A Reboot Day vignette
by John Reynoldson

Editors note: If you haven’t already, read the premise here first!

As usual, it was like turning a switch. This time, though, they hadn’t killed me but just left me to rot in the squalor of the cells for two years. They thought perhaps, that given time to consider, I’d learn. I’d been kept me away from clocks and sunlight. Even so, when the world changed, I was ready. Alone again with the Man.

Who was ready too, always hoping for a change in the routine, but of course, he never had enough time. He was rising from his chair immediately, but sank back as I leveled the 9mm and backed to the door, locking it. There were already shouts from outside. Too late again – as always.

“Give me a break, Jordan.” He knew the routine, but I’ll give him this, he always tried. “Just what do you want me to do for God’s; sake?”

There were already running feet outside. I knew to the second how long it would take them to find something potent enough to take out that heavy door. Too many seconds. They’re getting slower, perhaps. Accepting the inevitable and just going though the motions. Finding better things to do.

Of course, the first time it had happened, we were all confused. The Administration had its hands full just keeping the infrastructure going. Martial Law had seemed a reasonable precaution.

The next time, we were ready. Nothing could stop the deaths, but services were on the job, fast. Bush moved more quickly to assert his authority. He had time to think, and the extremists had had time to talk to him. He pulled out of Iraq imediately and completely leaving millions to die in the unrest. The Christian fundamentalists obtained his ear and convinced him that the Reboot was the wrath of Satan. He curtailed civil liberties. Gays were imprisoned. Free speech was curtailed.

After the third restart, he’d decided that to appease God, the unbelievers must be sacrificed. Just before Reboot Four, he used nuclear weapons on the Moslem world.

When we restarted that time, I shot the President in his chair immediately. What followed was a very, very bad two years for me, but infinitely better for the billions who remembered dying in atomic fire or the agonising aftermath.

I’ve killed him 11 more times now. I’ve failed only once, the seventh time, when somehow I managed to damage but not destroy his heart. I go for head shots these days. I’m Secret Service. I don’t miss.

There’s pounding at the door. There are only seconds left.

We have our little rituals now. He’s a proud man. He stands up, as tall as he can and offers me a stiff nodding bow.

“Just do it, Jordan”, he says.

As the door splinters behind me, I do.

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