Listen to the music
The second hand ticked past twelve, once again, marking off the passing of another minute. Since the new regime had begun, seconds seemed slower. The tick, tick, tick, previously annoyingly perky, now felt like a dirge. But of course, even dirges were now forbidden. The clock provided the only rhythm in a depressingly non-musical reality. I sat at my desk watching the leaves outside gently ripple in the spring breeze.
I startled as my phone rang, or rather, buzzed, the ring had been decreed too tonal to be allowed, too tinklingly stimulating. I picked up.
“Saunders? You're out. You were heard whistling in the lift this morning. You have 20 minutes to vacate”.
A soft click, then silence. Fuck. I had been alone in that lift. The bastards must have cameras in there. Or at least microphones. I reached for my pencil case, and opened the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet to remove the itchy wool jumper I kept there for the days when the heating packed in. Such was the sum of my possessions in this drab place. I powered off my v-desk, rose, and left the building. I hoped that my impending reassignment would not be too awful – punishment was inevitable, but I prayed for manual labour, road laying or undertaking, anything but another shitty data entry position.
In the lift on the way down I resisted flipping the bird to the powers that be. Whatever I ended up doing next it had to be better than this. And at least it would only be 3 days a week. Since the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition had won the 2017 election in a shock victory, unemployment had plummeted to nearly zero, and wages were far more equitable. The prohibition of inheritance in 2020 had further levelled the playing field and the shift to a communist totalitarian state in 2025 had solidified the socialist utopia, a beautiful world indeed, but, alas, a tuneless one. Was it worth it? The only legal melodies I’d heard in 5 years now had come from the birds. The instruments had all been melted down or dismantled to create wind turbines, a green revolution had accompanied the socialist one, and we breathed fresher air for it.
But they couldn't monitor us everywhere.
That night I left my flat, glancing furtively over my shoulder as I mounted my hover board and flew silently down the streets. I kept my lights off, illuminated sufficiently by the waxing moon, near full. As I neared the abandoned church, I grew still more uneasy, something was amiss, but I could see or hear nothing. I put my nerves down to over-caffeinating all afternoon; having been dismissed shortly after lunch, there seemed little else to do but sit and drink coffee, eagerly awaiting the evening ahead. I entered the church, nodding hello to Dean and Jessica, seated at the drums and the double bass respectively. Hooking my mic up to my battery, I clicked the switch to ‘on’, as a wall of heat and light and finality encompassed us all.