Crash, By 72
It was hot.
My shirt was soaked in sweat... at least, that's what the small amount of perspiration felt like. I was so dehydrated I didn't believe I had the extra water to sweat. I was hungry and tired. But the police didn't care. They worked us until we passed out. Some of the soldiers died from overexhaustion or malnutrition. Sometimes both.
They were the lucky ones.
The survivors, the kids who had something to live for and refused to die, suffered from countless sunburns, parched throats and aching muscles. After all, if you didn't have a family you wanted to see, a dream you hoped to make a reality, what was the point of going on? I had my friends, Cameron had his wife. My friends were the only reason I had stayed alive in this camp for four years.
God, it was hot.
Building up huge walls only to have them knocked down again during the war; that was our job. Each brick, marked with a name and a date, was bound to fall sooner or later. I marked the brick I had just cemented to the base.
May 8th, 4012
I remember the day like I remember my own name. Like how some people remember their favorite color or the first time they stood up on a surfbord. The image of his mouth shaping the words was so vivid I could have been in a trance as I remembered.
The day the current president of both Americas, Drew Don, annouced slavery was being legalized.
"We are now selling people who are not rich enough to be in the country to China, as another form of payback. This is a positive impact, people; less crowded cities, help with debt, and econemy boosted."
And my reaction: Oh, shit. This means I'm the first to go.
When the police finally rang the nightbell, signaling to everyone that the work day was over, there was a mad dash for the showers.
But I had figured out long ago that cold water felt better on my skin after a long workday, so I let other boys rush around me, scrambling to get the hot water. And only a few select people had figured out the water from the showers was drinkable. Another reason why I preferred to let the hot water run out before I could finally rinse the dust and sweat from my skin. It was also the reason I had survived this long.
The Florida workers were worked the hardest, because Florida was the most vulnerable point in the original states. The war was far from over, and other countries were far from giving up the idea of forcing themselves into the country to take what the US government owed thrm. Our nation had been avoiding paying off debt to China and parts of Europe for so long, those countries had planned secret attacks to enter the country and steal millions of dollars from the most wealthy people in America. They also went so far as to hold these people for ransom. The government finally got the message. Except for one tiny problem... America didn't have enough money top pay the countries back.
I walked back to my bunk and grabbed my towel. In the cabin, the police had already layed the tinfoil meals out on our pillows. Cameron, my bunk mate who also neglected to take whatever advantages the hot showers provided, was sitting on the floor cross-legged, already digging into his small portion of crushed vegetables and three cubic inches of meet.
"Hey, man," I greeted him.
"Hill," he replied as we shook hands.
Cameron and I had been friends since the first attack we had both survived in 4010, just after slavery was legalized and I had run from a Chinese master I was sold to back to America. To pay off debt, the government had started selling people to foreign countries we owed money to. The government thought that by raising taxes, they could raise enough money to pay other countries back. The people that couldn't pay the taxes were simply classified as homeless; aka, to be sold. My father was gone by the time I had come back to America... I guess he couldn't avoid being taken for a slave anymore. That's what I wanted to believe. But a girl in my school had been robbed for her parents money back when everyone was in a panic to protect themselves. Her parents themselves had been shot to their deaths during the robbery. She had been shot in the arm but lived. And that's how America was.
By the time I had gotten in line for the showers, the line had shortened drastically. I waited behind a line of nine other men for a few minuted before I finally got the four minute shower I had looked forward to all day. As soon as I finished, I filled the tuperware container I had stolen from a trash can in the kitchen with the ice-cold water. I drank for the last minute of my shower, out of the spout. When the signal beeped and the water ran out, I walked outside in the sun to air-dry, carefully wrapping a towel around my waist so as not to spill my precious supply of water. When I got to the cabin, Cameron was gone.