The Burn Book
Short stories from anonymous authors. To submit your story for publication on our website and/or annual anthology, please contact us.
Marriage for Profit
“We did it, we won!” Samantha whisper-exclaimed in the hallway of the courthouse. Her now-ex-husband – me – had left the courtroom before her, but made a stop in the restroom on the way out, so she didn’t notice when I came into the corridor behind her. I kept my distance, not wanting to see her smug, acne-covered, horseface glaring at me, as she’d done at all of the court dates leading up to today.
The drive took several hours and I left early to be sure to get there by eight in the morning. Typically, I was the first through the door in the morning. I’d find a seat by the window in the third-floor lobby and spend thirty or forty minutes writing in a notebook. Brainstorm ideas. I typically go through a couple of composition-style books per month. Sometimes good stuff, sometimes garbage. It didn’t matter, it was how I wanted to spend my time – writing. A change of venue would be preferred, but if I had to sit there, I may as well be doing something productive.
Writing was something that always created conflict between us. Samantha wanted to be an author. She’d spend hours talking about writing a book or starting a business or going back to school, but never did any of it. I wrote my first book in about a month – mostly on breaks at work. It wasn’t a masterpiece. In fact, it was a poorly-constructed vocational guide. But I did it. And Samantha resented me for that.
She resented me for a lot of things.
When we first met, it was impressive that she had a lifetime of experience riding and training horses. Yeah, she was only in her mid-twenties, but she showed me photos of her on a horse as a toddler. She had a dozen horses right outside of her bedroom. I’d never spent any time around horses, despite feeling an inexplicable natural connection to them. As it turns out, time is not the only factor when it comes to experience.
Instead of the ‘do-it-my-way’ method that most people use when working with animals, I enjoy just being around them, part of the herd. When her horses got excited and ran over when they saw me, she resented me. When an entire herd of cattle followed me across her mom’s ranch and into a corral because I “asked nicely”, she resented me. When I jokingly called myself a “horse whisperer”, she resented me the most.
I didn’t like the way she treated animals, but it was somewhat better than the way her family and friends acted: punching, kicking, and even hitting animals with a truck to make them move. We’d have a lot of conflict over that during our relationship, too. I’d resent her, and her family, for exploiting animals for profit and not providing them with a decent life before turning them into burgers. It was one of the red flags I should have seen early on. There were a lot of them – and I certainly noticed – but for some dumbass reason, decided to ignore them. Or embrace them.
When I met Samantha, I was in a dark place. After a year of self-destructive behavior, I was ready for something ‘stable’. Whatever that means. Compos mentis, she was not. After a year of dating abusive, alcoholic crazies I’d met online, Samantha seemed even-keeled enough. Turns out she was the queen cuckoo-pants. Or ‘princess’ if she had it her way.
It wasn’t a few weeks into our relationship when she decided to move in. I had a whole four-bedroom house to myself, so she presumed I needed someone else there. Not that she moved into an empty bedroom. The whole moving-in thing wasn’t a big deal. I’ve had people move in sooner than that before. The problem was that she’d never give me any space to work on my own projects or hang out with friends. She’d have meltdowns over not getting invited to band practice or role-playing night, where she’d have nothing to do but sit and be ignored, anyway. Sometimes she’d even get jealous when I cuddled with the dogs. My all-time favorite was when she went back five-and-ten years on my Facebook posts and got jealous of likes and comments from other girls. I ended up deleting some of my best writing over that. Saving it would have been a better plan, but it was five in the morning and I was tired from being up all night over this particular ‘issue’. Samantha had gone through my PC and found photos of my ex-girlfriend (actually, they were of the old Studebaker, she happened to be in them), having a similar reaction to my ‘saving’ photos of her.
Samantha’s helicopter-girlfriending resulted in her picking on everything I did or said and telling me that I need to behave in a different way. It was comfortable, I guess – my mom was the same way. Still is, but I don’t talk to her anymore. Samantha expected me to act as an indentured servant to her, her mom, her aunt and her grandmother. Any time I balked at her orders, she’d threaten to, “find someone who will.” Hindsight being what it is, I should have called her out on it. I did a couple of times, later in our relationship, but it didn’t stop her threats, insults and, eventually, abuse. I was an “asshole”, “loser”, or “piece of shit” any time I didn’t anticipate her desires or agree with her opinions. Again, comfortable.
Oblivious to the irony, anytime one of her redneck family members would act like a douchecanoe, she’d tell me, “that’s just how they are.” Addressing one of her many flaws was a futile endeavor. She’d say that I needed to accept her how she is. Regardless of how egregious the act, there was no guilt. Excuses often consisted of blaming others – especially me. After we separated, I’d learn about narcissism and things would make a lot more sense. Learning about my own autism in my mid-thirties had the same effect. It’s not that a diagnosis makes someone one way or the other, but studying patterns in behavior helped me learn to cut out the toxic people in my life.
Perplexingly, between calling me an asshole and threatening to break up for some imaginary dream-guy, Samantha put heavy pressure on me to get married. Even in those early weeks, she’d pressure me for a ring, despite still being married. Her first marriage only lasted one day, technically speaking. According to her, they never lived together or stayed under the same roof after the wedding night. She’d only been married two months when she moved into my house.
