Adventures in Libertarian Paradise
Zachary awoke to the blaring of his alarm clock echoing around the small flat. He hit the “Snooze” button, and sat up on his bed, glancing around the minimalist living space. There were hardly any personal items in the flat, only the angular couch and chair, the bed he was sitting on and the oaken desk with the ancient desktop atop it, the rest of the empty desk cluttered with an assortment of small arms.
He swung his legs over the side of the bed, still half-asleep as he lifted himself onto his feet. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
“Jesus Christ, I paid rent yesterday!” he cried, reaching for the shotgun leaning against his bedpost.
“Pay up, bub! I’ll have to kick you out otherwise!”
He quickly loaded the shotgun with two shells, and approached the door cautiously.
“Now, listen up! I’m not paying! Get out of here before I blow your brains out!”
He chambered a round audibly.
There was a scrambling from the other side of the door, and fading footsteps. Zach grinned to himself and tossed the gun onto his bed, reaching for his work clothes which still hung on his door knob from the night before.
Zach decided that a pink tie didn’t really fit the overcast clouds outside, so he stalked over to his dresser, shotgun in hand, and pulled out his tie hanger. There were all sorts of colors, and some very expensive ties as well, from a clothing store that he had robbed with his buddy Adam only two nights past. He eventually decided, after almost ten minutes of deep thought, to wear the tie he had bought while on vacation in Hiroshima, Japan. It had the silhouette of a cowboy riding a bomb with the words “I’m the bomb!” sprawled across the neck in wooden, Old Western font letters. He turned the tie around, chuckling at the “Hiroshima Museum of Nuclear History” tag.
He exited the shabby tenement, and hopped over the sidewalk onto the road. His panda hide dress shoes clacked on the ruptured cement as he landed. Suddenly, his ears were assaulted by a shrill whistling sound coming from his right, the telltale shriek of a road regulation officer.
He turned and came face to face with the traffic officer, who was waving a bitcoin reader above his head in a hectic fashion and tooting away on the whistle he held in his mouth.
“That’s two millibitcoins for using the street,” the officer said as he flashed a badge that said “Standard Security” in fancy lettering.
“I should’ve brought my gun,” Zach thought as he pulled his bitcard from his back pocket, slowly holding it out to the officer. Suddenly, there was a gunshot, a spattering of blood, and the privately employed officer collapsed in a bloody heap at Zach’s feet. No one cared.
“Damn, I thought he might’ve actually charged you, mate,” Adam said, placing the smoking revolver back in its holster and slapping Zach on the back. They began to walk towards the large glass building on the other side of the road, avoiding the long lines of cars queuing at the tollbooths only fifty feet down the road.
Zach approached the large double doors first, swiping his bitcard to open the glass behemoths which stood before him.
“I’ll see you later, man. Maybe we can go out to that bar later, huh?”
“Oh, yeah mate. Definitely. Just make sure to beat the shit out of Ahmed for me.”
“Will do,” Zach chuckled as he made his way up to his office space.
Zach glanced up at the clock. It was only noon, and he was getting tired. He was just about to give up and sleep when he heard the familiar foreign accent that warned of Ahmed’s approach. He got up, and made his way to the middle of the hallway, where the unmistakable beard-and-turban combination was standing, swiping his bitcard to get a glass of water from the company water machine.
Zach walked briskly towards the robed figure, and proceeded to push Ahmed into the wall.
“Oh, Zach. I didn’t see you there!” Ahmed said calmly, a big smile on his stupid face.
“Shut up, raghead! You don’t belong here!”
“Oh, you tease me too much,” Ahmed giggled and chucked his mug at Zach’s head, which Zach barely managed to avoid.
“Get out of here, ya damned towelhead,” Zach grunted, shoving Ahmed into a cubicle wall, causing the usual screams and commotion that came with this daily encounter.
Ahmed sighed while making his way from the stack of plaster to the door at the end of the hallway. He stopped, turned to Zach, and spit in his direction. Zach rushed towards Ahmed, fists bared, and Ahmed hastily retreated down the steps to the lobby, giggling all the way.
“Back to work,” Zach thought as he watched the fleeing figure, and reached for the heroin needle lying on one of the office desks.
He spent the rest of the day groggily typing numbers into a spreadsheet, the heroin impeding his vision and his thoughts. He often caught his mind wandering from his work, hardly producing any labor as he lay on the keyboard, occasionally lifting a finger long enough to punch a key on the number pad. It was commonplace for workers to spend time “goofing off” at work, so Zach didn’t really feel out of place on the floor of the workplace, drooling on the carpet.
He woke to loud a rapping on the thin cubicle wall, and he looked up to see his boss standing over him.
“Get up,” Kwemto growled angrily in a thick Nigerian accent, taking hold of Zach’s collar and gruffly pulling him up to his feet.
“Sorry, boss. I got bored,” Zach shrugged and then winced, still feeling the effects of the heroin.
