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The Story:

The sun was already well on its way to the top of the sky by the time he opened his eyes. In his little corner of the woods, time allowed him the luxury of sleeping in. But he had earned this one luxury by giving up all of the rest. Running water, electricity, and plumbing were absent from his little shack, and life was consequently simpler, albeit more physically laborious.

He rose to a stretch and scratched at his backside before stumbling a few feet to the door and walking out onto the first step. Wearing nothing but underwear, there wasn’t much clothing to pull away so that he could urinate on the dead leaves. He scratched at his beard with his left hand, since his right hand was occupied.

“A little brisk this morning, huh?”

Without flinching or halting his task, he turned his head to the right to see a man in a nicely coordinated hiking outfit and black sunglasses staring up at him.

“I wouldn’t stand downhill of this if I were you, man,” he said as he finished and tucked everything back into his underwear.

The man made a wide circle around to the front of the steps.

“Mr. Grivell, I’m here to deliver a personal message: As with all houses…”
“All houses off the grid will be considered ineligible for any government assistance or services of any kind. Blah, blah, blah, I know.”

Grivell turned to reenter his home.

“No, sir… They’ll remove you.”

He stopped and focused on the visible air leaving his lungs. Puff after puff was fresh, clean. This was his land, and it was one of the few remaining habitable parts of the earth undamaged by the grid and its chemicals.

“Remove me?”
“Mr. Grivell, you have one month to connect to the grid, or at least get started doing so, or they’ll seize your property and yourself for crimes against the populous.”
“Crimes against the populous? Me? Oh, there’s a laugh! What about their chemicals? What about their…”
“I’m just the messenger, Mr. Grivell. You’ve been warned, sir.”

Grivell noticed the messenger wore a small camera for a jacket button and knew he wouldn’t be able to claim ignorance. But he wasn’t going anywhere—not without a fight.


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