She told me that she never loved Ethan, her (supposedly) first husband. She’d only ever lived with her mom, aunt and grandmother. With the exception of Samantha, they were obese and slobbish. Not only did they have a big house that was covered in urine and feces of various animals and falling apart with half-finished remodeling projects, but a two-hundred acre beef cattle ranch. Samantha confessed that she only married Ethan because they wanted someone to work for free on their ranch. Apparently he got as far as repanelling the barn in preparation for their wedding before he caught on.
Of course, he was certainly made the same promise she would make to me as she begged for an engagement. With her family being old and in poor health, she was due to inherit the ranch and house. For anyone who dreams of living closer to nature, this is a compelling offer. She’d leave out the part where, due to a series of legal and financial blunders by Susan, Samantha’s mother, the ranch was actually owned by four passive-aggressive, definitely-not-feuding, siblings.
Neither her ex nor future husband were rich. They were, however, hard workers. Sometimes golddigging takes on other forms. Mud-digging, as it were. Between her personal volatility and that of her family, Samantha knew that nobody could tolerate her for more than a couple of years at most. Even her father and his family wanted nothing to do with her. He moved halfway across the country just for some space. Outsiders might have been appalled when Samantha had an hours-long emotional outburst about the way she expected to be coddled by her father. Her step-mom and half-siblings didn’t bat an eye. This was normal for her. She was thirty.
After several months of pestering for a proposal, she finally got one. For Samantha, that wasn’t good enough. It was less than twenty-four hours before she began a mantra on getting pregnant, “before it’s too late.” She’d never held down a regular job, lived on her own, or even learned basic adulting skills, like how to clean up after herself. Her now-fiance didn’t think she should have kids until establishing herself as a relatively-independent individual. I suggested we should buy a house before having any kids. After all, at this point we were living in an RV on the ranch so I could be working on the property whenever I wasn’t at work proper. Samantha argued that the hundred-fifty square-foot trailer was plenty of room for a family. We already had six dogs.
Crisis temporarily averted. Or so I thought. I wasn’t big on weddings, but figured if we were going to do it, it should be fun. I wanted to have a Halloween carnival the following April. She wanted to spend the least amount of money to maximize gifts received. In the end, when we couldn’t agree, we ended up getting married on a random Monday in August, only months after getting engaged.
Samantha suggested on Saturday that we go to the courthouse on that upcoming Monday. Convinced that I wasn’t going to budge on the house-kids thing, and knowing that she could never get a house on her own, marriage would be the quickest way to get one. I was tired of working to exhaustion eight days a week between my regular job and the endless list of tasks I was assigned to do at the ranch because, “family”.
I was fine with the courthouse marriage until Samantha invited her mom and grandma. This sort of thing didn’t require an audience, as far as I was concerned. My mother had a meltdown of her own when she found out my brother had a courthouse wedding without her – two-thousand miles away, where he lived. If Samantha’s mom went to the courthouse, I’d never hear the end of it.
This is how a simple courthouse marriage turned into the last-minute, backyard debacle that I’d specifically tried to avoid in the first place. My mom insisted that I invite my brothers and sisters and grandparents. My brother, the pastor, wanted to perform the ceremony. No big deal – just two requests, no religious stuff and keep it short. I specifically asked for the ‘Spaceballs’ vows.
That Monday, when we got to my brother’s house, we were forced to stand up in front of a couple dozen of our closest-related strangers and recite fifteen-minutes each of some Corinthians. At least I was able to take everyone to a local restaurant for the so-called reception. If it had been left to my mother, they’d have rolled sandwiches, lil smokies, and an array of 1970’s apps.
Even before getting home from our half-assed wedding, Samantha was shopping for houses on her phone. I’d saved quite a bit of money over the previous year. It’s not too difficult when only working and then going home to perform servant’s duties on a ranch. The original deal was we were going to each put $1,000 into a savings account every month for a down-payment. Samantha had just received some cash from a family member and was feeling ambitious. After the first month, she didn’t make any deposits. A year later, they were married and the savings was ‘ours’ anyway, as far as she was concerned.
The other thing that started immediately after the wedding was the physical-abuse-in-earnest. She’d always hit me when she got upset. I didn’t care too much – I grew up being hit and had been in more than a couple abusive relationships since. Now that she had me relatively trapped, Samantha felt safe to progress to punching for trivial disagreements and throwing objects, like mugs of hot coffee, at me. Still, this was more tolerable than the gaslighting.
A few months before we got married, I had a seizure while working on the ranch on a particularly hot day and shortly thereafter, began having issues with my short-term memory. This was a golden opportunity for Samantha to practice her amateur manipulation techniques. The thing is, I’d spent an autistic lifetime developing routines and patterns of speech, even before I knew what neurodivergence was. So when she tried to tell me I’d said something that I hadn’t said, I knew she was gaslighting me. Pointing out my rehearsed patterns of speech and behavior didn’t deter her. She’d gaslight the gaslighting, saying she never said what I said she said about what I said.
