The International Writers Magazine
:Class Futures

The future according to class 7B
Louise Powell

he tutor cast his eyes over the class before him. In turn, they gazed back up at him, waiting for the teaching to start and for their heads to be filled with knowledge. Two boys at the back started whispering only to have their chatter cut short by Mr Black’s curt coughing.

"Today’s class will deal with the future," he said slowly, patrolling the front of the room like a guard dog. He cast another glance towards the front row. All eyes were on him; just the way it should be.
"Please sir," piped up a small girl in the middle row. "How are we supposed to know what the future will be like?"
"Yeah, where’s your time machine sir?!" jeered one of the whisperers. Mr Black didn’t look phased at all. In fact, he merely stared at the back row, sizing up the pupil who dared mock him.
"I’m glad you asked Stevens," his voice was icy. It was hard to find any emotion on his pale face at all; not even his eyes flickered with anything other a burning desire to make them understand. "We won’t be looking at what the future WILL hold. Nobody knows that, not even with our technology today. I want to know what you think."
"No girls!" laughed Stevens, as he high-fived the boys around him, who seemed to agree.
"Well, we’ll have one without boys then," a bold red headed girl declared from the front row. Her friends all nodded, lips pursed in disgust.
"No," Mr Black retorted calmly, "you don’t seem to be getting the point of the exercise. In 40 years or so, you’ll be the same age I am now (no tittering in the back Tompkins). What will your world look like?"
The small girl in the middle row raised her hand and was acknowledged.
"More houses to deal with all the people, sir," she stammered. He nodded, but declined to comment, pointing a bony finger at a boy sat by the window.
"I’d like to say world peace, sir. That ain’t gonna happen though is it?"
Mr Black looked amused at this idealisation.
"Transportation by them pads that look like those Star Trek thingies!" cried a boy at the back. Sneers rose from the boys around him. It wasn’t done to admit to liking old fashioned shows like that. Not put off, the boy continued, "No, it’s true! My Dad said all they need to do is work out how to put you all back together in the right places…or you’d end up all…well like wrong, wouldn’t you?"
"Like your brain you mean!" more high-fives ensued from Stevens and the back row.
Mr Black glared at him. "Nobody seems to be thinking outside the media’s representation of your future. Do you really think we’ll all be living in bubbles on one of Jupiter’s moons?" He noted that several hands fell into laps after his last comment.
"Sir," a pretty dark haired girl raised her hand, "do you think this idea for genetics will get…worse?"
Mr Black almost smiled. "Worse? Surely it’s a good thing if diseases can be cured? This sort of thing has been happening for years."
"Maybe, for them ones born to help their brothers and sisters. I mean that was amazing when it first happened…but what about them that choose their babies because they want blonde hair?" She looked determinedly at her tutor.
"Firstly, your grammar is appalling. How can you structure a good argument sounding like you were raised by 21st century yobbos? Secondly, does it not amaze you what science can do these days?"
"No sir, it doesn’t," she grimaced, "it’s all wrong, choosing your baby so that it don’t…doesn’t have flaws that it should have. We’re not meant to be perfect, not like robots." Mr Black stared at her hard. Deep in the back of his mind the word "trouble-maker" flashed. ‘Watch her closely, she’s got ideas of her own’ the scripting continued. He shook his head in an amused sort of way.
"I want a world where hover-boards are given to them without a license!" piped up Stevens again. "Them flash gits can’t even do any of the good tricks!" The class disrupted into mad cackling as the boys discussed the latest tricks they’d read about and the girls fawned over the boys who *could* pull off those tricks. Mr Black could see he wasn’t going to get any further with them. Besides, he was too interested in the dark haired girl. It was dangerous, a girl of her age having ideas. They’d learnt that centuries ago. He made a mental note to video-page her parents.
"Alright," he silenced the class with one shout. "For next lesson, I want a 2,000 word essay on what your future will be like. Don’t moan at me, Stevens, Wordpad 3000 will have that done in 5minutes, there’s no excuse."

He smiled inwardly as they all stood up in silence, unplugging the memory sticks from the backs of their necks, taking his words with them wherever they went. Once upon a time, filling their heads with knowledge was just a metaphor; how things had changed. He arranged the discs on his desk and selected the correct one for his next lesson. Raising his hand to a button on his left temple, he adjusted his focus slightly. Class 8C would be a handful and need extra attention.

He turned and watched the last little body glide up the corridor. Mr Black loved working at the school, how much easier than the government work he’d first been programmed for. Filling their minds with what was decreed. The dark haired girl and her rebellious nature flickered back into his mind – he was supposed to look for future rebellion to crush it early. Sighing, he turned to the board and took out his marker, writing the date for the next class – April 17th 2159.
© Louise Powell December 2005

Louise is a Creative Arts student at the University of Portsmouth


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