Ready yourselves, Sisters and Brothers and Others on the Gender Spectrum (or agender, I didn’t know where to put you 😅
People of the Pain
Yes, get yourselves ready for the upcoming first installment of….PAIN WORLD, a serial that chronicles a dystopian world, one in which a person’s value is measured by their number on the pain scale (0= none at all, 10= screaming on the floor). The higher the Pain Scale number they can function at, the higher they are status-wise, across the board. This naturally gives rise to ten castes; but it is possible to move between castes, with proper documentation and proof, of course. In this way people can be as upwardly mobile as they like, if they’re willing to face the pain, and face it down smiling.
On the other hand, some people would gladly give up fame and riches for a simpler, less stressful lifestyle. No problem there. Just drop that business suit off at Wardrobing, will you, and tell Alicia to give you a farmer’s get-up. And Alejandro will pick you up in the garage, level Z, and take you to your new assignment
And oh, please tell Greta, your wife, to gather up her jewelry and furs in a pile on the bed. Josie will take care of them. Greta must see Alicia the Wardrobe Specialist. Then she will join you at the garage.
The Brougham is a magic carpet that will transport you from one dimension to another. Any last questions?
Yes, you’ll find you know more about this job than you thought.
Well, ciao ciao, I must be getting back to the office. I’ll be keeping an eye on your absorption process.
Now–er, what was your name again? Macallester? Splendid! Farmer Macallester it is, then.
Now, sir, before we proceed with the voluntary Pain Level demotion, we must fulfill some obligatory formalities.
Do you, sir, fully understand that voluntary Demotion entails losing the rights, privileges, and benefits of the societal level you wish to leave; and that should you wish to elevate your status at a later time, assuming there were to be a vacancy, it would be necessary that you present yourself for Pain Tolerance PlacementTesting, just as you did before. Is that understood? Sign here. Date here. Initial there, there, there, there, and there.
Very good. Now, while Rosa prints you your copy, let me go over ground rules with you.
Your name is no longer ____ _____. You are now Farmer Macallester, and your wife here–Missus, I commend you. Not many wives would follow their husbands DOWN the totem pole.
–As I was saying, you will be Farmer and Missus Macallester. NO one will call you by any other name. The folks in Farmersdell will sure be glad to see you when they notice you’ve arrived. Why dog my cats if there isn’t a barn dance tonight! I’m sure everybody in Farmersdell will be enchanted to meet you there.
Victor, bring the Brougham round. Earn your money by doing something besides looking expensive.
Victor turned away and smirked. By the time he reached the garages where the antique cars were garaged, spasms of suppressed laughter convulsed his body and he was afraid he might pee himself. He struggled for breath and for self mastery and attained one of those.
The Brougham shoveled its enormous face out of its garage, and stood in a hare’s blink at the kerb where Farmer and Missus Macallester waited to step in. They had no luggage, because everything would be waiting for them at Macallester’s Farm. THEIR farm! They smiled at each other, put their arms around each other’s shoulders and sighed sighs of relief and anticipation.