Acknowledging Shirley Jackson
Mr. Summers punched in the numbers on his cell phone. “All right,” he said to the desk jockey in Vegas, “let’s finish this quickly.” Bill Hutchinson crumbled up the small piece of paper with the black mark that Tessie had drawn from the box. Get back, get back,“ Mr. Summers said to the rest of them. As they withdrew, Tessie Hutchinson was alone in the middle of the field, on the fifty-yard line. Only a few of them had tears in their eyes. “This ain’t the way it used to be,” Old Man Warner mumbled. “People ain’t the same anymore. Justice went up and died.”
When all of Tessie’s emails, text messages, voice mails, phone calls, purchases of every type for the last ten years with accompanying video flashed across the jumbotron, a condescending murmur rippled through the villagers. For a second, the screen darkened before in giant lettering the word OBEY appeared above the DHS and TSA logos.
As Tessie held out her hands desperately, a bright flash split the sky and burned a hole in the fifty-yard line.
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom