Re: A peek into a future
A peek into a future - Chapter 2
Sam had finished his day’s work on the local gardening team, and was waiting for his wife to get home. Men generally finished work earlier than women. It gave their female workmates, who were generally in more managerial roles, time to do administrative work without their male work teams around and it also gave men a little time to attend to the housework which had gradually become part of their domain.
Most men in jobs like Sam’s showered and changed before their female partners arrived home, but Sam was too annoyed. He still wore his pale green jumpsuit with ‘Sam’ embroidered in cursive stitching on the chest pocket, below the larger block lettering announcing that he part of Jemma Mason’s team.
‘Jane,’ began Sam as his wife walked into the house, ‘They’re ripping out the urinals in our toilets at work, and…’
‘Calm down, Sam, don’t you read or listen?’ asked Jane, settling into her favourite chair.
‘Yeah, the guys were talking about it, but not for existing bathrooms, surely,’ complained Sam.
‘Sam,’ Jane said patiently. ‘It’s not important. It’s just part of the Hygiene Act. Boys standing up to pee is unhygienic. It just the next step from unigender bathrooms, and they’ve been around for years. Heaps of boys sit down already. I bet you were the only one still using those smelly things anyway.’
Sam let her get away with the term ‘boys’, which he hated. Why didn’t anyone talk about ‘men’ any more? Admittedly, ‘girls’ and ‘women’ had gone by the board too, but at least they’d been replaced by ‘female’ as a coverall term. He let her get away with it because there wasn’t much he could do about it. As it was, whenever he said ‘men’ or ‘man’ in front of his sixteen year old daughter, she laughed. She called him an antique.
But having to sit down to pee. He’d even held on to his old overalls, which had a fly, so that he could continue the practice.
‘Sam,’ Jane continued. ‘See sense. All those germs. They’re saying boys’ urine could be a vector for all sorts of horrible things.’
‘I know,’ said Sam. ‘I’ve seen the Messages. That includes the one Em stuck in the bathroom.’
Messages were government announcements, usually condensed and broadcast on the screens and speakers which now formed, with cameras, part of the landscape.
‘All for the good,’ he found himself repeating to himself as soon as he thought of the Messages. ‘All for the good’ was the default Message, appearing in crimson on pink, whenever a screen was idle.
‘It’s all for the good,’ said Jane. ‘And I put that one in the bathroom.’
Sam stumped off to get changed. Like so many arguments, this was not one he could win.
He went to the bathroom on his way to the bedroom. The satisfaction of standing at the toilet to pee was dulled somewhat by the sticker on the wall: ‘Nice boys consider others. Nice boys always sit’.
‘Bloody hell,’ he muttered, before guiltily looking for any splashes on the floor. There were one or two, which he mopped up with some toilet paper.
Jane was in the bedroom when he got there.
‘Sam,’ she said, 'Don’t make such a big thing of everything. It won’t matter soon anyway. I had a Pre-Message at work that grumpy boys like you still standing up will be reportable, even at home.
‘Great,’ said Sam. ‘Nice of them to tell you.’
‘Sam…’ Jane said seriously. ‘I get those PMs because I’m above Grade 2 Management. 90% of administrative staff get them. Even Em gets them.’
‘And I don’t because I’m only a boy,’ Sam said sulkily.
‘For God’s sake, Sam, don’t start,’ said Jane. ‘You don’t get them because you’re not admin. Hardly any boys are. You’re not suited to it. They’ve proved that in study after study.’
‘They,’ said Sam.
'Yes, ‘they’, said Jane. ‘And I’d remind you that if one of the boys in my office spoke like that he’d be off for a week’s Remediation in a flash.’
Sam bit his tongue. He’d had a taste of Remediation after his boss Jemma had found out that he had taken alcohol to work to celebrate the end of a huge Street Beautification job they done a few months before.
He could only remember bits of what had happened. There was a lot of sleeping, and a lot of watching movies and listening to crap until he had more or less zoned out and just let it wash over him. Or so he thought. Even now, weeks later, he felt strangely out of adjustment. The worst thing was that he felt, if not scared of females, that what they did was ‘all for the damned good’. He found himself automatically agreeing with them, even when he would rather not. It was as if the Remediation had dropped him a place or two in some pecking order, and he had been unable to recover his position. His attempts to go against the flow always fizzled out, like his nervous mopping of the bathroom floor. Whatever they did to his head at Remediation, he didn’t want any more of it.
