Featured Review on this writing by Jeff Bezaire

The Fence

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


Written for a BoMoWriCha House Challenge.

Submitted: September 17, 2018

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Submitted: September 17, 2018

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The Fence.

In a secret room, a secret meeting is being held. No announcement of this one in spite of the powerful positions held by those in attendance. This is absolutely TOP SECRET. If word should ever leak out it would all have been for nothing, all the years of planning, the investment. It simply could not be allowed to fail.

So everything is ready to start things rolling.”

Everything is in place.”

And how long before it would be fully working?”

Five years. That should see the entire thing up and running, but there will be stages, starting immediately.”

And everyone knows their lines, their speeches. There can be no slip-ups.”

Yes. The story has been fully circulated. No one will suspect the truth, let alone talk about it.”

Excellent! Then let Operation Fence Post begin!”

* * * *

The influenza strain seemed to be spreading rapidly. There was a vaccination but not enough for the entire population. Those of thirty years and under were invited to come along and get their jabs, and very few resisted it.

Graham and Kevin stood in line. The needles looked unusually big for flu jabs, but then again, this was an unusual type of flu. Strangely it had yet to spread to other countries; just as well as it was killing off the population right, left and center.

So what are your plans,” Graham asked, trying to distract himself from what was going on up ahead.

Ah, I don’t know.” Kevin looked at the floor. “There hardly seems much point in going through college when half the graduates end up in dead-end jobs. Let’s face it, if things carry on like this there will be plenty of work to go around.”

Well, I’m going. Starting next month. A five year course. I want more than just a job, I feel I’m achieving something worthwhile.”

Their conversation was cut short when Kevin went off to one nurse and Graham to another. They were very different people, with very different plans. Really, they did not have much that they could talk about now that their futures were set to take very different paths.

* * * *

How is the plan taking shape?”

There was a very high up-take of the ‘inoculations’. About 85% of those thirty -two years old, down to eighteen have now been tagged.”

And no one has suspected anything?”

Not so far. Increased security measures were put in place at the outbreak of the influenza. They are still up and running, ready to be switched to scan mode at a moment’s notice.”

Good....good. We have a lot riding on the success of this operation. Several other countries have expressed interest, depending on how this goes.”

* * * *

Graham looked through the posts available. There were some tempting ones at home, but he’d always had it in mind to move to another country one day. It would be nice to be a part of somewhere else, get used to their way of doing things. He could always return home at a later date, after he had experienced life elsewhere.

That was what he thought, but when he headed out to update his passport and visa, anything else he might need, he met up with a wall of refusal.

I am sorry but you will not be permitted to leave the country.” The woman sitting behind the desk announced this as she looked at the screen in front of her, the screen that had read Graham’s tag.

“Sorry? Would you mind repeating that?” he asked, convinced that he must have heard wrong.

All highly-skilled people are to remain within the country. There are plenty of interesting opportunities to explore here; I’m sure you will be able to find a vacancy that fits your requirements.”

But....but that’s why I became trained. So I could travel, find work elsewhere.” Graham could not believe what he was hearing. “What about holidays? Am I permitted to leave the country for them.”

There is no need. There are plenty of places for you to spend your vacation here.”

So, just let me get this straight. You are keeping me a prisoner in my country of birth? Why?”

Actually," the woman said, "we will be keeping you here, in this building, until the end of the week. Once the announcement has been formally made you will be free to go and find yourself that highly skilled job right on home soil.”

* * * *

Kevin had no trouble getting his passport or visa sorted out. It was almost as though they were trying to make it easy for him to leave. Did they want to get rid of him or something?

Discount travel was freely available, and the choice of destinations open to him was staggering. He’d not expected to be able to afford much, seeing as he had floated from one unskilled job to another. There were always people queuing to take over his position should he perform less than satisfactorily. Unskilled work was definitely in decline; the robots and AI had seen to that. Too many people for too few jobs.

For a moment Kevin considered whether he would have been better off to have spent the last five years gaining those skills. No, he decided; he was better off this way.

And he felt like that all the way through his holiday until it was time to return home and he found his access to his own country of birth was being denied. “Where am I supposed to go then?” he had demanded.

You should have thought of that when you decided to leave your home soil,” was the only answer that he received.

* * * *

The man, the Big Man, cleared his throat, stood still for make-up to do their last bit of fiddling, then he turned towards the country, a resolute expression on his face.

Following decades and decades of skilled workers being attracted away from their own country this opportunity is now being denied. Those that take advantage of state-funded training to acquire skills will now be forced to put these skills to use here. To work for the good of those that have granted them access to receive such training in the first place.

No more skill shortages for a country that invests so much in education. Talented individuals will remain here.

Those who have not acquired skills that are in demand, who show no talent in regards to areas in which there is a demand, may stay and compete for the openings available for them. However, should they elect to leave the country for any reason, they will find that their right to re-entry is no longer in existence.

Thank you for your co-operation in allowing us to put the ‘Talent Fence’ in place.”

Following the announcement there was a lot of confusion. How had anyone co-operated? No one had known anything about the entire thing. It didn’t take long to work it out though, now that it was too late to change anything. The manufactured flu, the inoculations that injected tags – it all began to make sense..

Maybe one day some talented individual would work out a way to break the system that had been so sneakily put in to place, but for now there was nothing more to do than to obey.

 

(1259 words).

 


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