tagNovels and NovellasNo Future Ch. 12

No Future Ch. 12

bybradley_stoke©

XII
The Good Seed
Molly & Mark
2071



There was no denying it. Molly had taken the death of her unborn child very badly. The shock of the loss sent her into a downward spiral of despondency and then depression. The inevitable result was that she lost her job. Her impressive academic qualifications notwithstanding, she was now no more useful to humanity than a housewife. And although if anyone should ask she'd insist that it was her free choice to spend more time with little Monica, she was clearly not at all suited to the role. And now Monica was at primary school there was no real advantage to Molly being available throughout the day.

Furthermore, it was difficult for the couple to get by on only one income. The savings the couple had stashed away was now being eaten up by the monthly interest on their mortgage. After paying for that, the monthly season ticket and the basic cost of living, there was nothing much left over. As the debts continued to rise and a steadily growing proportion of Mark's salary was committed to interest payments on existing debt, Molly stretched out as best she could the available budget for food and clothing. But although the charity shops in the Greenfields shopping precinct might provide good quality clothes for a child of five years old, they were less useful for buying the clothes Mark had to wear for work. Molly resorted to the cheaper supermarkets and the weekly market stalls as a means of cutting costs, but these were all an hour's walk away in Rickmansworth.

There was little now to cheer Mark up when he arrived home in the evening, more tired from his commute than from his long hours in the office. And there wasn't any cheer in the news that he'd read on his tablet on the way home. England's negotiations for re-admittance to the Northern European Union were fraught. France and the Netherlands still resented the English government for its role in causing the once much larger and wealthier European Union to split into two halves over the issue of ratifying the membership of Turkey and Armenia. Scotland and Wales still held a grudge against England for its role in the dissolution of the United Kingdom together. And there was little at all encouraging to be found from a casual scan through the news. All-out war in the Middle East seemed increasingly inevitable and the United States was far too preoccupied with its own worries about secession and civil war to do anything about it. Flood barriers were going up all round London, just as most of the Southern English coast was similarly enclosed by an ever-heightening wall to guard against rising sea levels. And to cap it all, Princess Rachel had broken off her engagement. Bruce Banner was now a man who'd travelled the distance from being England's most celebrated bachelor to being the most despised.

Mark had little enough opportunity in the evening to squeeze in quality time with Molly before he slumped down by his wife in their conjugal bed. As much as Mark enjoyed the wholesome vegetarian meals Molly was now cooking, he was far too exhausted to demonstrate his appreciation in the way that had invigorated the couple's early years together. And Mark was too tired to be much use at the weekend even on those occasions when he wasn't required to go to work for a marketing campaign or a business conference.

On Sundays, the couple would shop together in the dilapidated Park Road Mall where the cheap but not especially cheerful shops were clustered. It was a depressing parade of pawn shops, instant loan stores, charity shops and second-hand clothes stores, interspersed at regular intervals by the boarded-up facade of one of Rickmansworth's former shopping delights.

And in amongst it all were youth from the suburb's rundown estates who dressed in clothes that expressed only too well their relative poverty. The clothes advertised desperation rather than high fashion. These young men and women weren't the ones dressed in the colourful psychedelic fabrics and artistically arranged hair that adorned the young people who were jiggling provocatively on the flat wall screens in the shops. Rather they wore a jumble of whatever they could find in the charity shops. Many young people, whether male or female, avoided even the need to visit the hairdresser by shaving off their hair. However much he preferred to keep a discreet distance from them, Mark was aware that today's youth could hardly be blamed for their poverty. Unemployment, especially amongst the young, was shockingly high. As Molly could confirm, well-paid jobs had become harder and harder to find even for the well-qualified. If a young man or woman continued to study beyond the current school leaving age the path to higher education was beset by crippling loans and fierce competition for college places.

"I kept some of the best fruit aside for you, Molly love," said the burly shaven-headed stall-holder in the vegetable market with a friendly pat on her back. "Organic, it is. None of your GM or synthetic stuff. Grown in proper orchards, it is."

"Do you know him?" Mark wondered, as he and Molly strolled over to the dairy stall where the eggs and dairy came directly from farms in Hertfordshire and were sold at prices that were even more competitive than those in WalMart-Tesco.

"Of course," said Molly. "I know all the stall-holders here."

Molly wasn't exaggerating. She knew Wayne the stall-holder very well just as she'd also got to know Alan, Mickey and Garry.

Her idle time out of work hadn't gone entirely to waste.

Molly found conversations with Mark had become ever more depressing and monotonous. Their discussions were always about the same things these days and Molly just wanted to get away from it. The couple's debts were piling up. It looked likely that they would have to default on the mortgage now that interest rates had risen yet another percentage point. It was unlikely that Monica would be accepted at the Rickmansworth school they'd applied for her and she might end up in an overcrowded one in Watford. There was no likelihood of Mark getting a pay rise. In fact, with the continuing slump in international car sales there might even be redundancies on the horizon.

And when you turned on the TV it was always the same old stuff. War. Famine. Plague. Floods. Failing businesses.

Even Princess Rachel had failed the nation.

What could Molly do in those hours from nine o'clock when Monica was packed off to school and three o'clock when she had to be picked up again? She could trudge back to their tiny apartment in Bluebell Grove and sit mesmerised by chat shows and twentieth-century movies interspersed by debt relief adverts. Or she could aimlessly wander the streets of Greenfields. Or she could stroll over to Rickmansworth where she'd got to know some of the town's other citizens who also had to idle away each empty day.