Surely, she’d learned this from her mother. When Samantha and I first started dating, Susan gave me a beat-up, water-damaged BMW that had been sitting out in the field for several years. I spent a few months fixing it up but, not wanting to put any more money into it, sold it, just to recoup the cost of the new battery, oil and filter, and sunroof motor. Samantha took the money and told me it was wrong to sell something someone gave you, so that money should be her mom’s. Of course, she never gave the money to Susan.
When we moved out to the ranch, I again took on a fixer-upper project. Beyond the ranch itself, that is. Susan had an old Yamaha dirtbike sitting in the garage, not having been run for several years. I fixed it up and used it to monitor the horses and cattle at the ranch. Normally, I preferred to walk, but with gentle acclimation, the animals learned the sound of my approach and began following the motorbike around the ranch. It wasn’t long before Susan reclaimed the bike and sold it, now that it was in top-working condition. Minus the spoke Samantha had broken in a fit of rage.
Those were just things, and I never had much care for things. The fun for me was in learning how to work on different machines. The one that really got to me was Roy.
Roy was a big-ass paint horse that was largely ignored on the ranch, as he’d never been trained and, thereby, was useless to them. Despite being the largest in the herd, Roy was shy and independent. We had an instant connection. Soon, Susan and Samantha dubbed Roy “my” horse and promised to provide tack and saddle from their mouse-infested tack shed. It didn’t matter, I enjoyed hanging out with the horses and didn’t need to ride or train them.
Roy was eager to please and basically trained himself – as most animals will, when spoken to the right way. No saddle was ever provided, but Roy was happy to let his friend sit atop as we wandered the ranch. Unfortunately for us, Roy was now considered profitable and could be ‘flipped’ for more than the $500 that Susan had paid for him, as she’d done with so many other creatures before. When I dared to express the slightest regret at this decision, Samantha simply responded by brushing it off saying that I “never rode him,” as if that was the only value he had. The irony again being lost amongst the twelve other horses that went largely ignored by all but myself throughout the year. And then there were her breeder-purchased herding dogs that had never been trained and ran amok, nipping the heels of horses and cattle indiscriminately. This is simply normal dog behavior, but stands to show the hypocrisy of the people who think that animals should be ‘worked’ to have value, yet neglect the training and care of those animals. The amount of animals that had died due to neglect or ‘accident’ while under Samantha and Susan’s care made me sick.
The particular combinations of insults, gaslighting and physical abuse unlocked something in me that may have remained buried indefinitely. Having spent my twenties and into my thirties drunk and on drugs, I’d effectively blocked out years of childhood trauma. They say you marry your mother and, at forty, thought I was past that, but not so much. Samantha’s behavior was so like my mother that it brought all of those memories flooding back. Fortunately, I’d grown some over the years and no longer looked to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. This time, I was going to process everything, using it as creative fodder for my writing and music. I even started seeing a psychologist, despite my negative past experiences with inept therapists.
I told Samantha that I needed to go no-contact with my family for a bit, while I processed and organized everything. She wouldn’t agree to that, saying that she always wanted a big family and, thereby, co-opting mine. Despite my pleas to the contrary, she guilted, shouted or hit me into going to holiday and birthday gatherings, which reinvigorated memories of dysfunctional holidays from my childhood. Before the year was out, she’d booked a cruise with my family. A week of being guilted, shamed and made fun of from every direction. My brothers had both married reproductions of our mother as well, so I’d be surrounded by materialistic, manipulative women. This is the furthest thing from a ‘vacation’ I could imagine doing with my vacation time.
Before we’d left port, Samantha was having another meltdown. She was mad that I was texting with my partner from work, Jasmine, when I was supposed to be spending time with “family”. More jealousy issues. Because my partner was a woman, I shouldn’t be friends with or text her. It’s not like I was allowed to have real-life friends. Samantha was especially jealous over our shared interest in serial-killer culture, but when I tried to share this with her, she only responded with disgust. Less at the killers and more at me for what I considered innocuous, morbid curiosity into human behavior.
She began spreading rumors of me cheating with Jasmine to our families, causing my non-pastor brother to attempt to intervene and play peacemaker. My brother’s wife, however, chose to join Team Samantha and helped her send hateful Facebook messages to my one remaining friend. I couldn’t handle the triangulation and disappeared to the piano lounge to get drunk.
I’ve never been a violent or mean drunk. Quite the opposite. Alcohol was often the only way to get me to turn into a social butterfly. Sometime after I went to sleep, though, Samantha decided to get her ultimate revenge. While I dozed uneasily in a single bed on the other side of the room, she did something to break one of her teeth. Pulled it or hit herself, I suppose. I’d never find out. Part of another devious plan to break my brain and paint me as the bad guy. She’d surely chosen to break her tooth because she could point a finger at me doing it as revenge for her chipping my tooth when she threw a metal bit-and-bridle at me. That tooth was already chipped on one side, so it wasn’t a big deal. Now it matched.
Although we bought a house, I was still holding out on having kids. She pressured me daily, but I told her I wanted to save up some money first. At least enough for the first year’s expenses. Since she didn’t work, I suspect she didn’t want to wait any longer and this was her chance to ‘cash out’. By depicting me as abusive, instead of the victim, she could leave without guilt and get her ‘half’ of the assets.
