They were closing in on me again. I’d been on the run all weekend, my only hope was to hide out among the ESL students in the community college. Morning classes were about to begin. If I could just make it across the street and up the steps...

I poked my head cautiously out of the alley, the street was nearly deserted but the sidewalks were crowded with students rushing from buses to their classes. I checked the crowds carefully for authority figures. None were in sight. I took a deep breath and visualized running up the steps—and sprinted from the alley.

A series of em dashes flashed in front of me, blocking egress across the street. Section breaks were thrown up to close the intersections. There was no escape. I was trapped. Doomed.

Students on the sidewalks stopped to watch two hulking, red clad officers roll down the street on either side of me. The imposing figures loomed over me. One of them read the charges in a droll monotone. “Dean Orwell. You are charged with willful and premeditated omission of comma’s in print--”

“But officer,” I protested, “it was fiction, a short story. I was using grammar creatively.” The charges stemmed from a flash fiction story I published in the university’s student newspaper, to demonstrate the importance of empathy and ambiguity in 20th century literature.

My protest was pointless, of course. The grammar police were robots.

“... if you can’t afford an attorney, a grammatical expert system will be downloaded to defend you.”

The robots each took an arm and led me away.

The verdict was as inevitable as the penalty. I would be sentenced to a remedial writing course. That would mean censure from the University’s Board of Governors, and probably dismissal. I should have been an accountant, computers like numbers. But, oh no! I wanted to be a writer, and became a professor of literature. 

© by ABR 2011
 


Comments

09/02/2012 18:37

Nice post dude

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