The Warden and I would speak about all sorts of things. For example, she often asked me if any of the prisoners were plotting a riot. I told her that they weren’t, but that so-and-so might have been up to such-and-such. I based these reports of mine on rumours that I had heard circulating the Centre. The Warden seemed to be pleased with these reports, so pleased in fact that she planned for me to be released from the Centre one year earlier than I had originally been sentenced. She gave me a number to call.
“You’ll need a job when you get out,” said the Warden. “Ring this number. Tell them Michelle sent you.”
I was very surprised to learn that her name was Michelle.
Upon my release, I was driven back to my old house by a pair of very friendly Liberation Officers. My mum greeted me at the door and gave me a big hug. My dad was busy at work. He had been working non-stop since my arrest. That made me very proud. The first thing I did following my return was settle down for a hearty lunch, cooked by my mum. The second thing I did was ring the phone number given to me by the Warden. It turned out that they were expecting my call and offered me a brand-new job, almost immediately.
My new job was very difficult. I was tasked with visiting restaurants and bars and pubs and other grubby places along the border of our great country, where the civilising influence of our wonderful First Minister had been diminished following a decade and a half of southern propaganda. I was instructed to go to meetings that were being held by suspected agitators, armed only with a recording device that had been surgically grafted to my eyes and ears, enabling the men and women who worked for the government to see and hear whatever I saw and heard.
I turned out to be very good at this job. I successfully uncovered dozens of plots against the First Minister and was personally responsible for the arrest of two hundred agitators by the end of my first five years as what my fellow Liberation Officers referred to as a ‘Fly-on-the-wall.’
My success as a ‘Fly-on-the-wall’ stemmed from my absolute devotion to the First Minister and the government. I never ceased to pray to the First Minister every night before I went to bed. This ritual seemed to purge my mind of whatever rebellious, hateful influence had generated the dream that had culminated in my initial arrest. I also constricted and regulated my physical body in order to craft myself into the most efficient government agent I could possibly be. I drugged my need to sleep into submission. I surgically removed the distractions of love and lust from my body, long before this was made compulsory for all Liberation Officers. I attached a new Micro-Music Box to the back of my head, so that every second of every day, I was blasted by the glorious national anthem of our country, playing on an endless loop. I never married. I bore no children. I made these sacrifices with joy ringing in my heart and loyalty beating its mighty drum in the back of my head. I lived my life, offering my body and my soul to the First Minister, and I received my rewards for this obedience with gratitude, like the-