It’s funny how little I cared at this point. I’d lived for at least twenty years with crippling depression and anxiety. Point of advice: don’t share all of your mental health and past with someone in an attempt at transparency. They will use it against you. Time and again. She told me that I had to ‘get over it’ and forgive my family within the next three weeks or she’d leave me. I told her that it takes however long it takes. Turns out, that’s about a year for me, once I’m left alone to actually do it.
Samantha would regularly push me when depressed – yelling at me for being ‘lazy’ on days I needed to rest. It’s funny that she would call me lazy when I spent sixteen or more hours working every day and then wanted rest days, while she spent each day sleeping, browsing social media, and sipping coffee. She also called me entitled for expecting to be treated with a modicum of respect while working for her family for free. Meanwhile, she expected me, her mom, her dad, and anyone else she came in contact with, to shower her with praise and material goods.
For once, she actually held good to her promise. After a month of not reconciling with my family, she moved out. Back in with her mom, of course. Not that much changed. For the next six months, she’d keep calling and texting me daily and would show up at my house unannounced, despite living over an hour away.
My brain problems were getting worse. According to one of the many doctors I saw, I was having mini-seizures where my memory, vision and balance would stop functioning properly. Sometimes these episodes would last for days. Samantha made it clear when she said, “I’m not going to be your caretaker,” that her marriage vows were one-sided. Much like all of our relationship had been. She told me that I needed to hire someone or get a roommate to get me groceries. I was still capable of taking care of myself, with the exception of driving the hour each-way up and down the mountain to get weekly supplies.
The following month, when I did get someone to do this, she freaked out. Probably because it was another woman. Living in her house. Drinking from her coffeemaker, as she once said. I rented out a room for cheap and got necessities delivered, proving I didn’t need her to be my ‘caretaker’, I guess. Now officially the queen cuckoopants, Samantha began hanging around the neighbor’s house so she could spy on the goings-on. Getting regular text updates from them as well, no doubt.
I was happy to sign the divorce papers. They dissolved our marriage ‘as-is’. I kept the house and the furniture and crap I’d bought. She had nowhere to put all that stuff and couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage, anyway. Wiping my hands of the last few years felt like the best resolution I could ask for, considering the abuse and gaslighting. I got to start fresh. Move on. Forget about it, if I smoked enough weed, maybe. Actually, it was additional material to process for my writing. Samantha once told me that I “got so much” from her. I was never sure what she meant. She used me as an indentured servant, ignored my ideas, my needs. I mean, she bought a cheap refrigerator and left it behind when she moved out. I figured all of the tools, shoes, arcade games and other stuff she kept of mine, despite countless requests to get them back, more-than made up for it. I should have billed her for the hundreds of hours I spent trying to help her with one failed ‘business’ idea after another. Podcasts, websites, event planning. I shudder to imagine what I could have done with that time. But I’m not one to focus on sunk costs.
Life went on.
Over a year passed. I processed a bunch of shit. Wrote some books. Made some music. Met someone new. It was a good year.
That is, until one Friday afternoon when I got home from spending a couple of days at my girlfriend’s house to find papers taped to my gate telling me I had three days to move out of the house and “surrender” it – and my dog – to Samantha. Manipulative bitch. She knows I care more about the dogs than anything. And she wanted the house. She would argue that she found the dog, making it hers. The former is true, but she was going to give the dog to a friend of hers. I insisted on keeping the poor, emaciated girl and teaching her to trust again. She became a loyal and trusted partner over the succeeding years. Samantha also knew how much I hated the courts and would do whatever I could to avoid participating in that corrupt, sham process.
Not this time.
An hour later, I got up the mental energy to call the court and file for an emergency injunction. Not only was it impractical to pack up and move an entire house in a few hours, but fucked up. I’d spend the next seventy-two hours preparing my case against her.
The following week, upon arriving at the courthouse, I learned that she had been dragging the divorce out for the entire eighteen months that I thought we’d been divorced. Or, in-process, knowing that California drags ass when it comes to doing, well, anything. Samantha had filed amendment after amendment, claiming she’d had me served with papers. Aside from the papers I’d signed, this was the first I’d heard of it. No calls, no emails. Having lived at my house, she surely knew that there was no way to physically hand me papers, being fenced and gated, several acres from the road. She could have had one of her neighbor-comrades give them to me, but then I would actually know what she was up to. By the time I got to the court, the judge was yelling at me for wasting his time.
This judge, “honorable” and benevolent, knew everything about marriage, the law, social media, the internet, and any other topic that was brought up. He was as irrelevant and misinformed as any other seventy-year-old politician. The one thing he didn’t seem to know about was the particular scam that Samantha and, presumably, her mother were running.
I have a hard time believing that. Before he lost the election to become a Madera County judge, he was a slimy divorce attorney. There’s no doubt that he ran this exact scam many times himself. In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind that he was in on it with Samantha. He listened to Samantha’s lies about me with concern for her and disgust for me, but wouldn’t even allow me to speak or present any evidence to the contrary. This is typical, and I expected it. In case you’re wondering how someone can lose an election so miserably and still end up a judge, he was appointed after another judge ‘retired’. I should mention that he was a cop before he was a scumbag divorce attorney, if that gives an idea.
