Publisher Description

A couple recently moved into a "master planned gated community", kept up to exacting standards by aerial surveillance, "helpful" bureaucrats, and of course the their vigilant homeowner's association. For some reason, all that doesn't stop urban decay. The constant micromanagement and greedy pencil pushers get to be a little too much for them, especially after being forced to worship a parking meter.

This farcical satire of suburbia illustrates that totalitarianism isn't always an iron-fisted dictatorship (yet), and it may be closer to home than one might think.


Vinnie said, "We would like to speak with someone in charge. Who's the head of this outfit?"

She sighed. "Ms. Beria is in an all-day meeting. Tomorrow too. And she doesn't liaise with the general public."

"Is there someone else who, you know, does?"

She started drumming her fingers. "Well, there's Mr. Bathory. He had an appointment for two minutes ago, but it got cancelled. He's the assistant secretary for the ROFLCOPTER program."

"The what?"

"Residential Over-Flight Lawn Compliance Observation Project Telemetric Enforcement Robot. You know, the drone that goes through the streets every week to make sure that yards are all in order. You should be glad that the City of Atropia is performing this valuable service to the public in order to keep standards maintained and property values high."

"Oh, is that the contraption that ratted me out for the 'lawn crime'? The first time I saw it from the bedroom window, I thought I was having a nightmare. Anyway, sure, we'll see Mr. Bathory."

The munchkin sighed, reluctantly minimized the card game, and brought up an ungainly interface for The Computer. The browser that it displayed on crashed and had to be started again. The second time went better. After a few clicks, she announced, "Sorry, the Computer won't let me schedule an appointment after the time slot has begun."

Julie asked, "Could you just show us to his desk?"

"Not without scheduling an appointment in The Computer."

Vinnie exclaimed, "This is absurd!"

"Lower your voice, mister! Normally I'd let you in, but it's Policy."

Fiction & Literature
August 17
Rainbow Albrecht

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