Story For Harrison Bergeron

Reads: 443  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was a story I had to write in a hurry for my English teacher, it was of course, inspired by the story of Harrison Bergeron, another fictional victim of a "utopia". I just want to publish this to see how good a story I can come up with and tell in less than two hours.

Submitted: September 18, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 18, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

Story for Harrison Bergeron

“Please make sure that all headgear is held secure in place with the proper straps. Remember kids, too much play in the headgear could interfere as to which part of the brain it transmitted too, and that could result in some “issues” that we’d rather not have to deal with. So please kids, keep them strapped tight!

I accepted my headgear grudgingly, but with a bright smile upon my face. There had to be, once you were out in public, you always smiled, because that was your public face. Everyone was always happy in public, in fact, to a credulous man; Dallas was now the happiest city on earth. I could see right through them though, phonies the lot of them, but soon, I’d join them, because once you turned eighteen, you weren’t just forced to wear headgear in class, but anywhere in public. To keep your opinions from adulterating the perfect vision of harmony that Dallas was away from its homes, its families, and its soul.

I pulled the headgear on, and tightened the straps until there was no play in it at all. The heat from my temple activated the device, and with a cacophonic whirling of miniscule gears, the headgear booted up. I felt a sharp pain in the back of my head as the scanners started looking into my brain. It felt like there was a constant scratching in the back of my head now, like I had a bumblebee’s honeycomb in the back of my head. Last year, freshmen year for me at Booker T., I would have tried to lean over to Sydney, who sat in the desk to my left, and make a joke of it, but I knew the scanner would simply override me, and when I opened my mouth, the words would simply stick in my mouth like glue. You were only allowed to express opinions in private places, as my teacher Mrs. Rose, so lovingly reminded us every other day, only facts were allowed in public. I thought, and the government will decide what the facts are for us.

A red light temporarily flashed in my left eye. It was a warning. Another voice involuntarily entered his head, a monotonous recorded message, Attention student. You are thinking especially private thoughts, save those for private places. You have two more warnings. I stopped thinking then. I had never gone beyond the second strike, never gone so far as to think three “especially private” thoughts in a day, but he had seen those who did, and I knew it wasn’t worth it.

Mrs. Rose calmly proceeded to teach her subject, Algebra, and was not entirely bad about it. Normally she just lectured and expected you to copy it all down. I inevitably did bad on the tests, because unfortunately I was that type of learner who likes to learn with conversation, so I had gained some infamy in her class for being a bad note taker. But fortunately for me she decided to take questions today, and unfortunately for her, I had a ton of questions. It wasn’t even that I really needed that much help, but with the headgear on, I still tried to take every chance I could to express myself, even if that expression was through my ignorance.

After a while Mrs. Rose stopped calling on me altogether and I was left staring at my desk. I didn’t feel like taking notes, not today. The headgear had even cut me off from my friends in public, because even if I somehow made some neutered joke for them about the subject, they couldn’t even tell me if it was good or bad. They might want to, but I’d have to wait until I got home, and call them, and maybe the joke wasn’t funny. That would make me really depressed, and I didn’t want to be depressed today, and it made my friends depressed too, because they could only talk to me on the phone, or when my parents took me over to their house.  Maybe I’d get a car, and then I could go over to Sydney’s house, or Roderick’s, or Donald’s, but right now I was just here, stuck in a rut because of this stupid headgear.

I had to stop ruminating because Mrs. Rose was handing out a quiz on the notes we had just taken. I thought, Maybe I’ll get a good grade on this one. I got to talk about it, so I’ll probably do pretty well this time. Mrs. Rose held out the scantron with my name on it. It was neatly stamped, carved, too perfectly typed onto the paper to be real. I thought, it’s just like me when I have this headgear on, bright and shiny, I look real good, and I can bark at the right call, and sure I have my freedom at home, but here I’m just a puppet, a shadow of what I truly am!

Both of my eyes had a red-out, for lack of a better explanation. I suddenly felt claustrophobic; I was a fish caught in a net! The monotone voice returned, clear, concise, impersonal. The headgear said, Attention student. You are thinking especially private thoughts, save those for private places. You have one more warning. The system has filed a complaint to your parents. The voice receded, as did the claustrophobia, and I found everyone staring at me.

Mrs. Rose tutted, “Now Jon, we don’t need you to go off being a maverick. Remember, private thoughts are for private places, public thoughts for public places.” She stalked off to shove a scantron to another poor kid, and I tried to sink back into my seat and relax for the test, but I couldn’t. The honeycomb in the back of my head had crescendoed until it became a hornet’s nest, and I could tell that the headgear would be reading my thoughts very hard, and if the system thought I was going to do anything at all, it would zap me like a fly. I was past caring though; the system was just too much for me today.  

The headgear had been there since I was old enough to put together coherent thought, and the government had always taught me that it was for societies good, that if the opinions of private society were allowed into the public sphere then the whole system would collapse. Right now, all I could think was that, if this was the cost of stability, then maybe the system should collapse. My whole world was gray when it was on, the desks and people fading into a black and white monotone, where only voices and faces changed, but the things said never did. All this thought had occurred quite suddenly, and before I knew what I was doing, I had decided on a plan of action. The straps that tied me to this myopic society would be untied, and I would finally see!

T he excitement of the moment clouded my senses as I reached up to take the headgear off. Red filled my vision, the hornet’s nest pricked me, but I did not care. By sense of touch alone, my hand crept up to my head, and I rejoiced as I felt the contact with the iron band that held me to society’s chains. I tugged on a strap and felt the beam of influence that the headgear had sliding inside my brain, moving up and off until…

 

 

Mrs. Rose sighed. Jon sat there, his eyes blank; his loose and unsupported body limp from lack of control. The headgear had wiped his brain of any memory, any knowledge. Soon he would begin to move she knew, start gurgling and screaming like a baby, for that is what the headgear had reduced him to,  even before an invisible beam had scoured his mind.

The class was in shock, for it was their first time seeing this. Not truly, but she would see to that in one second. She called the janitors who picked up Jon’s mindless yet alive body and carried him out. She knew that even now the headgear would be removing any memory of Jon from his friends, and his parents as soon as they went out into public. Jon Wetchik would never exist, even to her. She felt the memories fade away, and suddenly realized she had no idea why she was standing there. She thought, Well that’s strange. She suddenly felt the urge to remind her students of something. Then she remembered.

She stood up in front of the class and said, “Please make sure that all headgear is held secure in place with the proper straps. Remember kids, too much play in the headgear could interfere as to which part of the brain it transmitted too, and that could result in some “issues” that we’d rather not have to deal with. So please kids, keep them strapped tight!


© Copyright 2019 Eric Haynes. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Short Stories