I did file a complaint against him with the judicial board. I’ve never been a Karen, but have recently taken to writing to politicians and oversight bodies about particularly disgusting behavior by public figures. Everyone should do the same. Otherwise, we just keep the status quo. We keep the status quo anyway, but maybe if enough of us do it, there can be some change. Oh, idealism, how I missed you.
Despite all of the evidence being in my favor, I was never able to present it and ended up conceding to most of her demands, including selling the house and giving her a majority of the profit. Mostly to shut up Judge Fascism and get it over with. I still didn’t care. I got the dog and never have to go back to Madera County or see Samantha or her grotesque, dysfunctional family again. Or mine, for that matter.
That’s why, when I heard her tell her mom that they’d “won” as she was getting into the elevator, I just laughed.
Only Judge Can God Me
Part One of Five: A Scar is Born
Nobody knows which of the famous Judges his parents named him after, Reinhold, Dredd, or Wapner, perhaps; nor do they know why this name was chosen. At the time, it was an odd and uncommon name. He was born fat and ugly, at over six kilos, but hardly as long as a bowling pin. His appearance was like that of the progeny from an ungodly copulation between a naked mole rat and elephant seal. So, imagine that but in baby form. Try not to imagine, though, the red shock of hair emerging like the eruption of a pudgy volcano from his mother’s torn vagina.
It wasn’t long before that ghastly infant grew into a repugnant toddler. You know how people say all babies are cute, even if they aren’t? Nobody ever bothered to claim this falsity about Judge. Wrinkled and flabby, like an obese old man. He’d never grow out of this particular look.
By the age of two, the closest young Judge Austin had come to being potty-trained was whipping off his diaper and wiping his excrement across the wallpaper and onto the furniture, smearing his malodorous feces between the fibers of the tattered upholstery, already cleaned so many times that it was nearly threadbare, with springs and foam poking through. Judge would smear his wretched shit into those as well. Heaven forbid his parents took him into public, as he’d surely find some unsuspecting stranger to be the recipient of his filth!
Finally, by the time he was six years old, Judge had learned how to use a toilet with relative consistency and his parents could send him to kindergarten. This was a favorable circumstance, because they’d just had twins, a boy and a girl, and needed a break from Judge’s destructive behavior to take care of the new babies.
At school, none of the other kids wanted to be friends with little Judge Austin. For the first week or so, the other children would come up to him and introduce themselves and he would respond by pushing them to the ground and kicking dirt in their face. At least a year older than his classmates, and twice their size, he could easily overpower and abuse them.
He didn’t fare any better with the teachers. When the rest of the class was gathered around on the big, cushy mat to learn about the alphabet or other subjects one would learn at that age, Judge would sit in the corner, attempting to stack wooden alphabet blocks.
“I already know all of this!” he would shout across the room anytime Mrs. Charlotte would offer to include him in the lesson.
He never was able to stack those blocks more than three high.
Since he was already a fair bit older than the rest of his class, and since kindergarten isn’t a place where students are reviewed for their academic performance, young Judge Austin was allowed to progress into the first grade. Indeed, despite his unruly and antisocial behavior, he was allowed to progress all the way to the third grade before his basic comprehension skills were even questioned – on paper, at least. It was later learned that those esteemed and patient pedagogues couldn’t tolerate another year with a student like him and didn’t want to risk their budget, so they passed him anyway.
By the time he’d reached the third grade, Judge had assembled a ‘gang’ of other misbehaved, angry children to assist him in torturing his classmates, as well as those poor kids in the lower grades. He was old enough now to see other children as “different”. He especially liked torturing disabled and autistic kids. They didn’t call it autism back then and instead of embracing others the way they were, most people shunned these children, treating them like they were incapable of living their own life, thinking for themselves or completing even simple tasks. Infrastructure, employment, just about any part of life was designed to accommodate only those in the majority.
For young readers, this may all sound like a strange idea, given the world you were born into. For those who lived in the time before The Great Rejuvenation, the way we live now would be just as foreign and unimaginable.
Back then, the whole of society was built around what they called “Capitalism”. Basically, this meant that you could do any malicious or despicable thing to another person and as long as it was in the pursuit of money, it was okay. Encouraged, even. It didn’t matter how much money you had, you could keep exploiting people for more. Actually, the more money you had, the easier you could get away with terrible things because everyone else wanted money as well. All a person had to do was pay off a judge or a cop and they would get off the hook. Whoever made the biggest bribe would be the winner.
I know we are telling the story of Judge Brian Austin right now, but I have to continue my digression for a moment, if you will allow me, to talk about how mankind treated the planet back then. I don’t want to give you nightmares, but this “capitalism” would eradicate entire forests to build tire factories. Or dump hundreds-of-millions of tons of plastic and oil into the oceans. Worst of all, they would breed billions of animals and force them to live in cages with not enough room to even turn around while they force-fed them a mixture of processed grain and parts of other sick animals. Their only relief was that their torturous life would only last long enough for them to reach adult-size before they’d be slaughtered via assembly line. It was the same way the fascists tried to wipe out the Nutopians before The Great Rejuvenation. We’ll discuss those atrocities before the end of this tale.