‘So we might as well start now, Sam,’ Jane was saying, as she tossed a package onto the bed in front of Sam.
‘What?’ said Sam.
‘Sam, where are you?’ Jane said crossly. ‘I said, these came for you today. I picked them up from outside the door as I came in. They’re your new overalls. Now you can throw out those worn out things you wear. Sue said Bill loves his. The new ones don’t have a fly, so you can start from now sitting down to pee, home included. Be a nice boy, as the sticker says.’
Sam knew he couldn’t fight this. Authority, in the form of his 35 year old, well-paid and highly responsible wife was instructing him.
‘All for the good’’ he told himself, seeking some consolation in the phrase he heard and read so often.
Jane stood silently as Sam unwrapped the sealed plastic wrapping from the pale yellow fabric. He tugged at the garment, eventually pulling it out and holding it up. The new overalls were similar to those he’d seen on the screens. They were more of a jumpsuit than overalls.
In reality, these were even worse. They were stretchy.
‘I had lunch with Jemma last week,’ said Jane as Sam held the garment against his torso. ‘She thought you’d be ideal for trying out the new style in her department. You’re exactly the average boy body size and weight.’
Individually sanctioned by his boss. Sam knew he was stuck. He turned the yellow thing over in his hands, trying to unbutton the front.
‘Here,’ said Jane. ‘Those buttons are just for show. There’s a zip down the back.’
Jane took the jumpsuit and in a moment had the back open.
‘Hop in,’ she ordered.
Sam did as he was told. Jane zipped him up and guided him to the big mirror she dressed in front of.
Sam looked at himself.
‘I look like a skinny Teletubbie!’ he complained, remembering a TV program of his youth.
‘It’s showerproof, dirt and stain resistant, and drys quickly,’ said Jane.
Sam looked down at his stomach.
‘There’s no fly,’ he said, pinching the material in his crotch.
‘Of course their isn’t,’ said Jane. ‘They’re compliant with the latest regs of the Hygiene Act. Boys will sit, or else.’
Jane gave her husband a swat on his bum.
‘Now go and show Em. She’ll love them.’
Sam felt miserable as he walked down the hallway to Em’s bedroom. Sam wasn’t sure about interrupting her. She was studying for a place in a major business school, hoping for a job at level 6 or something, paid far beyond even what Jane made and with responsibilities to match. As far as Sam knew, there wee only females at the business school.
Sam knocked on the door.
‘What is it?’ came Em’s voice from the room.
She sounded annoyed.
Sam stepped back. His first instinct, post-Remediation, was to say, '‘It doesn’t matter,’ and go back to… be asked by Jane what Em had said. He was stuck.
‘It’s only me,’ he said, opening the door and stepping into the room.
‘New work clothes,’ he said, and stood looking at his daughter.
Em was well built, and wore, as most young females did, exactly what she liked. Today, this consisted of black tights, figure-hugging denim shorts with a thick leather belt and big steel buckle, a bare midriff and a halter top which strained to contain her generous breasts. Her hair was short and spiky and she sported, as many females did, several tattoos, including one which said ‘All for good’ above the female symbol. That particular design was the mark of a member of Young Power, a female only group for teens which Em had joined a few years ago.
‘Cool,’ Em said. ‘You’re a bit wet, Sam,’ she added. ‘Ask mom to get you some of those pants. Don’t you listen to anything about hygiene? Boy pee’s not very nice.’
With that, Em turned back to her work. Somewhat shocked, Sam backed out of he room and closed the door. In the hallway, he inspected the front of the jumpsuit. There was a dark circle about two inches in diameter at the crotch. How the hell did that happen, he asked himself. He tried to unzip the back of the suit but he couldn’t get the zipper started.
Jane arrived at that moment.
‘You can leave it on,’ she said. ‘What did Em think?’
‘She, er, she said it was cool, Jane,’ said Sam. ‘I want to take it off. Can you do the zip?’
‘There’s a thing at the top,’ said Jane. ‘Here.’
Jane in clipped the safety cover at the top of the zip and peeled the stretchy suit to Sam’s waist, allowing him to step out of the garment. He stood facing his wife, wearing only his underpants.
‘Sam,’ Jane said, reaching down to Sam’s crotch. ‘Stand under the light.’
‘When did this happen?’ she asked, looking into his eyes.
To be continued…