The year is 2074 in Life, the planet formerly known as Earth. A new civilization has formed due to life threatening circumstances, and a new hierarchy rules over the present world. After the abuse of technology caused a severe depletion in natural resources, which led to the starvation and death of millions, the women of the world rebelled. Once in power, they employed a democratic form of government with strong environmental protections and a socialist economy. Women have successfully managed to sustain Life longer than anyone would have expected, but now, they are facing another potentially life threatening problem.
The local voting booth was about to close in a few minutes, but Omid managed to make his way to the church just in time to cast his ballot. Luckily, the church was three miles away from his house so he did his online exercises, cooked dinner, and cleaned the house before going. Voting wasn’t a priority on his list. He knew his views were in the minority and the chance of bettering his situation wasn’t likely to happen in his lifetime.
The church was a two story wooden building with large copper doors. The doors were propped open directly over a set of small steps, and above them hung a large sign that read “Vote Here Today!” Normally, the church was the voting location assigned to the local community. As he walked into the building, he recognized some people from the community. Phoebe Abdul, the superior Mink of the Keming Church, was present and eagerly talking to some churchgoers hoping to get votes for Erica Yorke’s reelection to the United Nations. Phoebe had left her husband two years ago because he refused to leave school to raise their kids. As a superior Mink, she had an image to maintain in the community and couldn’t afford to have a rebel as a husband, so she divorced him and started dating another man who was more attractive and half the age of her ex husband.
“Hello Omid! I hope you know whom you’re voting for. Did Sophia tell you who to vote for already?” Phoebe asked Omid in a joking yet condescending manner.
“Well,” Omid stopped for a moment as he thought about his true thoughts on the matter, “she always talks about how great Erica is, but I just wish she found a balance and reconciled her love for nature with our need for technology. The UN could do so much for the prevention of cancer. They would even be able to kill the plague with enough investment in technology.”
“Well that’s great, I’m glad you’re voting for Erica,” She remarked as she slyly walked away with a smirk on her face.
Omid felt a familiar pressure subconsciously telling him how to vote, a feeling he knew all too well. The Keming Church’s conservative teachings and his wife’s political affiliation trumped his desire to vote for Victoria, the technology friendly candidate. The church and Omid’s wife would never approve of Victoria as prime minister of Life. This was because Victoria was an advocate for a symbiotic relationship between nature and science. She recognized the need for a balance in Life. For the past five years, there had been a plague building up and killing both crops and humans. This plague threatened all wildlife it came into contact with and it was spreading surprisingly fast along the coast. It had become a trending topic in the political debates and there were two proposed solutions; they could develop new technology to fight off the plague, or to let nature heal itself over time. Victoria’s advocacy for technology was disregarded because the church had deemed technology evil. The church claimed that technology gave dangerous power to womankind, was only good for destruction, and was the source for all greed. Victoria’s push for newer technology was not welcomed in the slightest. However, those weren’t the most controversial views on her platform. She advocated for gay and male rights but was criticized for it. Since women outnumbered men 3:1 and males were essential for breeding, working, raising children, and tending the homes, it was imperative for women to have and maintain substantial control over their men. They had carefully planned a society on the backs of men and they had no intention of giving that up.
As he submitted his vote, Omid was disgusted with himself because he knew he had voted against his self-interest. He also knew everyone regarded him as a “dumb bro” whose strong body should be used primarily for labor. He knew he had great ideas but they were seen as illegitimate because he was a man. His kind had a chance to rule society once in the past but they failed miserably. Now it was the women’s turn. Women had the power and the numbers. They held the majority of the positions of power in the church, government, and society. Deep inside, Omid saw this election as all the rest; he was giving legitimacy to a power structure that oppressed him on a regular basis. But, he was scared; he was trapped.
That day, after casting his vote, he took the long way back in order to vent with his friend Zang. Zang was a good-looking male model that was empowered by his own experiences and education. These two would often converse about life, art, politics, and relationships among many other topics. Sophia didn’t particularly approve of their friendship because Zang had been categorized as a trouble-making rebel, but she had very little time to keep tabs on him. After a few hours, he left Zang’s and finally arrived home. It was nightfall and yet his house was anything but quiet as expected. He stood outside in the freezing cold; he was caught unprepared for the weather. He remained outside for a moment holding on to the doorknob with fearful intensity as he listened in on the glass breaking and the furniture tumbling inside. He realized his shadow could be seen from the inside through the faded oval shaped glass on the door, and before he could run, he saw someone walking towards him. He froze with fear and a myriad other thoughts coursing through his brain. He finally opened the door to find Sophia with a bottle of Grey Goose on one hand and an electric Taser on the other.
