Don't Put Words in my Mouth that ain't Mine ROBBY, ILYA

John sprinted down the street, with a piece of paper folded up in his hand, not minding the weight of the backpack on his back or the shoelace that can never seem to stay tied. The sun beamed down through the tall ponderosa pine, the grass still wet from the dew left the night before. It was a strangely nice day for April. His house appeared on the horizon, a tall manor with natural pine wood and river stones, a three car garage and a pool in the backyard. He excitedly dashed up the driveway and through the front door. The smell of cookies his mother must’ve made filled the air.

“Dad! Dad, guess what?”

He ran to his father who was laying on the couch, the remote in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

“Dad look!” John said, unfolding the piece of paper to reveal a spelling test.

John’s father, Bill, was a high level official for an association known as The Outward Expression Bureau or O.E.B for short. He and john’s mother, Mary Jane, were the premier spokespeople for civilian rights of speech and agency. Sadly though, being the saviors of modern speech comes at a price. Bill became an alcoholic, drinking on and off the job in order to numb the stresses of it all. Though, somehow managing to remain professional in the public eye throughout. Mary Jane, after being hospitalized by a failed assassination attempt, became addicted to a number of opiates and opioids, specifically Heroin and Morphine.

“I got one hundred percent on my spelling test!”

Bill, seemed unenthused; in fact, rather irritated that John was interfering with his crime drama. “What are you talking about?” he growled.

John climbed up on his lap and flashed the test in front of his father's face. “I got an A,” the smile on his face still glowing and big “Aren’t you proud of me?” Bill, still annoyed that his son was interrupting him, snapped. “No, I’m not proud of you! Now can you please leave me alone?” He shoved John off of his lap and then took a long gulp of whiskey, his eyes never leaving the TV set. Drops of the golden drink splashed off his face and down his shirt. He took the bottle away from his mouth and continued intently watching the tube.

John began to tear up. He didn’t want to cry in front of his father though but couldn’t hold back the streams. He began to cry. Unfortunately, this caught Bill’s attention.

“What the fuck are you crying about?” Bill screamed. “Get out of here!”

John began to run out of the room as the whiskey bottle exploded against the wall. He went to his room and began to sob. The moistness of his face soon soaked his pillow. He couldn’t catch his breath. He laid there in bed and cried himself to sleep.

John woke up at 1:00 AM to a loud bang in the kitchen. Scared and still semi-horrified from the events of earlier in the day, he creeped down the stairs slowly and quietly. Cautiously, he peaked around the corner and into the black living room. He froze as he watched the laser pointers dash across the walls and appliances. He heard soft tapping on the floor, like throw pillows gently hitting the floor. Suddenly, the dogs next door began to bark loudly. There was a small flash, then the dogs were silent. John crept quietly into the nearby hallway. The pillow noises got closer and the lasers began to hit the walls near him. The door to his left swung open, and someone came running out of it. Flashes lit up the hallway but there was surprisingly no noise. Mary Jane hit the floor with a loud thud. Blood quickly covered her clothes and the floor and it quickly covered the bottom of John’s feet. He was asphyxiated by horror. The blood rushed from his face, leaving only a ghostly shell of a boy.

The pillow’s grew even louder and closer, lasers and now flashlight beams scanned the walls and would soon be on John. He still couldn’t move. Suddenly a pair of large, anaconda like, arms came shooting from the dark room next to him. They grabbed him by the neck and wrapped around his mouth, canceling any chance of a scream for help. Still tense and thoroughly mortified at this point, john didn’t even struggle. He simply let himself be dragged into the darkness. He was hauled into the closet as his eyes began to adjust to the light. The silhouette of his father soon was visible and john began to feel different. Not quite safe but not in anymore danger. His father set him down with his hand still over his mouth and reached into his pocket. “Johnny,” he said, “You’ve got to be very quiet okay? Everything is gonna be alright.” He pulled an old cloth bandana out of his pocket as well as a little bottle. John could see the lasers scanning the floor from the crack under the door. Bill poured some of the contents of the bottle on the cloth, careful not to let a single drop hit the floor. “Johnny,” Bill said with a kindness in his eyes not previously seen, “I love you.” Before John could process what his father had said, the cloth was around his nose and mouth. It wreaked of chemicals and old motor oil. Everything began to blur. Sounds began to fade and a thick fog covered John’s universe. The closet door opened quickly and Bill lunged out. Flashlights quickly surrounded his father. John was scared but at this point he had no ability to move. A small mist of red filled the air, then John was asleep.

