Tag Archives: prison

The Value of Values, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Despite her forthright statements, Mrs. Hobson was clearly out of sorts. No longer the calm composure – she fidgeted and avoided his gaze. He had gotten under her skin, but he had to find out what was at the centre of it all.

“Explain to me please,” he said, “the source of Prognosticant philosophy.”

“Am I a schoolchild?” she retorted. “You would have me recite?”

“You want a debate?” he said. “State your position.”

Her eyes narrowed, she shook her head slightly… and yet she began.

“It was a society in turmoil,” she said, speaking with the rapid, relaxed incantation of a well-memorised passage. “Financial crises, environmental destruction, mass unemployment, civil unrest, terrorism. One man, Dr. Haber, drew a parallel to sickness. Society is an organism, he said. We are all cells in one body. Specialised functions that operate in unison. That body was sick. Politics had failed. The answer was not reform, nor revolution, but medicine. The first step to effective medicine is prognosis.”

She was rising to the message now, the familiar themes bringing up memories of childhood. The Magistrate imagined her as a fourteen year old girl standing proudly next to her father as peace was imposed on a diseased country.

“Prognosis,” she continued. “Foresight. The prediction of outcomes based on data. The determination of appropriate action which must be based on total awareness of all information. So the Prognosticants came to be, controlled all knowledge and healed the sick society.”

The Magistrate applauded, slowly, loudly. “Society is an organism. That makes me the antibody. Do you know what that makes you? Your husband? Do you know what the Liberites are?” He leant forward, chin jutting, teeth bared. “The Liberites are cancer.”

To be continued…


The Value of Values, Part II

Continued from Part I.

“It’s all there in his personal files,” said the Magistrate. “You can see for yourself if you like. Read all of the incriminating emails.”

He pushed a tablet towards Mrs. Hobson. She picked her way through the evidence, slowly, while an odd cloud seem to pass behind her eyes. So fascinating to watch, he thought. In her head, a carefully constructed world is falling apart, revealed to be nothing more than a comforting illusion.

“I have been a loyal Prognosticant all my life,” she said. “My father was a founding member of the movement. I have spoken publicly on many occasions.”

“Then I’ll need a recorded statement from you denouncing your husband,” he said. “You will be placed into holding until he is arrested. Then you can go free, provided our subsequent investigation into your life reveals nothing… inappropriate. I’ll prepare the statement for you.”

“No,” she said quietly.

“Excuse me?” he said sharply.

“I said no,” she repeated, this time loudly and firmly. Her eyes were darting back and forth, she was thinking hard. Her world had shattered, he could see that, but maybe not in the way he had expected. “I will give no such statement.”

“You are aware of the consequences?” he said.

“Acutely,” she said. “I had always believed that men like you were an unfortunate necessity. But I also believed that there was a line over which we would never step. Yet I am sitting here, and you are sitting there, and I was wrong. If I were to start denouncing, I don’t know where I would stop.”

Unexpected, he thought. But a pointless gesture.

To be continued…

The Value of Values, Part I

“What am I doing here?” said Mrs. Hobson. “Is this treatment really appropriate?”

The Magistrate marvelled at her composure. By this time most in her position were reduced to a pliable fistful of putty, ready to say anything, do anything and betray their closest loved ones for a chance of release. All this without having to do much but threaten, the mere prospect of their possible future was too grim for many to suffer their present realities. But this woman was something else.

He couldn’t quite work out what it was. Breeding, perhaps, that naïve optimism of a once-powerful class? Or perhaps she had been witness to some series of horrors not mentioned in her file, and had grown a tough hide. Perhaps she was simply genetically resistant to this type of situation, some were. Or perhaps everything he had suspected was true, and she was hiding some connection to the enemy.

“I warn you, I have a lot of powerful friends, and my husband has even more,” she said. “He is not a man to be taken lightly, Magistrate.”

“Oh I don’t take him lightly at all,” replied the Magistrate. “He’s the highest rank Liberite sympathiser I know about.”

That took her by surprise, he could see from her expression. How strange. Maybe she really didn’t know, or she had practiced responding to this moment.

Witness the power of absolute control, he thought. Just watch. His trap had caught the prey, the rest was inevitable.

To be continued…


The first time Martin met Freddy was in the waiting room of the Therapy Clinic in Wainscot. Martin would not ordinarily have sat right next to a stranger, but there were only two chairs, and Freddy was sitting in the other. So he sat down, instantly attracting Freddy’s attention. Freddy leant over. He jabbed a thumb towards the consultation room.

“Have they ever actually helped you?” he asked. Martin shrugged noncommittally. “It’s all stress-related anyway,” Freddy continued, “why don’t we just go have an adventure?”

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

They went to the park.


They walked through the green, swapping complaints of a world that did not understand them. As they neared a large pond, a group of ducks clambered out of the water and headed towards them, hoping for food.

“Kick them!” yelled Freddy.

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

A cloud of angry ducks flew out in all directions.

“Put one in the bin!” yelled Freddy.

“Okay!” Martin agreed.

They gave chase, but the ducks simply took off and landed a few feet away.

“Hey!” yelled Freddy. “If we set fire to the grass, they won’t land…”


Later, in the same cell in Wainscot Gaol, they sat next to each other again. Freddy leant over.

“Why were you going to see the psychotherapist?” he asked.

“I’m very gullible,” said Martin. “I do whatever anyone says. How about you?”

“My family says I compulsively suggest stupid things,” replied Freddy. “But that’s rubbish. Say,” he said. “Let’s beat up the guard and break out!”