Anyway, Judge Brian Austin was learning that it was easiest to pick on the kids he knew wouldn’t fight back. The autistic children often didn’t even understand why a person would do such malicious things, nor understand why or how to defend themselves. He found a combination of physical abuse and gaslighting was the most entertaining way to torture these individuals. Judge also enjoyed dumping children out of their wheelchairs, down the stairs, laughing maniacally as he watched their crumpled forms tumble over the steps. Bruised, battered and bloody, Judge would leave the poor child on the lower landing while he made his escape. Another easy target were the few blind kids at his school, who he would push into walls or trip in the hallways. Rarely did he get caught or did the victim report his abuse. Though, when they did, he would make up some story about how it was an accident or, worse, how the victim had stolen something from him and he was just trying to get it back. You see, the teachers back then would believe this sort of lie and accept violence as a reasonable response under capitalism. Before people were vetted for careers, many teachers, from elementary to university level, had no business teaching or being around young people. It was common practice until recently for teachers to throw things at children or call them the worst of names for most minor offenses, such as talking in class or forgetting to bring their homework from home. This behavior toward young people was considered inconsequential and generally overlooked when compared to the rampant sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers and those tasked with childcare.
At home, Judge had stopped acting like a terror and had, in fact, become a shining example of a well-behaved little boy. After school, he would help his mother with chores and look after his young brother and sister. Alas, this was all part of Judge Austin’s next devious scheme.
At some point, he had discovered that he could use his parents to protect him from any consequences of his actions. By convincing them that he was an upstanding young man, they would defend him against accusations from his teachers, believing that their little prince would never do something like that. At one point, his teacher even suggested it might be best to hold Judge back a year or put him in the remedial school, as he was unable to do the most basic of math and writing tasks.
Mother Austin met that teacher at his house after school one day and, after a few hours behind closed doors, the teacher had decided to let Judge progress to the fourth grade.
Even better, Judge thought, was being left alone to ‘babysit’ when his mom went to the store or to run some errands. When she was gone, he’d strip his toddler brother and sister and rub his tiny penis all over their naked bodies. He was too young and dim-witted to understand the mechanics of sex, even though his cronies had attempted to explain it to him. The greatest pleasure for young Judge was fingering the anuses of his young siblings, licking his fingers to keep them clean and lubed. Before long, he was able to taste the flavors of baby food they’d been eating. Sweet potatoes and beets were his favorite.
Wanting to remember these assaults led to his next interest – photography. Turns out, the old men with their leather jackets and aviator sunglasses who hung around the picnic tables at the park would pay him ten dollars for a photo of a naked child. More if there were two kids in the picture. Back in those days, they didn’t have digital cameras – photos had to be printed on paper – and many people didn’t even own a camera.
Judge’s birthday was coming up and since he had been acting like such a well-behaved boy lately, his parents had promised him a special present this year. He asked for a camera.
When his birthday came around, he was pleased to receive a Canon SLR and ten rolls of twenty-four exposure film. This will make me almost two-thousand dollars! he thought. The only catch was, he couldn’t take the rolls, with their pictures of nude children in compromising positions, to the local film-processing shop. He’d have to figure out how to print the photos himself.
The science lab at his school had bottles of chemicals in a storage closet in the back. The following weekend, Judge and his stooges broke into the school and loaded as many bottles as they could carry into a rickety shopping cart. Especially any bottles that had labels from Kodak or Agfa. The alarm sounded as soon as Judge kicked the glass window next to the doors, slicing his leg.
When the two flunkeys went back into the school for more bottles, Judge ran off down the street with the shopping cart they’d stolen from the nearby supermarket. As the boys came out the door, arms laden with jugs of chemicals, they were dumbfounded to discover their so-called friend had abandoned them. In his place was a dullard of police officers, hiding behind their vehicles while pointing assault rifles at the eight-year-old boys.
I’m sorry, I should explain. Before The Great Rejuvenation, the police and military were used as enforcement for the capitalist agenda. You all know the twelve tenets of Nutopia. Back then, they called that sort of thing a “law” and there were thousands of them. Millions, probably. The fascist oligarchy used these laws to control the behavior of the people and to punish those who were different or didn’t fit in. It was less than two-hundred years before The Great Rejuvenation when most people finally decided that it was wrong to own another person and to force them to work until they died of exhaustion and malnutrition. This was allowed for the sake of profit. Under capitalism, this was called slavery and was integrated into society and the economy as a critical component. I know, I don’t understand how it took them so long to learn how depraved and ignoble this sort of thing is, either. The problem was, the capitalists didn’t actually believe slavery was wrong, but they pretended to while they looked for other ways to control and exploit people.
First, they decided to pay employees the most menial of wages, to where they could barely survive. Many of them did survive, though, and had to keep working, doing backbreaking work for over twelve hours per day while their children starved to death or died by any number of maladies. Medicine barely existed and when it did, the common laborer could not afford to have access to it.
