Congratulations to Rosemary for her winning story this month!
Thanks again to our founder, Sallyann, for being our judge.
“The Mikado’s Ball”
or “Fulfilling the Words of theThe Prophet, W.S.Gilbert”
Date: Valentine’s day, 2030
Emmaline and Kate had been friends since primary academy days. Their high school had been co-educational until teachers found it impossible to stop boys flirting and, following several arrests after boys had played with the pony tails of girls as a tease, which ended in fourteen year olds getting suspended life sentences for sexual assault, schools were again separated out into traditional genders of male and female. This solved some of the problems though flirtations among gay children still caused teachers headaches.
Titipu high school had a Valentines’ ball every year which proved to be a nightmare for the organisers. The young people still seemed to have no concept of the law and the serious consequences of their actions, so the boys were made to sit one side of the ballroom and the girls the other. They were presided over by soldiers from the local garrison who had sworn to protect the honour of their charges. Semi automatics did rather put a damper on the romantic atmosphere. Plain-clothes Moral Police circulated, scrutinising each teenager.
When the music began, the young people, who had been paired up by computer analysis the week before, to much disappointment, got up and walked towards their partners. They could dance near each other but not touch. The dancing styles of the 1960’s, 70s and 80’s were allowed but no actual ballroom dancing, which was very risky. The dresscode was strict and, though they could dance to the music, 60’s mini-skirts were out. Police and army circled unsurreptitiously round the room watching every move.
Emmaline and Kate, known friends, were allowed to sit close. They had had to show their selfies from several years to prove they were long-standing friends.
“Lovely ballgown, Kate,”said Emmaline after the first dance to an Abba sound-a-like song called “ Keep your hands to yourself.”
“Thanks, Kate, Mum and Dad really did me proud but yours is very pretty. The 70’s layered affect is quite charming. What was your date like? Mine was that horrid Harry Jones. He managed to touch my shoulder in dancing. I’ll get him arrested if he does it again.”
“Good for you. We can’t be too careful. Mum had my Grandpa arrested when he winked at the checkout girl in Aldi. Grandpa didn’t mean anything by it, so he said, but is very old fashioned and couldn’t see what he had done wrong. He was lucky and got a suspended sentence. He hasn’t spoken to Mum since. She is quite certain she was right and says she is ashamed of her lecherous father. He won’t see me either, as he is too worried I’d do the same if he tried to give me a hug.”
Emmaline asked, “Do you miss him? I thought you were close when you were very young?”
Kate sighed. “Yes, I do. I can’t believe there’s any harm in him but I don’t want to take the risk, either. He used to be such fun. Grandma says he just sits and cries all the time now. It was rather silly of him, as he knows the law but old habits die hard. Let’s talk of nice things instead. Is there anyone here you’d like to get to know?”
“Yes, there is but it’s so hard these days. Mum and Dad had it so much easier.” She leaned towards her friend – not too close, in case it drew the attention of a guard. Do you see that guy by the door, the one with the blonde hair and green specs? I won’t look that way in case it’s misunderstood and you be careful, too.”
Kate turned her head as if surveying the room generally. “Ooh, yes, he’s real cool. What do you plan to do? You could try the Dark Instagram. It’s a bit dangerous but I bet he’s on it. My cousin showed me how to get on. They couldn’t kill off all social media. Never will.”
Emmaline shook her head.“I thought about it but I’m not brave enough and am going to make contact the safe way. I’ll instruct my solicitor to send him a note.”