Omid Contreras was an average sized man in Life. He was five feet eleven inches tall and weighed about one hundred and ninety-five pounds. For a Twenty-one year old, he was able as can be. He was a bit on the heavy side and not very tan like most men.
There were an unusual amount of sunrays due to the depletion of the ozone layer by means of pollution in decades past. This caused people to have serious tans and often suffered from skin cancer. Omid’s fair skin was not normal, in comparison to women, for the amount of sunrays penetrating the atmosphere into Life. His skin color was probably a reflection of the amount of time Omid spent inside his home tending the house, cooking, and taking online classes.
It was difficult for Omid to understand why he was repeatedly being beaten. The black eye and his sore Tasered back were nothing new. He would constantly be beaten by Sophia and could only rationalize this by convincing himself it was his own fault. He must have deserved it, that’s what his Mink told him. Even his own father Peter told him so. After his wife Rosa cheated on him multiple times, Peter was devastated emotionally and financially. He was left to care for his son Omid by himself. Peter had no job or High School diploma, which made it even harder for him to survive. Even though years had passed since those days, Peter sometimes analyzed the dark times they lived in and concluded that it was his fault for not pleasing his wife. He was taught his whole life that he must be submissive to the wife, care for the kids and live vicariously through them. Peter was part of the first generations of men who were trained to be as productive in the new society as possible. Without a doubt, this mentality had had some affect on Omid’s perspective of the male gender role.
Omid prepared breakfast as he did every morning because he was taught he always should. Sophia walked down the steps to meet Omid in the kitchen. She kissed him on the cheek.
“Good morning beautiful,” she said innocently.
It was as if she were adding insult to injury. It appeared she had forgotten the night before or simply chose to ignore it; either way Omid was troubled. If there was a reason for that beating, it was likely there would be another one, if there wasn’t, he had endured enough.
“Hey fatty, I’m talking to you. Did you vote?” asked Sophia in a more assertive manner.
“Yes and I saw Mink Phoebe there. I voted for Erica,” answered Omid in a half timid half fearful voice.
“Good. Well, I’m going to work. I’ll see you around five,” She said as she finished her breakfast.
Omid was relieved when Sophia left. She was so abusive verbally and physically and he couldn’t take it anymore. Sophia always found ways to abuse him. She would call him fat and destroy his self-esteem. For instance, she would purposefully make sexually suggestive comments when the attractive male actor, Kyle Stouffers, was parading around in his perfectly sculptured body; as if the media’s pressure wasn’t enough. This made him feel the societal pressures that expected him to look like a model while at the same time he was expected to do housework. He was also expected to be a stay at home dad and live in a submissive state. She would always compare him to other husbands and tell him to be a man. However, not only was he secretly taking dangerous and illegal birth control to prevent getting his wife pregnant, he was also taking his online classes in secret. He found a room of his own to educate himself during the day, while dreaming of being the scientist who ended the plague at night.
One night Sophia returned drunk from a party after work and with the Taser to his neck forced him to have sex. It was after that rape incident when he finally decided to plan an escape. He had some good solutions to the problems presented by the plague backed by years of education and research. He swore if given the opportunity, and if the finances were available, he would go to college and get the education he would need to stop the plague. He decided to pack on Monday morning and head out with only a few hundred yen in his pocket. Suitcase in hand and with a letter sitting on the table explaining the reason for his departure, Omid stood by the door contemplating the ramifications of his actions. By leaving his home, he was losing stability and going into a world that was hostile to him. They may call him a whore, a “dumb bro”, a mascunazi, gay, and endless other comments so he must have been serious about his desires. He decided to take off.
Omid chose to go to the church first for one last prayer. As he sat there he thought to himself.
“I can’t believe my life. I can’t believe we used to treat women like this. It’s wrong. Nobody should oppress people as I have been oppressed. I seek a balance God! Please help me!”