No Future Ch. 03bybradley_stoke©
An Englishman's Home
Phil hated the long drive home from Warwick Business Park to Ashton Lovelock. Not until the gates to the town were shut close behind him and he was once again under the protection of the most advanced and modern security technology that money could buy did he feel safe. No terrorist or vagrant could trespass the gated community of Ashton Lovelock. Not even a bird flying overhead or a mouse burrowing beneath the hi-tech walls could stay undetected for long by the town's computer systems, which also served to modulate the temperature, keep the rain off the walkways and ensure that the lawns were kept regulation length. And all this was within an entirely self-contained energy system with a zero carbon footprint.
All the same, there were several insecure kilometres on Phil's journey home from work where the windows of his battery-driven car had to stay sealed whatever the weather and it was essential to keep his tracking devices set on. Most of his commute was along a secure stretch of carriage-way. Few terrorists could trespass onto the tarmac beyond the electric fences and deep ditches that protected it. The road from the Warwick Business Park to the A46 was similarly protected but not at the expense of tax-payers but of the businesses based at the park.
There was more than ten kilometres of unsecured road—mostly in a poor state of repair—from Ashton Lovelock to the tolls at the start of the private roadway. The hover-mechanism of his car might be less energy-efficient and burnt up a lot of the battery charge, but it kept the car's chassis safe from damage and ensured that Phil and his Ford-Toyota Apollo got to its destination without being mired in a ditch or, worse, car-jacked by plebs eager to plunder his car for valuable parts.
It just wouldn't do to imagine what would happen to Phil in such a situation. Highwaymen were known to kidnap law-abiding citizens such as him for ransom. They were the terrestrial equivalent of the pirates that terrorised the high seas and thereby helped to make imports so prohibitively expensive. There were rumours of an illicit trade in human body parts used by unrecognised physicians for plebs who couldn't afford proper health-care or, worse, used as raw material in the bio-labs such as the one at the business park just next door to Phil's office.
Those kilometres were the only few Phil ever got to see of the England the plebs inhabited. The pity of it was that he saw the same few kilometres every day, both coming south and going north. Familiarity with the sight didn't make him any fonder of it. There was rubbish piled up, as there was no waste disposal business to remove it. The buildings were in a terrible state of repair with slates falling off roofs and the lawns untended. The pavements that lined the roadside were crumbled and potholed and in almost as bad a condition as the road itself. This was also where the homeless lived under tarpaulin with their children running around half-naked like the savages they were.
Phil knew that there were different classes of pleb, just as there were different professions such as technocrats, executives and administrators. However, whereas the distinction between the professions was measured by academic achievement and seniority, the diversity amongst the plebs was vacuous and chaotic. There were those in paid employment or who were self-employed amongst whom there was a lucky few that owned road-vehicles that were characteristically in a very poor condition and often relied on inefficient carbon fuels that their owners had to buy off the black market. The plebs clearly deserved their constant chastisement by the media for their fecklessness and irresponsibility. They sometimes had families with three or more children. Some were even eligible for state handouts and lived off these rather than make an honest living. They were a burden on honest professionals like Phil and this was the principal reason why he resented having to pay taxes.
Phil knew there were countless orders of pleb, but the distinction was difficult to discern among the faceless, ragged and malnourished scum that he dutifully ignored on his journey towards the robot-operated tolls that automatically recognised his car and let him through without him needing to pause on the hazardous side of the barrier. Some were of immigrant stock. Although they were generally known as illegals, a few had somehow gained English citizenship and therefore not technically illegal. On the rare occasion that Phil needed to speak to a pleb he had difficulty understanding a word they said through the dense thicket of regional and even foreign accents.
At least his tax money no longer needed to support the Northern English plebs now that their separate assembly had taken over this responsibility. If the Geordies clamoured for independence like the Scots, Welsh and Irish before them, Phil would have no objections in granting it to them.
Although the overwhelming majority of the English population could be classified as plebs they inhabited only a fraction of the Republic's habitable land. Most was owned and managed by agri-businesses, business parks, commercial parks and, of course, gated communities. The plebs had to make do with the space left over. And what did they have to complain about? It wasn't as if there was a place for them to live in an agri-business compound or an assembly plant. That was reserved for robots. If only the plebs would stop breeding and just die out.
Phil drove the final kilometre or so within Ashton Lovelock to his home along roads, lined by pavements and lawns, that couldn't be more different from those infested by homeless scum. The garage doors opened well before his car rolled onto the driveway and a welcoming scent of lavender and fuchsia wafted out from his living room.
Phil wandered into the kitchen where a meal was already waiting for him, prepared by the robo-chef from the same genetically enhanced foodstuffs that were being designed and patented in the Sony-Monsanto Bio-Research faculty based at Warwick Business Park.
As he tucked into his dinner, Phil wondered what he could do this evening.
Phil wasn't married, although he had many girlfriends. Most of these were of the cyberspace variety that he couldn't dare to meet in real life and the others he'd met through VR dating. But somehow today he wasn't in the mood for cybersex. Perhaps he could arrange a social evening with Larry, Artie and Aaron and, but unless he could hold back on the alcohol he'd have to arrange a taxi to travel the five kilometres or so back home and it was always a hassle waiting for it to arrive.
Phil checked his mobile for messages.
What could he do?
Phil smiled. Well, why not? He deserved it and it would scarcely break the bank.
There was just one other contact with the pleb majority Phil maintained that wasn't with taxi-drivers, waiters and bar-staff. And it would arrive within half an hour of being summoned.
He picked up his phone and scrolled through a holographic display of images of mostly semi-clad women that he'd bookmarked earlier.
The sort of women Phil preferred was the type that one could call voluptuous. Not fat, although very few plebs could afford to be that now. Obesity was a disease that famine had eliminated amongst the poor. The women that Phil preferred had an ample bosom, good-sized hips and thighs and—this was important to him—white skin. So many plebs were of a complexion that was all shades from black through brown to off-white, but Phil preferred women who were, if anything, rather paler than his own slightly olive-hued skin-colour.
Today was going to be Arabella's turn. Her real name was almost certainly not Arabella. Plebs often had names that were decidedly non-English, like Anoushka or Fatima, or ones that were drastically abbreviated to Shell or Tray or Madge. Arabella's status was set to Ready and she could be at his address within forty minutes assuming that she, or rather her driver, wasn't detained at the entry gate for too long. A few jabs with his finger on the touch-screen and Arabella was on her way and a provisional deposit transferred from Phil's credit account to that of the Empire Dating Agency (Ashton Lovelock).
Phil settled down to his delicious soy-lamb vindaloo while he watched the television news on the kitchen wall screen. It was the usual stuff about floods, droughts, famines and terrorism that numbed his senses and those of anyone else who troubled to follow current affairs. The riots in Yorkshire were a worry. Phil shuddered as he watched the pictures of Shopping Malls in flames and mobs rampaging around the town centre in their traditional uniform of shell-suits and baseball caps.
Thank God Phil only did his shopping on-line.
At last the doorbell rang. Arabella's driver was another woman, perhaps in her early forties, who wore a smart uniform with the letters Empire Dating emblazoned across her jacket. She held Arabella's hand while, following protocol, she gave a little speech about what the service cost, how much the extras might cost, and the limits that Phil would have to respect.
"Definitely no excretion. Definitely no fisting. Semen on the face, but not in the mouth."
"Anal?" asked Phil as he admired Arabella's sizeable arse that was straining to escape from the skimpy white dress under which peeked the lacy edge of her knickers.
"Anal is fine," said the escort. "It's classified as a standard extra."
Phil took Arabella's hand to take her across the threshold.
"One hour or two?" the escort asked. "Or would you prefer half-hourly instalments?"
"Two hours would be fine," said Phil, as he tucked in his shirt to hide the overhang of his stomach over his waist.
Obesity might be rare amongst the plebs but it was by no means rare amongst the more privileged.