Thursday, March 29, 2018

Microstory 809: Seven Year Stitch

From the moment I was born, I knew that I was put on this Earth to protect people. Okay, well that might be a bit of an overstatement, but no matter when I realized this about myself, it’s a integral part of me that I can’t change. I had no short supply of options when it came to what I was going to do with my life. I had a few ideas, but they all seemed to be so minimally impactful. I worked as a lifeguard in high school and college, but that was generally uneventful. I would have to move to a beachtown to be any sort of active protector, and even that was only on an individual basis. What I wanted was a way to protect massive numbers of people; something more general, perhaps even something secret. I went to the Bureau academy for a little while before I was recruited into the CIA, which seemed like the best choice at the time. What I didn’t know then was that there was a lot going on in the agency that seemed pretty unproductive, and I wasn’t likely going to be an international spy. I was ecstatic when I was told I would be joining an elite reconnaissance team in the midwest, but that excitement quickly faded when I realized what I was in for. The term elite was being used in this context to describe a group of agents operating mostly autonomously, but that didn’t mean they were doing anything of great significance. I was given a new partner, which was the most thrilling aspect of the situation, because we were then planted in a small town to do practically nothing. As part of something deemed Operation Stich, we were instructed to act as if we were happily married, and live the simple life, doing little work beyond taking mundane notes on everything we encountered.

Now, I’ve never been one to belittle the contributions that so-called unimportant workers make, but this was almost literally nothing. We kept track of what our neighbors were doing, which was nothing interesting or illegal, and sent encrypted emails to an address that never responded. After years of this, we started questioning whether what we were doing at all mattered. Was anyone on the other side of those emails, or did they forget about us? What were they doing with the information? Were we missing something about some kind of underbelly in this town? Was it ever going to end? We started coming up with explanations for why we were there, each one more imaginative than the last, and not one of them making any real sense. And then after seven years, everything ended. I mean, the whole country went down the tubes. Every single major city was attacked by some unknown enemy, all at once. The only people left alive were those living in smaller towns, and rural countrysides. Someone rode right up to our house on horseback, and revealed that Operation Stich was now fully activated. When we asked what that meant, she handed us a manila envelope, and rode away. The documents explained that we were there to create a new world order, as a contingency plan. Should anything happen to the original form of government—which was exactly what ended up happening—we were meant to pick up the pieces, and join a new national police force. We requisitioned two of our own horses and began our journey halfway across the country, to the provisional capital of this, the nation we live in now. And that, kids, is how your mother and I became founding fathers of Nusonia.

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