Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tales of an Exiled Citizen #5: A Life of Crime

Beginning of story
Previous Part

They had a saying in the Crazy Age: "Crime doesn't pay."  I realize most of you will just have to take my word for it.  Not many people know a lot about the Crazy Age, other than what has been passed down in whispers.  The main reason I do is because while most kids in the City would spend their Free Hour playing lazer tag or exploring the latest VR world, I would head to the Library.  That's what I truly miss about the City.  Thousands of books, lined up on shelves, filling an entire room.  I know, it probably boggles your mind.  And some of these books had hundreds of pages yet could still fit in your pocket.  Many of the old ones were locked up because the pages threatened to crumble at one touch.  I doubt I could have read them all in an entire lifetime.

Anyway, it was kind of ironic that they said that crime doesn't pay in the Crazy Age, because back then, it frequently did.  Indeed, towards the end, making money and committing crimes became almost synonymous.  They even were afraid to prosecute some of the biggest criminals for fear of collapsing the economy.

In the City, though, it is a completely different story.  They monitor everything you buy or sell, or even throw away -- and you are supposed to report every gift you give or receive.  If you throw something away that you are recorded as having bought and haven't reported as receiving as a gift, you are automatically suspected of a crime.  Similarly, if you bought an unusually large amount of something and didn't give it away, that was considered suspicious, too.

This seriously limited what kind of profit could be made from a criminal enterprise.  Anything durable would show up when it was put into the disposal units for recycling.  Anything too large would be hard to hide from the monitoring.  Anything that required a lot of raw materials to make would show up in the buying records.  About the only thing that was left was stuff like food and "personal services", neither of which could you really accumulate much of.

Until I found the Bean tree, that is.

Ultimately, the Beans were consumable, so they didn't show up in the disposal units.  However, their potency lasted for years, so they didn't spoil like food.  They were small enough and valuable enough that you could have a fortune in your pocket.  And since I got them from Outside, they didn't show up on any buying records.

In the end, that is what got me Exiled.  Being a drug dealer was bad, but for a brief while, I actually made crime profitable in the City.  That was my crime for which I got the ultimate punishment.

Part 6: In Morning

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