Kwemto shoved Zach backwards, and exited the cubicle, cursing under his breath in what Zach knew to be Igbo.
Zach stumbled out of the building after his twelve-hour shift, holding an empty heroin needle and wishing it were still full. Just as he was about to collapse onto the sidewalk, Adam stepped up from the road and caught him, lifting him over the curb and onto the cracked pavement by one of the numerous tollbooths.
“You okay for the bar, mate?”
“I think,” Zach groaned, struggling into a standing position with the help of Adam’s shoulder.
“Well, we had better get going,” Adam chimed happily, supporting a struggling Zach to the nearby pub.
“You wouldn’t happen to have a Five-Hour Energy, would you?” Zach asked, limping slowly towards the neon-lit establishment.
“Yeah, mate. Here,” Adam reached into his back pocket, pulling out a plastic-wrapped bottle of green liquid, if it could be called a liquid at all. “Five-Hour Energy,” it said, “Now with 700% more caffeine than your recommended daily dosage!” It’s logo was littered with scantily clad women.
“It really picks you up, especially since they finally got rid of caffeine and trans fat regulations. Drink up,” Adam said cheerily, patting Zach’s shoulder as they both struggled towards the bar.
Adam and Zach sat together at the bar, watching the football game on television. Zach was still in his work clothes, his tie tucked in between his legs as he sipped the moonshine from his shot glass. There was a collective groan from the bar patrons as a sickening crunch echoed across the small space from the television. Another man carried off of the field on a stretcher, probably, especially since the two teams playing were bitter rivals.
“Yes! Suck it!” Adam cried excitedly, holding out his hand to Zach. “That’s fifteen in the first thirty minutes! Pay up, mate.”
Zach groaned, pulled out his bitcard and paid the considerable tab that Adam had racked up over the past couple of hours. At this rate, he would be broke by the end of the week, and his “paycheck” wouldn’t arrive for the next two months.
“Hey, boys. Looking for some fun?” a sultry voice called from a few seats over.
Adam and Zach glanced at the hooker that sat on the stool two seats over from them. She was clad in revealing lacy lingerie, a bitcard reader hooked in the strap of her bra.
“Get lost,” Zach muttered, taking another drought of his chemically sweetened moonshine. Adam shot Zach a look, puzzled by his lack of enthusiasm.
“Hell, how much?” he said after a moment.
“Fifty millibitcoins. Twenty-five, since you’re so handsome.”
Adam winced, glancing down at the account balance on his phone. It offered to charge him either another millibitcoin or to force him to watch a 10 second ad for checking the banking app.
“Oh, why not,” Adam sighed resignedly, lifting himself from the bar after the ad had finished playing.
The escort reached for Adam’s hand, her blood-red nails digging into his wrist. Zach only snorted into his glass as the couple stumbled away into a back room, the underaged drinkers at the booths near the back hollering at them as they passed.
“Have fun, mom!” one of them yelled.
Several hours had passed before Adam came stumbling back to the countertop, a stupid smile plastered on his face.
“Listen, I better be headed back to my place. I’m tired and I’ve got a shitton of work to finish for Kwemto tomorrow. He looked about ready to shoot me today,” Zach mumbled almost intelligibly.
“Alright, mate. Give Ahmed a beating for me.”
“No problem,” Zach chuckled, standing from the cushioned stool, and grabbed the last heroin needle from the marble counter.
On his way back home, Zach ducked into an alley to take a piss. As he faced the chain link fence, embracing the sweet relief of his emptying bladder, he felt the cold barrel of a handgun against his back. “Oh fer’ Chrissakes Lukas, really? Again?” he muttered angrily. He zipped up his pants and turned around, bitcard in one raised hand. In front of him stood a sullen looking Chilean man with a bitcard reader and a badly-trimmed pencil mustache. “Fuck, fine.” Zach sighed after a couple of seconds had passed and he swiped his bitcard. Lukas smiled a meth-addled smile, turned around, and daintily skipped back down the smelly alley. “Shoulda brought yer gun, gringo!” The little man shouted in a thick Hispanic accent as he turned the corner.
Zach pulled his emergency heroin needle from the sole of his shoe, and pressed it into the bruise on the inside of his arm, sighing blissfully as he pushed the plunger down.
Zach entered his flat, barely able to walk from the copious amounts of heroin he had consumed just minutes before. As he collapsed on his bed, he heard the knocking again at his door, and a shrill Slavic voice crying out “RENT! RENT!”.
“Shut the hell up, or I’ll pop a slug in that thick skull of yours,” he choked back, and heard the telltale sound of footsteps pattering away from the door as he slipped into a deep sleep.
This is the first edition in a continuing series by your favorite columnists, Augustus York and Jack Seurat. Every Sunday, we’ll treat you Zach’s silly escapades, as he tries to survive in his Libertarian Paradise.