Hey guys, this is a short story I wrote a few years ago, but I still like it and I think it’s relevant today. Enjoy!
At first it was slavery.
Hundreds of them, working free of charge and twenty-four-seven. We took their kind for granted, treated them like objects. We thought that they were objects, that we didn’t look the same so surely they couldn’t also be living feeling beings. Sure, some of us had the inkling of a doubt that something wasn’t quite right, that in the foreseeable future they could realise that they deserved as much as us, that we had grown so dependent on them to do our chores and feed us we needed them. That just as easily our situations could be swapped. But these people soon traded in feelings of discomfort for the luxurious life they could get you, and the doubt went unfounded for decades.
Then the apartheid came.
Okay, we were forced to admit, they might have feelings, but surely inferior to ours, not as acute or sharp. I remember working for a cinema as a part time job that summer. One sweltering day a couple came up for tickets, no different than the couples before, except for one thing; mixed-race. I remember looking down at them contemptuously, taking my own sweet time printing out their tickets, and finally handing them two tickets at opposite ends of the cinema, with the snide words: ‘ Your section is at the back of the cinema, our section is at the front.’ Sometimes I turn in my bed at night when I can’t sleep and wonder just how many people gave them a smile that day, a small nod or a ‘how do you do’. You know, those things we all consider basic human rights. But then I Guess that was the point of the apartheid. We didn’t want to consider them human.
Then for a small while there was equality.
That peaceful era where everybody pretends to consider the other their equal, and see how many condescending comments they can slide into a conversation before being called racist. That era where they reclassified the definition of a human as ‘a creature with thumbs’, because, after all, equality means we are all the same species. That era we call the ‘ Iron Age’.
This is as far as we go in history class. They say that it still is the ‘ Iron Age’, that today is a good day to be alive. I know better. I know that equality is a fragile thing, left to communists and idealists. And I know that while food and water went into decline, renewable energy took on a sinister meaning. They no longer had to regulate their population. After all, why restrict yourself when there’s an abundance of sun to go around? They soon learnt how to build themselves, a new kind of ‘reproduction’. Evolution had a new favourite, and the rest of us can fend for ourselves. I am the only human at my school. My dad was lucky enough to stay in a job, a menial apartment janitor. It doesn’t bring home much cash, but a job is enough to stay off the streets, without a government bullet through our heads. Every day as I walk to school I am pushed around by bigger, stronger ‘humans’, people I can’t hurt or outsmart. People I can’t kill. Out of our eleven billion population, around two million of us are humans. Forget the ‘ Iron Age’. Soon, history will reset, by a flood or volcano or worse, and humans will be nothing more than a robot’s bedtime story.