••• The International Writers Magazine: Homelife - A future
The Walker Family 2025
Tom Walker was late getting home from work that evening because a self-driving car had gotten its wires crossed and had stopped on the track of his monorail train. Tom lived in a suburb of Sacramento, the state capital, and he worked in one of the state agencies, the Department of Affordable Health, established in 2025 after Obamacare had disintegrated because of its rising costs and the defections of almost all of its insurers.
When Tom finally arrived, hot and sweaty because the train’s air-conditioning had stopped working, as usual, his wife Trish gave him unwelcome news: their 16-year old daughter Miranda had invited a boy from her Gender Studies class to come over and study with her. Miranda was now over at the boy’s house, having dinner with his family.
“It was bound to happen,” said Trish.
“I suppose so,” said Tom. “I still don’t like it.”
“What’s wrong with it, Dad?” asked their 10-year old son Bradley, who was finishing his micro-meal.
“I’ll explain it to you later,” said Tom.
“Are you afraid they’ll have sex?”
“I see that you know too much already.”
“You’ll have to handle it yourself, Tom,” his wife said. “I have to go back to the office tonight to catch up on my reports.”
Tom had been a stay-at-home husband while Trish went to business school. She’d then become an executive in one of Sacramento’s many non-profit agencies that dispensed aid to disadvantaged groups such as drug addicts, alcoholics and the homeless.
“Okay,” sighed Tom. “I’ll do my best. And you,” he said to Bradley, “finish your meal and do your homework.”
Tom was in the living room and had just turned on the giant-screen TV when Miranda and her friend arrived. Miranda was a pretty girl with brown hair and eyes. She wore glasses but had none of the tattoos or piercings that most of the girls her age had. The boy, whose name was Alfred, was about her height, had a round face and also wore glasses, making him look rather nerdish. He also didn’t have any visible body piercings but did have a tattoo on one arm.
“Alfred and I are going to my room to study,” Miranda said.
“I see,” said Tom. “Alfred, I suppose you’ve been instructed about, uh, protection.”
“We’ve been instructed since kindergarten,” said Alfred. “But you don’t have to worry. We’re actually going to study. I’m still not sure of my gender identity.”
“Your gender identity?”
“Alfred’s father just told everybody he’s a transgender,” said Miranda.
“Yes,” said Alfred. “You can imagine that my brothers and sisters and I were pretty surprised.”
“What about your mother?”
“Well, she might have had her suspicions. Anyway, we’re all supporting him.”
“That’s good,” said Tom without enthusiasm. “Well, I guess it is.”
“Can we go up to my room now?” asked Miranda.
“Yes,” said Tom.
The TV was now showing a couple engaged in a hot sexual encounter but Tom didn’t pay attention; his mind was still swirling with Alfred’s revelation about his father. Of course a transgender person had become a staple of every television sitcom and of most other types of shows, including those about superheroes. It still boggled his mind. Well, at least he didn’t have to worry about his daughter having unprotected sex.
“What’s a transgender?” asked Bradley, who had suddenly appeared in the living room.
“How long have you been listening?” asked Tom.
“Just a few minutes. I had to re-charge my iPad.”
“Well, I’ll explain it to you later. You can go to your room now and do some studying.”
“Gee, nobody tells me anything.”
Bradley shrugged. “Okay. I can always Google it, you know.” Then he was gone.
On the TV, the couple who’d been having hot sex was now in a gun battle with a dozen or so terrorists, who luckily were bad shots, so the outcome wasn’t in doubt. Shortly after, his wife Trish returned home. “How’s work?” Tom asked her.
“Tiring,” said Trish, plopping down on the sofa and taking out one of her marijuana cigarettes.
“Do you have to smoke those?” asked Tom.
Trish shrugged. “They help me relax. You should try one. Everyone smokes now.”
“I know. I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“How did it go with Miranda and her boy friend?”
“Okay, I guess.” Tom told her about Alfred’s gender uncertainty.
“Yes, I hear that’s pretty common nowadays among teen-age boys. What’s that on TV?”
“I’m not sure, the usual stuff; sex and violence.”
“It’s getting pretty boring but the young adult crowd seem to like it.”
The couple on TV, having vanquished the bad guys, were now at home relaxing, with every other sentence of their conversation containing the F word.”
“And there’s also obligatory obscenity,” said Tom.
“So I hear.”
At that point, Miranda and Alfred came down the stairs. “How’d the studying go?” Tom asked.
Alfred, who, Tom now noticed, looked a little disheveled, blushed and muttered, “Okay.”
“Alfred has definitely found out he’s a heterosexual,” Miranda announced.
“Yes, we had sex, Dad. Why are you so surprised? You didn’t think I was still a virgin, did you.”
Tom turned to his wife. “Did you know?”
“Well, I had an idea.”
“See, Dad,” said Bradley, who had appeared at the top of the stairs. “nobody tells us anything.”
Tom’s head was in a whirl. “Go to your room, Bradley,” he said.
“Well, I should be going now,” said Alfred. “It was nice to meet you, Mr. Walker. And thanks, Miranda. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Miranda went upstairs and disappeared into her room. Tom dropped down into the sofa with a huge sigh. “Maybe I will have one of those marijuana things,” he said.
© Martin Green November 2016
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