It took a long time, but eventually the workers discovered they could band together and refuse to work unless they received better wages and conditions. The capitalists sent the police and military to murder the workers who refused to comply and return to work. The common tactic used by the government in the twentieth century was to discharge firearms haphazardly into a crowd. Since there were many other starving families out there, it was easy to find replacements to replace the workers for next-to-nothing.
There was an outcry amongst the people over workers being slaughtered by the dozens for refusing to work in the absence of a living wage. In order to appease the populace, the politicians made more laws, this time for workers to get a specified minimum amount of pay – which still wasn’t enough to survive on but was a decent compromise between the capitalists and the oligarchs, who were often the same people or from the same families. The worker received little from these negotiations, while the politicians and business owners lived luxuriously.
Unable to work their own people to death, the European and United States governments began sending their militaries to other parts of the world. Between raping and murdering indigenous people, the soldiers forced them build farms and factories. There, away from these new laws, the corporations could use slavery and exploitation to work generations of other people to death while simultaneously poisoning their water and air, draining their natural resources, and destroying the wildlands.
The military was like a police force these governments would use against other countries and the police was a military force they would use against their own people, understand? Either way, their purpose was clear: use weapons and violence against as many innocent people as possible in order to bleed labor, resources and quality-of-life until they were completely depleted. The funny thing is, these police and military soldiers, they didn’t get any of these profits or benefits. They were paid just as poorly as the worker. Most people back then, in their willful ignorance, had this belief that they could be the next capitalist oligarch. The government would manipulate them into contracts to kill their own people – or people they’d never even heard of before – by promising a fast-track to power and fortune. They were known for hiring the dumbest of the dumb, as creative thought was considered unpleasant while blind subordination was commendable. For the most part, though, the dimwits signed up because they were angry bullies who wanted to take it out on someone. The primary perk of the job was the ability to rape, steal and murder legally, which was what most of the soldiers and cops wanted to do in the first place.
How does this relate to slavery, you ask? Well, those same people who owned slaves in the past, or who would have owned slaves, had they the chance, these were the same people who owned factories and prisons and ‘behavioral health’ hospitals. They wouldn’t necessarily be able to work people to death anymore and, in fact, that would be counter-productive. More labor meant more money. Their goal now was to label as many people as criminals and ‘crazy’ people as possible so they could lock them away for the longest possible time. Then, they would charge the government for each person that they kept in their prisons while also forcing those prisoners to work, creating merchandise to be sold by these corporate institutions. This is how they got so many of those ridiculous laws made. For example, when those workers decided to band together for better conditions, they created vagrancy laws so they could send these police to kidnap and hold in their prisons as criminals anybody who was in public and not working or going to and from work. These laws were enforced with particular viciousness toward those with a darker skin-tone. If a person were to argue or resist being kidnapped in any way, they were most often beaten within an inch of their lives, shot in the back or choked to death. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The immoral and simple-minded do all the work. Does that make sense? I know it doesn’t make logical sense, but I hope you are beginning to understand how things were when I was young – and I promise, it’ll all come together later in the life of Judge Austin. Remind me to tell you about how the capitalists used their violence to control the way people think. Presently, we should return to the story of Judge Austin. Where were we? Oh yes.
When the police showed up to the Austin home to question Judge about the break-in at the school, he claimed to have been home all day, playing in the yard, as young boys are wont to do. The cut on his leg, he told them, was from climbing a tree. The baby-killers looked in Judge’s room, but found nothing, as he’d already hidden the bottles behind the abandoned gas station down the road.
Those were places where people would buy processed oil to burn in their vehicles…ah, fuck! Let’s just keep going with the story for now.
As if he weren’t blockish enough already, randomly mixing chemicals together in the shed behind his house without any ventilation or protective equipment certainly didn’t help. Judge rather enjoyed inhaling the fumes from the photo chemicals. Several minutes in the shed would leave him dizzy with blurry vision. He’d hold out as long as he could before running outside for air, passing out about half of the time.
After several attempts at putting film in the solutions in different orders, he got an image to appear! It wasn’t anything high-quality, but it didn’t have to be. All that was needed was a product for the old pedos at the park.
Having gotten his old sidekicks arrested and expelled, Judge spent the next year as a loner. The other kids would avoid him, afraid of his violent outbursts. A wrong look or using words over three syllables would be grounds for Judge to sneak up behind them outside the school for a beating. Occasionally, Judge would follow the other children home from school to vandalize their house and steal their pets. By the time he made it to the sixth grade, he’d convinced a couple new dullards to hang around with him and bully the other children.
Sure, beating up disabled kids or exchange students was fun, but it wasn’t satisfying Judge’s urges. It was in this year that he began two new endeavors: raping young girls and torturing animals.
Apologies, this section of the story always makes me furious.
Judge Austin and his shitbag friends would follow an unsuspecting young lady into the restroom at school. One boy would block the door while the other held a knife to the girl’s throat. Meanwhile, Judge would attempt to rape and sodomize her. His perpetual impotence would lead to Judge penetrating the girl with various on-hand objects. Even if he couldn’t find anything suitable to shove into her virginal pussy and asshole, he’d never allow his friends to fuck her. Even at this age, Judge Austin was obsessed with power and sadism. At the very least, he’d give the helpless girl a beating, being sure to pay special attention to her hairless pubic region, often battering it until bruised purple. He’d take photos of her, naked and crying, to share with the old men.
