Setting Story: The Lottery (based on Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery)

“Nine bells, when you hear the tone, at this time, everyone shall report to their respective ballot stations,” the voice said on the intercom. June 27th was the date the annual lottery took place in the sprawling city of New Boston of the new nation of The Imperial States. Our new leader, Mr. Summers, was the only leader we could elect, who lead the lottery. He was the weakest of anyone in power, but he was our only hope.  He wasn’t a tyrant, unlike the leaders in power, especially the ones in the federal government. No one ever knew why it was called a federation anymore, since the federals had full control over what used to be states, so it’s pretty much a unitary state. It was not clear why this lottery existed as MOL, Ministry of the Lottery, never told anyone why or where people went, but it was rumored to control the population. The lottery always occurred after the children were released from school, the summer, and it wasn’t just on June 27th in New Boston, the lottery took place everywhere throughout the Imperial States, everywhere from Alasious (Alaska) and The Annexed Territory of Canadia (Canada), to Califinror (California), to all the way to here in Massachusetts. The children felt a certain amount of liberty from the institutions of school and enjoyed it to the fullest extent.

We were in the nice urban suburb of Quincy (it is surprising the Commission on Federal Naming, didn’t change the names of most places of Massachusetts or the “state” itself, it was heard the appointed leader was from Massachusetts and liked the names, but it was just a rumor, as no one ever saw him in public, as emphasis was placed on the Supreme Party Leader and the President.) where children of Quincy were joyful placing stones in a pile. Bobby Martin, Bobby Jones, Harry Jones, and Dickie Delacroix were all having the time of their lives doing this fun activity, at least it was to them, playing in a carefree manner, unknowing to the “almighty lottery,” as our government propaganda, the state-run broadcaster,  IMSTV (Imperial States Television) called it. Mr. Summers always said he never liked the state-run TV, but he tried to be quiet about it, as he was our only likeable government official and the state or feds could give him the boot if they wanted to. Old Man Warner of Hunt Street, which was right by North Quincy High School, still believed it the lottery as in his words “it worked,” which were somewhat cryptic. 

June 27th, at exactly 14:00, we heard the nine bells and we reported to our ballot stations, which in Quincy were in the old Roxie’s meat shop on Southern Artery. It was strange that it was called a ballot station as we never actually voted, but rather the elected leader, Mr.Summers, would pull a paper from an old box, which others would check against the annual lottery postings on the IMSTV or the BANBS (Ballot Number Broadcasting System) messages on local radio. Mr.Summers went on his yearly speech before the lottery to explain the new changes to the lottery, which they would replace with an entirely digital system, as The Supreme Congressional Council believed that the system was antiquated and prone to abuse. To Old Warner, the box and the traditional lottery itself had so much legacy and he thought it should not have been changed, as it reminded him of the old wood chip carvings that they used to use (Quincy used wood chips, as the area had gone through an extreme economic depression after the revolution when pure wood was cheaper and more common than actual paper).   Mr. Summers also went on about local government changes, with the lottery moving from Roxy’s to a new dedicated building and Roxy’s would be condemned. It was very apparent to the locals that the place was in shambles, so the change was welcomed by many, and the change was championed by Mr. Summers himself. Old Man Warner sternly rejected the proposal and was very angered.  “Time to start,” Mr. Summers said, as everyone picked out a paper.  Mrs. Hutchinson ran into the building startling everyone saying “It’s okay everyone I am just running a little late,” which raised some eyebrows, as it was now 15:30 and she was damned late.  It seemed to the locals that they had only just gotten through the lottery last week. Mrs. Dunbar screamed, “I’d wish they hurry, as I have to be to the nail salon after this, and I’ll be stuck in traffic”. At 16:15 it was over and many were picked, but Mr. Summer said “Not many were picked from Quincy, more seemed to have been picked from Southie (a term the locals used to call South Boston)”. Old Man Warner said that some places were already giving this lottery up, even though it was mandated by Federal Law, albeit with some wiggle room to change this with Executive Order or Party Order from the OOIP (Order of the Imperialist Party). He also added that it would be treasonous to disobey the law, but Mrs. Dunbar added “everyone is fed up with everything going on old man” He groaned and said this was the Seventy-seventh year he had survived the infamous lottery. Mrs. Hutchinson screamed very loudly, as the Party Polizzi took her away, but her last word was “This isn’t fair in any way nor is it right, nor has it ever been right or even moral”. Old Man Warner said “Come on everyone, there’s a parade to see and everyone surrounded Mrs. Hutchinson and carried her with the Party Polizzi down the streets of Quincy down to Morrissey Boulevard, with all the tanks and beautiful nuclear weapons. That night millions of people were selected from the lottery, including everyone from small towns to neighborhoods to big cities.  Families, friends, blood-brothers were all torn apart. Quincy was a quiet example of what was to come.