“It Couldn’t Happen Here”

This story was first posted in Medium, and you can read that version here.


“It Couldn’t Happen Here”

The morning after, no-one knew what would happen next.

For the first few months it was rumour and speculation. After the inauguration — renamed Great America Day — things started to change.

Words changed. Or rather, words stayed the same, but their definitions changed. American got smaller and smaller, the walls closing in. Un-Americanbecame so broad as to encompass virtually anything.

I noticed the Internet shrinking. Certain website URLs would redirect me to a new page, noting in dry prose that my ISP was required by law to block the site, and repeated attempts to visit would result in my information being passed to the new House Un-American Activities Committee.

Getting the news from television and radio proved no easier. Gradually, recognisable faces and voices faded away, replaced by nondescript men and women who spoke in clipped, even tones of unpatriotric dissenters, re-classifications and deportations, and repeated official White House press releases as rote.

Those in the media who did speak out were soon gone from the airwaves. Talk show hosts who had once skewered both sides of the political aisle were often re-classified, blacklisted. Or, to put it officially: “forging new careers outside of media and journalism”.

After a few weeks, I stopped seeing riots outside my window. I was assured by sober newscasters that much of the country was still engulfed by “chaos”. The President reacted by suspending all elections for the “medium to long term” until stability could be restored.

In the name of stability, the borders were closed, north and south. The Department of Education announced a new curriculum called “New American History”. The students who do not pass will have to face mandatory “supplementary education” lessons.

We became afraid not of violence, but of the simple things: our quiet neighbour with the stars and stripes on their lawn. Using the wrong words in public. CCTV cameras. A knock at the door.


I moved away when I could. Away from the city and its cameras and police and hundreds of thousands of snooping eyes. I’m affluent, and white, and male, so my classification means I can travel.

Minnesota is cold, but it’s quiet. I have discovered an underground resistance, online. Bloggers, writers, thinkers, (former) academics. The non-disappeared’s, eking out meagre existences, blogging in code. We talk about matters that are innocent enough: dogs, cakes, approved American history. But our words mean something different. We learned it from our government.

I hear the rumble of a drone overhead, but pay it no mind. I have been extra careful since moving. I watch all the political broadcasts. I say all the right things. A flag flutters proudly in front of my house.

I sit down to watch a broadcast of the news. Eyes on the screen — because they monitor it — but mind elsewhere. Just as it’s about to start, a see a car pull up outside. It’s sleek and black and moves without a sound.

After a few seconds that feel like hours, the door opens. A man emerges, lithe and smartly dressed. He looks around and adjusts his cuffs. He walks up my driveway.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Nation’s Children Unprepared for Dystopian Future

A few years back I started writing articles to submit to a fake news website. Only one got published. This is not one of them, so I’m putting it here. I’ve changed it to reflect that human chipmunk Michael Gove is no longer the education secretary.


Nation’s Children Unprepared for Dystopian Future

In a stark warning to parents and children around the country, Education Secretary Justine Greening warned that the nation’s children are “woefully unprepared” for the dystopian future to come.

In a broad-ranging speech, Greening opined that while teaching at least basic English and Maths was “broadly desirable”, there would be “no need to do long-division when the entire monetary system, and by extension society as a whole, has collapsed”.

She suggested that there was too much “red tape and waste” the current curriculum, adding that schools should prepare children for the coming horrors via repeating viewings of the Mad Max trilogy in Media lessons and class readings of Cormac McCarthy’s bleak post-apocalyptic novel The Road during English Literature.

She also added that Technology classes should focus less on out-dated skills such as woodwork and more on teaching students about robots, given that many of the young generation will be entrusted in the cleaning and maintenance of the robots that will be populous in the future. PE lessons, she said, should be mainly concerned with weight-lifting, running and hiding, as what passes for society in the future will doubtless be a murderous free-for-all where only the strongest or quickest will survive.

Greening ended her speech by commenting that he felt the time was right for the Conservative government to point out how unprepared we as a country were for the coming horrors of tomorrow.

“We have always positioned ourselves as the party of the future, and we need to address what kind of future that will be – we have a duty to make sure our children are as prepared as they can be for the living hell they will have to endure. Thankfully, we intend to put measures in place to allow the nation’s children to eke out a flimsy, terrified existence as society crumbles around them”.