2124…not looking too good.
Unemployment so bad they stopped keeping track…wanted a place to live on your own...well, already used up your family/friends/acquaintances chits...so you hit the streets...not like that's new...or got yourself hooked up with some techmods, chained together around a post so they'd stay put in a wind storm...a lot easier with maybe three of them at a time…one set aside for a potty…enough free solar to go around so you could pump some water or read a book at night...didn't make it stress-free, only slightly more tolerable…Walmart parking lots great for this...nobody shopped there anymore… toxicity levels inside the stores off the charts...old man Walmart's revenge after the union Court victories.
Food situation made housing look positively cheery…anything not already setting off a Geiger-counter prohibitively moldy...unless you'd lost your sense of smell...not a hard thing to do with the pervasiveness of an interesting new strain of flu…destroyed nostril neurons, double whammy of no-smell/no-taste...still didn't give those furry food items much desirability…no, what you really wanted…a chance at a locker that hadn't been raided…a compound where somebody was feeling generous…maybe let go a few FreeRadBars.
Oddly enough, clothing was never really a problem…you could lay your hands on a couple of those loose-fitting nano-robes…might look genderless...not really an issue...but you'd be whatever temperature you set the thing at...someone could always help customize it…you'd look just as kewl as you wanted...of course this was a fad…could always get knocked out if the higher ups felt like it.
Getting all philosophical…engaging with someone over this stuff, okay…you could do that…it was alright to talk…talk your head off for all the good it did…make some posters or something…nothing would stick to anything…actually pretty clean everywhere…no garbage or detritus…not that it was gone, no, just out of sight…if you could still smell, you certainly caught that.
Trickiest thing continued to be what the heck to do…after everything reasonable had been done to death…sign up for all the programs, blah, blah…do some half-assed extra work in a crowd scene that needed real bodies for a change…another fad…meh. That's when some genius came up with Patrol.
See, people were still being born, there were still children & where there's a child, there's a birthday party…amazingly enough…little enclaves where the moppets could go nuts for a while…certainly not at home, nuh-uh, seriously frowned upon…but lots of miniature parachute-jump or mountain-conquest…"safer than Everest!" or a totally retro mini-golf, my favorite going way back to the 'teens when I hadn't even hit 90 yet…here's the catch, though: doesn't matter where you go or what you do, without the fees it is expressly forbidden to sing Happy Birthday.
Yep, those two dames…wrote the song a couple of centuries ago & still have a strangle hold on that little ditty…their heirs now charge such hideous amounts to use the damn tune, much less the words…you can go seriously broke before you've even thought about kake or kandles. The Court would totally back those bitches up. Naturally, anybody with a Certificate of Worth gets a pass on the fees, but…sheesh! Many of those floating around? Nah, strictly underground. Which is where KatGot hatched the scheme for Patrol.
Easy enough to crunch the profit numbers…plenty scofflaws around who just on principle like to play it dangerous…the question is: how to catch them in the act? See, the law says if you're a ┬╝ wayinto it, too soon, ┬ż through the song, too late; you gotta catch 'em exactly half-way: this way, the law says you might have been confused & wanted to stop, which is okay…no harm, no foul…or you might not have been actually singing it at all since it's almost over & hard to tell at that point. Half-way through & they've got your asses, but that's fuckin' hard to do.
So, that's the genius of Patrol…imagine hordes of homeless and/or unemployed roaming the world…searching, spying with instant M…worthless on the black market, btw…but able to transmit an entire rendition of the piece-of-crap song, thus making it impossible to refute illegality. Plus these roving schmucks get coin of the realm for their efforts…which lasts a micro-second, but what do they care?
Tried a month or so of this shit…almost worth it to see cops show up & scare the crap out of kids…but even I have some scruples.
Let 'em have their party.
Leave 'em the fuck alone.