For the small amount of cash that she might otherwise have used towards the bus fare into town she could buy skunk, meth, coke or even smack. Illegal drugs were very cheap these days. The devastation resulting from the Stan Wars and the current unrest in the Middle East had dramatically increased their illicit supply. More unemployment had likewise enlarged the size of the target market and the number of those willing to risk arrest and imprisonment to maintain the flow and availability of the product. After all, the cost of a hit from crack or H was rather less than that of a single cigarette and there were almost exactly as many places to sit down and enjoy it.

Molly knew of many reasons for the easy availability, cheapness and demand for narcotics. One reason highlighted in the news was the impotence of law enforcement agencies throughout the world, particularly in the disintegrating United States and the Kingdom of England. Police forces had more important matters to deal with than the drug trade, such as organised crime and civil disorder.

Wayne didn't supply drugs, but he liked to share a puff of crack after a long morning on the stall. Alan didn't supply drugs either, but he often had a spare wrap or two of skunk. Mickey and Garry worked as a team, but they were very low down the pecking order and never handled quantities larger than a kilo. Molly was, of course, yet lower down still the supply chain, but she was already sufficiently knowledgeable about drugs etiquette from her relatively wild youth to get accepted amongst her new friends. She knew how to prepare a bong; how to heat stuff in tin foil; how much to use and how long to wait till she got a hit. And she had the enviable ability of being able to hang around in the company of her new friends for only a few hours a day without ever overdoing it. When she appeared outside Greenfields Primary School to take her daughter home, no one would ever suspect that she might be stoned out of her mind.

Which she often was.

Molly also knew how to get a little extra for free. This was another skill she'd learnt before she'd met Mark and settled down to a life of office work and commuting in London. Wayne was one of the lucky few who Molly would allow the privilege of a free fuck. She'd secretly always liked a bit of rough. Mickey and Garry had to pay in kind for the rewards she was scarcely generous in doling out. Unlike women who relied on the proceeds of selling their bodies to pay for drugs (and there were many prostitutes lining the kerbsides of Rectory Lane and Nightingale Road), Molly insisted on using a condom. Like drugs these were also very cheap and easy to get hold of.

Molly wasn't a drug addict. She'd never been an addictive personality. She liked the hit she got from the wide choice of drugs that were readily available, but she never allowed it to distract her from the responsibilities of parenthood and of being a partner. She was no more addicted to drugs than she was to sex, but both brought danger, excitement and genuine physical thrills that somehow compensated for the boredom of not working and despair at life's apparent futility.

In any case, Molly didn't want Mark's prick to be the only one she'd get to know for the rest of her life. Wayne's was thick and chunky: a bit like the man himself. When he ejaculated inside the condom it pushed out the nipple like a tiny balloon. Mickey had a long thin penis which wasn't what you'd imagine for a man whose stomach drooped over his waist. He had very good staying power which enabled Molly to come several times in a single session. Garry was probably the most disappointing of the men Molly had got to know in this intimate way, but he was also the man most pathetically grateful. He was strangely shy and retiring for someone who made a living by hustling and selling drugs to strangers.

Furthermore, Molly never forgot her class loyalties. She made certain that there was no overlap between her daytime vices and what her neighbours in Bluebell Grove would ever get to know. Molly was practical, sensible and well-prepared for most eventualities.

Nevertheless, the bad news when it arrived did so with a sense of inevitability.

Molly's first indication that her suburban dream life in Greenfields wouldn't last much longer was when Mark gave an account of what Tata Benz executives had been telling their employees about past sales figures and future projections.

The thrust of the presentation was about the ever worsening state of the automobile market and Tata Benz's success in diversifying away from its historical core business. All the same, the bottom line was that the mass market for cars was no longer as profitable as it once had been and that the company's offices in the more minor international centres would soon have to be closed. One of the more peripheral centres for the Indian-German company was the Kingdom of England, where future sales projections didn't offer much of a source of confidence.

Mark continued his commute for several more months as the company struggled to present its declining fortunes in as good a light as it could to financiers, stockholders and the general public. He was assured that he would receive a reasonable but not fantastically generous redundancy payment. What Molly knew for sure was that there would soon be two people spending their days in enforced idleness in the cramped space of Apt. 4, 3 Bluebell Grove.

However, even that disheartening scenario wasn't to be.

"It's either eviction and homelessness or this," Mark announced to Molly after explaining the options. "I know it's not as nice as Greenfields, but this studio apartment in Dagenham is about all we can afford until either you or I get another job."

"It's a rented flat," wailed Molly. "What about the deposit we paid? Can't we use that to buy another place?"

"The deposit just about covers the outstanding debt on the mortgage payments," said Mark.

"Dagenham's all slums and sink estates," Molly complained. "What sort of school will Monica go to? What about the crime in the area? You've seen the stories about gangland killings."

"It's a shorter commute to London," Mark remarked. "It's almost close enough to Docklands for us to be able to walk to work."

"The only reason it's cheap in Dagenham is because it's first in line when the flood barriers break," said Molly who'd done her research. "The last time the barriers broke, Creekmouth were under more than a metre of sewerage and mud. Newlands Park was marshland for months afterwards. They even had to close the A13."

"Well, that's one good reason for us to rent and not to buy property in the area," said Mark with a grim smile.

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