Chris R-1-160 Image by Christine Renney

I once had the chip, the Anti-Bad. I was a petty criminal and a repeat offender and so was deemed suitable. Someone who couldn’t help but help himself. They made me an offer and I didn’t refuse. What choice did I have? The prospect of a prison sentence, of yet another chunk of my life, diced and cubed behind bars, was unbearable and so I chose the chip.
I didn’t read the small print but simply signed all of the documents and allowed them to insert the chip into the back of my head, low down and just above the neck, in a place where even now I still have a little hair left, and no-one can see the scar or would ever know that it had once been there.
I didn’t really believe the chip would work. If it did I was convinced that I could beat it or would be able to cope with the pain and discomfort, to manage it. The worst case scenario was that I would have to toe the line for a couple of years, go straight as it were. I was arrogant, cocky, they were the suckers and I was the one in control. How bad could it be? A few headaches and a little nausea but at least I would be out in the world and not locked up in a prison cell.
It was minor operation and relatively painless, performed at a private clinic. I was in and out in a matter of hours. I had to report in once a week but other than that I was set free, allowed to go wherever and do whatever I wanted. They informed me that I wouldn’t feel any effects from the chip, that it wouldn’t start working for at least twenty four hours.

As I walked away from the clinic my head was spinning. I was in a state of confused elation. I hadn’t expected this free time. It was a gift, a whole twenty four hours in which I really could do just as I pleased. My first thought was that I would go out that night and do a little breaking and entering. No, I would do a lot of breaking and entering, as many properties as I could manage, for as long as I was able. But of course I would have to wait until it was dark, until the early hours and this would mean wasting most of the time or at least half of it. All of the day light hours squandered. No, what I needed to do was to purchase a gun. I had a little cash hidden away in my room. I would steal a car and set off on a spree, robbing convenience stores and twenty four hour service stations, moving quickly and helping myself from the cash registers. I would build up the kitty, my nest egg. And whilst chipped, I would make use of these spoils and live in the lap of luxury.
But what if the chip did work and I wasn’t able to spend the money I hadn’t acquired honestly? I needed to settle and to clear my head.
I wandered into town and eventually I found myself sitting in the corner of a quiet café. I was annoyed with myself. I should have read all of those documents and if I had I would have been aware of this and I could have made preparations and planned something, something big, something swift and lucrative, a bank job perhaps.
And then suddenly I felt the pain in my head. It was searing, excruciating and although it had arrived suddenly no matter how hard I tried it didn’t dissipate, it didn’t lessen. And through the pain I became aware that the counter girls were staring across at me and, holding my head, I continued to howl

4 thoughts on “ANTI-BAD

  1. This is an intetesting piece, Mark, not least because, given that we have arrived at a point of hyper political-correctness and excessive (if I may use the term) focus on the rights of the individual over those of society and for the greater good, this is just the kind of reaction that may be just around the corner. Food for thought, indeed.

    1. I fear that if we were to use this type of tactics it would be at the expense of all our civil liberties. Thank you so much Chris. It’s really good to hear that you find this piece thought provoking.

      1. I agree totally, Mark, but one can never be certain as to what extent those who ‘control’ the system may already be manipulating us: publicising crime to use fear as a control mechanism could be a powerful weapon, whilst whisking away those who challenge the state a strong way to maintain the status quo. I realise that this might seem extreme but there is much that is already kept/ hidden from us (in the same way that religion was used in the past) and, for as long as the rich and powerful protect one another’s interests, things can only become more extreme.
        I’ll stop now – you’ve stimulated my sense of fairness enough!

      2. I know just what you mean Chris. Sometimes it’s difficult not to get tied up with conspiracy theories and such. I find writing fiction like this can be an outlet. But yes big business and the media tycoons definitely have the inclination and ultimately the power to control how we think.

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