One angry old man against the world
Britain’s prisons were grossly overcrowded, so it was trying everything it could to ease the problem. Politicians had asked drug companies to come up with something to control behaviour, some kind of ‘one shot’ solution. Tranquillisers had been tried, but were too expensive as the human body got used to them and larger doses were required for the same effect, they were also a very costly solution.
One company in particular was working on a genetic solution, a kind of chemical lobotomy which was tested on a few isolated individuals. These were extremely violent and generally uncontrollable prisoners who had to be kept separated from the main prison population not for their safety, but for the safety of others, therefore any change in behaviour would only be seen by their guards. The change was dramatic; they became docile, lethargic, and would do what ever they were told, in effect ‘model prisoners’.
Drug companies, with their monopoly of products have always been greedy and this one was no different, but the prisons minister was a shrewd old bugger and pointed out that if the company got too greedy, he would introduce as much anti-drugs legislation as he could and cost them far more than they would make from their greed. So a ‘reasonable’ price was agreed and production began, but because the company was making very little profit on the ‘product’, it began to cut back on the usual quality control and safety checks to increase its profit margin.
The ‘product’ was a great success and soon attracted interest from abroad, but as most of the foreign buyers knew what the Brits were paying, the company was unable to increase its price, so its production methods became even sloppier. Relatives of the prisoners and some of the ‘do good brigade’ kicked up about the obvious changes in the prisoners, but it was saving the state a fortune in reduced staff, plus as a bonus, they didn’t commit any more crimes on their release, so the general public was all in favour. The fact that these people had become virtually ‘zombies’ also had an unexpected effect on the criminal community, none of them wanted to be turned into zombies, so the general crime rate dropped dramatically, increasing calls for its world wide use.
With the company cutting every corner they could to meet the increasing demand, it was just a matter of time before something went drastically wrong. An employee with a bad head cold had sneezed into a production vat and as there was no one about at the time to see it, he said nothing about it. Now genetics is a little understood field and sometimes produces unexpected results, in this case, the cold virus was genetically modified into a carrier for the ‘product’. The vat that he’d sneezed into contained a growth medium in which the modified cold virus multiplied rapidly and as sterilization of the vats had long been abandoned to increase profits, the virus was easily transferred to the next batch, from then on it became part of the ‘product’.
Because most prisons had very few staff now and actual contact between staff and prisoners was rare, a cold that spread through the prisoners was virtually ignored and no one took a great deal of notice when relatives of prisoners developed colds and subsequently became zombies. The damage was done and it was too late to stop it as it spread rapidly throughout the population, the rich and powerful attempted to isolate themselves from the zombie curse, but they had to eat and drink and this virus got into everything. A few seemed to have a natural immunity, and it was ironic that the numbers were roughly equivalent to the number of ‘super rich’, the ‘elite’ who had run the world for many years. This ‘power shift’ from the elite to the naturally immune was at first not recognized, oh they quickly became aware of their power over the ‘zombies,’ but were unaware of their much greater powers.
Society continued to function remarkably well; people would rise in the morning, wash, dress and go to work. They weren’t zombies in the true sense of the word, more like emotionless, speechless automaton, with a case of a light hypnoses, where any suggestion was acted upon. They could still think, but the process was a good deal slower. They drove, cycled, walked or took public transport as they always had, the main difference was; the steady pace and the lack of anger during hold-ups, whether traffic queues or people queues. The result of this lack of anger was that there were no traffic ‘accidents’ or altercations in people queues, which meant that the queues moved in an orderly fashion and everyone got to their destination much quicker.
Businesses that treated their workers as automaton functioned really well, mass production, transport, storage, and many that required an automatic response like; farming, and fishing. But within these, the bosses, managers and supervisors who thought that they ‘ran’ things, discovered that their workers functioned far more efficiently without their continuous interruptions and criticism.
Supermarkets and self-service stores worked well, as they did not need to converse at the check-out, the clerk only needed to point to the total on the till. They could still have a night out at a restaurant by pointing to the items on the menu, or purchase something in a small shop by pointing to it. In fact, body language and gesture became the new form of communication.
The businesses that suffered were those that required their staff to think or converse; Politics, Economics, the judicial system, Education, high pressure sales, the entertainment industry, and virtually all of the ‘scam industries. Parts of the TV services survived; those showing continuous repeats, or old films. But things like news and info channels collapsed, which was no bad thing, the elite had used these and other media to ‘brain wash’ the general public for years, now all that ceased.
Traditional Education came back, but it was all chalk and no talk, with a great deal of help from the Internet.
The military was an odd case, although the ordinary troops were very much ‘automata’s’, they were trained to function under orders. So, no orders, no function, ergo; no Army, Navy, or Air force.
Much of the bureaucracy that was a large part of the old society failed to work, because the egotistical heads of department could no longer give orders and their minions were so used being told what to do, that they could do nothing.
Things like Banks, found it difficult to do person to person transactions, but the ‘on-line’ sections took off, in fact a good many businesses excelled ‘on line’, and a large part of all transactions were conducted this way.
The phone industry initially collapsed, but quickly recovered as ‘texting’ and Internet use surged in popularity.
Much of the worlds TAX authorities collapsed, but as Politicians could no longer waste those Taxes on hair brained schemes and Wars, it made little difference to the running of each country, in fact most ran far more efficiently without the ‘interference’ of Politicians. Some of the more authoritarian one’s really ‘bloomed.’
The worlds stock markets collapsed, but as they bore no relation to reality anymore, having been manipulated for so long by large international Banks and Government as their own private money making machines, they had very little effect on actual World Economics and the true value of real stocks. The very large Banks had so many of these ‘fantasy stocks’, particularly ‘paper’ commodities like ‘precious metals’ on their books, that they immediately went bust. The only people effected by all this were the very rich ‘elites’ who no longer had any power over the system anyway, (no puppet politicians), so they couldn’t demand ‘bail-outs’ or ‘bail-ins’ for their private ‘money machines’.
One odd one was; the deaf and dumb found themselves in demand to teach sign language to many ‘zombies’.
Medical and care facilities continued to function, although at reduced levels, mainly because violent crime was almost non-existent, and vehicle crashes and other forms of ‘accident’ were now a rare occurrence. As these were almost 80% of all admissions in the past, hospitals were now much quieter places.
Those with still fully functioning minds soon discovered that they could just tell a zombie what to do and they would do it, no matter how bizarre. Many had great fun inflicting ‘pay back’ on ex bosses, ex spouses, or anyone they considered had ‘done them wrong.’ For them, this was a new lease of life, on their terms. No more political bullshit and oppression, no petty rules and regulations, to go where you please, do what you please and say what you please, true freedom in every sense of the word.
To go to a millionaires villa and tell him you are his new ‘house guest’, or board a private jet and demand you be taken anywhere in the world, walk into a travel agent and book a holiday on a swanky cruise ship, then tell the clerk to stamp the bill ‘paid in full.’ As most of those unaffected by the virus were just ordinary guys, this kind of power was a dream come true.
Many used that power at every opportunity, you could relieve a rich man of some of his wealth, tell a copper or a bureaucrat what you thought of his petty rules, you could tell some pen pusher to stamp an outstanding bill as paid, or even to delete your details from their database and never hear from them again.
This was life how it should be lived, in pleasure and fun.
As the initial novelty began to wear off, many of the ‘ordinary Joe’s’ began to settle into a comfortable life style, there were a few who really took advantage of their power, but they had little effect on the World as a whole, in fact the world became a much nicer place to live in, even for the ‘zombies’.