Rule 655: A Short Story By Elena Sanders

The world is bleak. You can agree or disagree, I’m just simply saying four words. If I were to ask someone “what their image of a utopia is?” their typical response would be a lush environment. Funny thing is, that’s how the Earth used to be. There were no cars, minimal infrastructure, and trees as far as the eye could see. Overtime, we have progressed. We have learned more efficient ways to go about accomplishing tasks. Rather than walking, we discovered how to build automobiles. Rather than hand sewing garments, we built factories and machines to do 99% of the work. Efficiency. That’s the most important thing in this world. I’ve learned that max efficiency yields the max amount of product, which leads to the most amount of revenue. All of that economic talk states that anything getting in the way of this ideal process should be eliminated immediately.

Rule 655: Human interaction is outlawed in the United States

Silence. Voices no longer echoed throughout the streets. Laughter wasn’t heard in any restaurant, and the simple joy of an embrace didn’t exist anymore. This one rule that the government enacted two years ago has changed the society that I live in forever. You might be wondering, what led us to this point? It’s a long story, but, we were slacking. This shouldn’t surprise you, but people went to work and socialized. I’m sure everyone has hidden out in the back room to avoid the crushing weight of their job at some point. Yet, this laziness in the workforce was becoming more and more apparent. With the excessive use of technology in our lives, we were no longer able to focus on a task for longer than ten minutes. Our minds were never in the present, they were constantly thinking about what was next in our schedule. The United States was falling behind in production and productivity. We simply couldn’t keep up with other countries such as Germany, Ireland, France, and the United Kingdom. The government saw this problem and rationalized that the only way to solve the issue of laziness was to eliminate distractions. One of the biggest distractions they recognized was other people. By eliminating human interaction, we would be able to focus all of our attention to the task at hand. No interferences. Some of you may be thinking that this rule isn’t terrible. I mean, who likes talking to other people, anyway? I’d agree with you, for an hour max.
The silence is like a blanket that engulfs our country. At first, it was okay. A nice cozy break from society. Then the silence gets insanely hot and unbearable, and the only thing you want to do is to shove the blanket off. The only problem is that you don’t have a choice. It begins suffocating you, but you can’t speak anymore. Your individuality is gone. I need you to understand that people have essentially become machines. They wake up, get dressed, go to work, work, then come home to sleep and repeat their mundane tasks every single day. With the occasional meals strewn in the mix. This is not how I want to live my life. I grew up in a world where every day was a new adventure. Where each conversation created new memories and stories. I lived during a time where people could talk to each other when they were going through a tough time in their life. People were there for each other. People cared.
As I looked down on the world that has been made for absolute efficiency, I frowned. What happened to society? I stepped off the ledge of the 33rd floor of the Ritz-Carlton and fell to my death. One loud thud occurred. My mangled body strewn across the sidewalk, blood painted the building, and not one eye turned to look. The only response was silence.