Short Story Fiction
U.E. Control
Scott A. Gese

In the future, Homelessness will not be tolerated. If you’re caught, The U.E.C. will remove you.

U.E. ControlImage Source/Pixabay

The homeless old man sat on the curb with his knees pulled to his chest. His feeble effort did little to warm his cold body. The winter was not being kind.

The thin blanket he had wrapped around his shoulders wasn’t helping. The cold cement he sat on mocked him as it stealthily siphoned off every therm that came its way.

The U.E.C. officer patrolling the area noticed the old man and walked over. His demeanor was as cold as the winter air. “What’s your name?”

The old man looked up. “Are you a cop?

“U.E.C. Can I see your identification?”

“Don’t have any.”

The officer pulled a small unit from his utility belt and held it out. Put your thumb on this,” he ordered.

The old man complied. “Four hundred million people in this country and that thing is going to tell you who I am?”

“Anyone in the world,” he replied. He turned on his camera and pointed it toward the old man. “Look at this.”

“Now what?”

“Face recognition and retina scan. It’s a double check.” replied the officer. “Douglas M. Biggs. Born on January 5, 1984 in Akron, Ohio. Is that correct?”

“If you say so.”

“Says you’re divorced and have four kids. Tom’s your oldest. Has a good paying job. Looks like your other kids aren’t doing too bad either. Also says you’re enrolled in several social welfare programs and that you receive welfare checks although it Looks like you trade most of them for cigarettes and booze.”

“Lots of information in that little box,” scoffed the old man.

“It’s ALL here. Why aren’t your kids supporting you? It’s the law you know.”

“I’m too proud to ask my kids for a handout.”

“Well the U.E.C. Isn’t. We’ll be in touch with your kids. The fine is much higher than any support they would have had to pay.”

The officer turned his attention to the overflowing grocery cart next to the old man. “Is this all yours?”

“Yep, It’s everything I own.”

“The carts not yours. It’s illegal to have one of these you know.”

“I got no other way to carry my stuff.”

The officer got on his radio. “U.E.C. Officer Dicks here. I need a Fema van at my location.

“On the way,” squawked the radio.

“It’s cold out, you have an illegal cart. And you’re homeless. We have a warming facility just outside of town. Your going to be our guest for a few days.”

“I know about those facilities. Not interested,” replied the old man.

“You have no choice,” insisted the officer.

The Fema van pulled up and opened the back door. At the insistence of the U.E.C. officer the old man reluctantly got up and climbed in.

“My stuff. I have a picture of my kids in there. I want it.”

“You’ll get your stuff,” replied the officer.

“As the old man climbed into the van he turned to the officer and asked; What the hell does U.E.C. Stand for anyways?”

Dicks closed the door without replying.

As the van pulled away Dicks mockingly answered the question. “U.E.C. Useless Eater Control.” He got on the radio. “Officer Dicks here. Need a garbage pick-up at my location.” He grinned as he thought to himself, another Useless Eater off the streets.​

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