Memory Farm

Charlie was a baby boomer. And the memories he had of his grandfather were very faint. Only what the old codger had offered up in family settings or relegated to brownish tinted, tattered photographs of a bygone era; old cars, old clothes and old ideas. He had no recollection of his great grandfather, less than faint descriptions of an almost mythical and certainly forgotten character. He was a baby boomer though, and most of them had few memories of any great grandparents. It was different for those born after the 21st century in the US. By that time society was well into a rapid disintegration and young men and women were making children by mistake, as an afterthought. And because they made babies and moved on to other, selfish interests, there were lots of children born in the early 21st who might have known their great grandfather, but in all reality almost would never encounter them in this lifetime. But, he was a baby boomer and he did have a smattering of memories about his father.

It was in the early 21st century when those memories ended. A lot of things ended then. The world began to change. At first, it was just weird changes, but then things got darker. At one time in history, the world citizens had their own ethnic culture and sense of, well for lack of a better word – morality. True, there were dictators, injustices, and evil. There always had been. But at one time, the world citizens had culture as well. Technology only aided the evil that had always been present. The darkness manifested itself in economic control of all the masses by a select few. The effort was further supported by the elimination of privacy and a determined effort to eliminate individualism or free thinking by consumerism and societal values determined by Government Media.

In the early 21st century any free thinker or one of artistic expression was singled out; not by any thought out mechanism, but by a tide of lies and propaganda. George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949 and in 1984, his story had materialized, but very few took notice. Even then control of ideas and memories were being integrated.

Most of the music in the 80’s really sucked. He was a baby boomer. He grew up in the last true artistic era that the US would experience. The music would never be better. Even in the early 21st century, the music of the 60’s & 70’s lived on. But he did have memories of his father. And in those dark times those memories shined like beacons in the night, After the Great Fall and even before, many people around the world and across the US had lost their houses, their hopes and their families. It was all a part of a plan, whether realized or not that would put total control in the hands of a few.

The depopulation movement had gained hold and the concept of an “individual” was looked down on. Things got darker, and there was no one to look to for help, no one to share experiences with. The Daily Screen had replaced all that. Charlie had even wondered in the early 21st century when the first generation of “smart phones” had been marketed if they were really such a good idea. Social media and workplace applications took away the interaction that humans were used to. It was s very subtle developmental engineering tool that was “just the way things happened”.

Charlie sometimes felt like John, the Savage from Brave New World. Nobody that he knew had ever actually read the book, they had seen the synopsis in older versions of the outlawed Wikipedia site that was removed and replaced by the Governmental Media Services tab on the Daily Screen.

Charlie had heard about the Memory Farm and was intrigued by the idea. Because of classification and age he was assigned to the Governmental Agricultural services building, He would never have the opportunity to even enter the building, but the thought became an obsession. He was very depressed when he was first assigned to the Governmental Agricultural services building and even though he was required to receive the Feel-a-reel anti- depressant in his daily water ration. Something had changed in him, in his way of thinking, the day he saw the tulips open.

It was an act of rebellion that had afforded him the opportunity to linger in the growth pods late one day as the work day had ended. The signal had gone off and all the workers had started to return to the atrium to return their tools and return to their living stations, but Charlie lingered. Something about the light on the leaves around the center, right near the bulb. And as he waited, the light shined ever so lightly and the whole plant burst forth in light. And he actually saw the bulb open, so small, but yet so sure. He was never the same after that. He was staring do intently, he remained oblivious to the cessation signal and it was only when two Class 3 attendants had physically grabbed each arm that his concentration was taken off the blooming flower.

They grabbed him roughly and made some crude remarks about his mental state, but Charlie was completely oblivious. He had just had a revelation so powerful, an epiphany so strong, so life changing, so inspiring, that he would never be the same. It was then, at that moment that his fascination with the Memory Farm was fueled and he starting desperately trying to remember anything at all about his father.

All night long Charlie wondered, imagined and visualized what the Memory Farm contained. It was like adrenaline was pumping through his veins and despite the fact that it was almost dawn, Charlie felt as alive as a teenager preparing for his first date. And with the musings and wondering a more desperate scenario was being realized in Charlie’s head – how to get into the Memory Farm.

He realized the ramifications when he would be caught – isolation chamber, Electro therapy or perhaps even death. But after witnessing the tulips opening, nothing really mattered anymore. Perhaps it was the connection of blooming, birth and the relentless curiosity about his father that had given action to this obsession.

As dawn quickly approached, Charlie had conceived his plan. And nothing, not even death would deter him. He mentally visualized each step of his plan, rehearsing it over and over. After breakfast he would be taken to the atrium to begin work .On Fridays only one attendant would be there as the rest of the work crew were dispatched to the fruit and vegetable processing warehouse. It was really against Charlie’s nature, but he planned to hit the attendant from behind with a garden implement, take his uniform and I.D. chip and enter the Memory Farm. What would he find? How soon would he be discovered and how quickly would he die? It really didn’t matter. It was as if the witnessing the tulip blossom brought him to life, it erased the mind programming and set his spirit free.

After breakfast, Charlie followed his plan to perfection. Beating the attendant to death was invigorating to Charlie. He was so tired and crushed over how his life had become that murder wasn’t a fear or concern. As he approached the entrance to the Memory Farm he slipped the I.D. chip into the scanner port and Whoosh! The door opened promptly. He went into the main hall; thousands upon thousands of what looked like viewing stations lined the walls. Charlie quickly entered the first station. With no idea of how to access the equipment Charlie sat motionless, and slowly and quietly he began weeping. Thoughts about his father flooded his mind.

After a moment he looked at the bottom of the screen and saw a pad that looked like it might be a place for a fingerprint. Could it really be that simple? He reached down and placed his finger on the pad. All of a sudden a myriad of numbers and codes flashed across the screen. Flashing almost seemingly at the speed of light the numbers finally stopped. The background screen went from deep purple to a greenish hue and then Charlie saw his name flash on the screen: CHARLES EVANS ID# 37375.

Charlie felt a lump in his throat and the tears continued as the screen faded to a lighter sepia tone Charlie’s whole life was documented. A combination of what looked like home movies and Government surveillance video sped forward, and at one point Charlie recognized him and his dad playing. He fumbled for the controls and somehow the screen frame went into slow motion. Charlie was six years old and he and his dad were playing chase in the park. It was fall and the leaves were lazily drifting to the ground. They were both laughing and running. His dad caught up with him and hugged him and they fell on the ground in laughter.

Tears streamed down Charlie’s face. He wept profusely, and then, as the attendants placed the immobilizer into Charlie’s neck, his tears stopped.

 

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