.

    Adam was suddenly resigned to his future. It had sounded better than being stripped of his citizenship and banished from the nation-state forever. He had assumed that having a new brain would make him smarter, not eradicate all his memories and replace his thoughts. He should have asked more questions, but he had faith that the Council knew best. It was in the Charter. No matter what Adam's faults were, he had always followed the law to the best of his knowledge.

    “I guess you're right.” he said. “Will this hurt? Is there any chance I will remember anything?”

    The man answered. “Your cognitive functions will cease immediately upon injection of the preserving sleep agent. We will simultaneously prep the replacement organ so the implantation will take place quickly, reducing the odds of rejection.”

    “So, my body and soul wake up if everything goes well, but my mind will be asleep?”

The woman spurted, “Science has officially rejected the existence of a soul! There is no quantifiable evidence. As such, the Council has banned discussion of it. You should know that.”

    “Sorry.” Adam paused as they worked. “You said my cognitive functions stop. Can I dream?”

    “The research on that is inconclusive.”

    “Is it possible, at least?”

    “Theoretically. We make no promises. The Council forbids guarantees not firmly rooted in accepted scientific research. The most likely scenario, given what we know, is that you'll have the same awareness as prior to your birth.”

    “Meaning nothing?”

    “You could put it that way.” The female attendant answered with no emotion.

    “My brain will be kept, right? There's a chance it could be used in the future, right?”

    The man spoke to the woman. “We're almost ready to proceed with extraction and implantation.” To Adam he said, “It's unlikely. The Council hasn't yet approved implantation of an NPC brain into a Volunteer Undesirable Citizen. However, the preservation module will keep your brain for two centuries, by Council rule. Things could change, but don't count on it.”

    Adam's thoughts flickered as the attendants finished preparation. The drug that flowed through his veins made him sleepy. He knew it wouldn't be long now. Maybe they were wrong. Maybe he would retain his memories with a new brain in his body. Maybe one day his brain would be used in another body. It was possible. He just hoped he would dream while he slept. Of course, he wished for happy dreams.

    The Director came in and stood over Adam. He had a piece of paper in his hand and wore the regal brown uniform of his advanced level within the nation-state. Adam's gaze was losing focus but he heard the initial words clearly.

    The Director said, “Inmate Arnold Adam, having been charged with the crime of being a Negative Producing Citizen as the value of your production being less than the value of what the nation-state provided for you; and having confessed your guilt thereto; and having agreed to the implantation of a suitable brain in your body for a purpose that will benefit the productivity of the nation-state; the procedure ordered by the honorable Council To Improve The Nation-State will commence at the conclusion of this statement.

    The brain to be implanted in your body is that of a multilingual criminal proficient in arson and explosives. The purpose of combining this mind with your body is counterespionage in a country hostile to our nation-state. The Council recognizes your dedicated citizenship in this regard. You are officially pardoned for your productive deficiency. Your family members, both living and your descendants, will have the demerits in their files expunged. Our nation-state is grateful. You've done your civic duty.”

    Arnold Adam smiled with pride as the last sentence was spoken.