(12 years later) As the train zoomed by another shitty morning for John. Waking up next to that train wasn't as bad as it used to be but still very annoying. Another day means another day of a whole lot of nothing. After John’s parents got murdered (which by the way were never solved) John ran away to the lake cabin his grandparents had before they passed away. He lived there for years if he ever needed to go to the city he always had the train that wasn’t far away but he was always too scared to go to the big city; in the day at least. John usually stole anything he needed and he hasn’t had friends since he was a kid so his social skills were lacking ..well everything. John has been running low on a lot of things lately though. The lake cabin is slowly deteriorating and he never had anyone to teach him how to fix things or how to live at all, John is almost 100% self taught when it comes up to just about everything. Although that old tv that his grandparents had with only two channels did help quite a bit. John knows he needs to go to town and he knows it needs to be really soon but he can’t get caught. He’s stole too much, besides there’s nothing to do in jail anyway.

As the days passed by the need to go to town grew bigger and bigger. Today was the day he was going to do it. He was going into town. He takes his backpack and an old duffel bag he found laying around. As john sat in the pitch black waiting for the train he asked himself “what if i see someone”? “What will i do”? He cleared all those thoughts out of his head as he saw the train lights. He hopped on… into town he went.

As he arrived he wasted no time because he knew that the that he only had 30 minutes before the other train home left. He quickly ran to the general store which happened to be only a few blocks away. Since the town was pretty small most store owners hid the back door key not too far from the store, typically stupid places like under the doormat or something..he checked and what do you know, the staff key (aka the back door key). As he opened the store and walked around he started stuffing all the things he needed into his backpack and the duffel bag. As he was just about to leave he heard a loud thud, like something dropped. He’s never had this happen, he’s had a few close calls but never this close. He then saw a dark shadow crashing into things. A was a person. It was another kid, except it was a girl and she was alone stuffing things in her pockets. He loudly whispered, “Hey! What the fuck are you doing”? She whipped around and paused for a few seconds then said “ shush you idiot they could be anywhere”! John was confused and didn't understand what the girl was talking about so he asked, “what do you mean”? She replied, “what cave did you come out of? Do you not know what a word/phrase restriction law is? As he giggled a bit. He replied, “no what fuck is that?” she then quickly hushed him and had to explain to him that words were owned by the government and that if you say the wrong thing you could seriously be in trouble. He explained to her that his time was limited and he had to go so they arranged a place to meet the next week so she can tell him more, then he was off.

As the days passed by he was excited but nervous. He always wanted to live in the city but he didn’t know how, he didn’t really know how to interact with people either. Well it was Friday a week from when he stole from the store and met the girl, it was time to meet her again. As he thought about the whole thing and what happened he realized he didn’t even ask the girls name. As he was on the train coming up to town he saw her under the bridge where he usually got off. He jumped off and greeted her then wasted no time and asked, “so what kinda restrictions and words or whatever can’t you say?” she explained to him that people can’t say what they want anymore. She explained the legislation that passed and the nationwide censorship that now plagued everybody. “See,” she began, “In order to keep anybody from being offended or unjustly discriminated against, you can only speak approved sentences provided for you by the government. The list of phrases is downloadable on any device so it is thereby illegal to not have a copy of the list on you at any given point.” John understood and began to plan. “So how do I get one of these lists?” The Girl was deep in thought, trying to formulate some sort of an idea or plan to help John. “Do you have a cell phone?” she asked. “No.” John replied. “Well fuck, they don’t print lists anymore. Hell, they don’t print anything anymore.” John thought, “Well, looks like I just can’t get stopped by any officials...or talk to anybody.” She smirked and said “i guess”. “So what now”? he asked. “Well if you want to be normal you have a lot more to learn”. He explained that his parents were murdered as a kid and he has been hiding from something/someone his whole life and he could never really have any friends or anything. John was a curious kid. He wanted to find out what would happen if he insulted someone. Even though the girl told him it was no joke people get prison time for that he still didn't believe her. How can you get prison time for insulting someone? He wanted to try this out for himself. He ran up to a man and yelled “fuck you”! And ran and hid not far away to see what would happen. He saw the man reach for a phone and click a button,then the man walked off like nothing happened. “See..nothing” john said to the girl. She was surprised that nothing had happened. As they were about to leave they saw a black car drive by with what it looked like some kind of FBI or something. He brushed it off and headed back to the train.

As John headed to the train bridge where he gets on and off the train he saw that same black car flying down the dirt road towards him, then he saw the train and he ran and he heard the roar of the car’s engine grew louder and louder but he was so close to the train. As he was just about to grab the train and jump on he fell face first into the ground, he jumped up as fast as he could and realized that he was just hit by the black car. He jumped on the train and still couldn't believe what just happened. Why would someone try to kill a person for saying fuck you? Then the pain hit him and he curled up on the floor of the train. He realized that these guys weren't playing games and he could have been really really screwed if he got caught.

As the weeks passed by john would go into town every few days and the girl he met in the store started to show and teach him more and more about society and how to fit in so maybe he could move into town and begin a life around people.


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