“Tell anyone and we’ll kill you,” Judge would tell his victims with a sadistic grin before spitting in the poor young lady’s face. Leaving her sobbing on the tile floor, Judge and his friends would exit, laughing and congratulating each other on another successful undertaking.
“Boys will be boys,” the teachers said when one girl went to them for help. Judge and his friends raped her again in retaliation. This time, instead of assailing her in the school restroom, the malicious group of boys followed her home and attacked her in her bedroom after school, when her parents weren’t home. Selecting various items from around the girl’s room – a doll, a lava lamp, a microphone – Judge stuffed all of her orifices, from her vagina and anus to her nose and ears. He then proceeded to kick the girl, naked on her pink shag-carpet rug, until each item fell out in turn. Although she survived, the girl never walked or spoke again. She’d wanted to be a singer. Now she had no use for that defiled microphone.
Afraid of getting caught after such a serious assault and worried about the consequences when he finally does kill a person, Judge took to torturing and mutilating animals instead. First, it started with household pets. He gouged the eyes out of the family cat and buried it alive in the forest behind his house. He fucked his sister’s hamster, tearing apart it’s insides and causing its death. His sister cried for days over that hamster.
When he could find roadkill or a dead dog, he’d sexually assault the carcass before cutting it open and licking his baby gravy from the rotting guts of the poor creature. Sometimes, as a special treat, he’d dine on their intestines or brain. If his parents weren’t home, he’d sneak small animals into the house and put them in the microwave to watch with reprehensible glee as they burst open like a hot dog, leaving behind a steaming pile of dehydrated entrails and matted fur.
This isn’t a joke or some far-fetched yarn. There truly are people so depraved and sadistic in this world. We eliminated a great many during The Rejuvenation, but there will always, always be more. It’s a disease that has always plagued our species. What they want most is to pervert our society for their own narcissistic purposes. It can’t be said enough how important it is to the long-term peace and prosperity of Nutopia that we watch vigilantly for these early signs before these reprobates can rise to positions of power again.
How Judge Austin made it to ninth grade, we may never know. Presumably, his mother or father exchanged sexual favors with the teachers for passing grades. Sadly, this was in the days of book burnings. Schools would routinely prohibit books that portrayed people of color, homosexual, trans or otherwise ‘different’ in a positive light or as anything more than an auxiliary character or the antagonist. Self-righteous Christians would proclaim the sinfulness of these people. Not just in these stories, but for existing at all. Writers, actors, and producers were all targets of the fascists for portraying or enabling these characters. Unsurprisingly, the Religious Reich that was at the forefront of banning literature did nothing to stop children like Judge from getting their hands on racist, bigoted, hate-filled slop.
The first week of high school, Judge Austin discovered Mein Kampf, a quasi-biblical sort-of manifesto by Adolf Hitler. His fascist group of Nazis invaded many countries in Europe and constructed a system for the genocide of millions of people because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation. This book became Judge’s companion and guide. Like many of the Neo-Nazis of his time, Judge misconstrued everything he read – not just in this Hitler book, but in every book, film, or social event. Their simple minds could only view the world through a narrow lens where they were unable to take responsibility for their ineptitude and instead chose to make everyone else their scapegoat. Oddly enough, this convinced them of their superiority.
It’s no surprise that a wave of backpack thefts was alleged to have been carried out by Judge. He’d determined himself to purchase a new wardrobe. He’d preferred to have stolen it. Theft from stores was more exciting than taking backpacks and pocket change from the kids at school. Since the clothes he wanted were kept behind the counter at the local surplus store, he had to find another way to get them. Stealing from other children and then selling their property back to them – or to other little scumbags – was the best he could come up with. That was the other thing about stealing from stores – Judge could pick what he wanted instead of having to fence a bunch of stuff he couldn’t use.
In a few weeks, he was finally able to get his hands on the matching black pants and jacket, tan shirt and little silver skull-and-crossbones pin. He wore it every day, never taking it off. Even sleeping in it. The kids at school already called him “Grody,” so it wasn’t a big change as far as they were concerned. The putrid smell of onions and rotting meat emanated from his flabby body. Fetid moisture dripped from his distended chins as he held a classmate down and spit into their mouth.
“Swallow it, Tar Baby,” he’d shout at one child dangling a mucousy loogie over the poor kid’s mouth.
“You like that, you fucking Christ-Killer?” he’d laugh while sitting atop a curly-haired boy. Judge Austin had an affinity for wiping shit from his soiled pants under the nose of his victims. A little “toothbrush” mustache in the fashion of his hero.
At this point, his erratic dress and behavior had even caused him to be exiled from the park where the old pedophiles congregated. They refused to buy any more photographs, saying he was drawing too much attention to them. He was getting used to being excluded from even crass coteries like this. Judge managed to sell the whole shoebox of prints and negatives to a guy from Iowa named John Gacy.
One day, Judge followed Christie, a little blonde girl two years younger than him, into the bathroom. As she finished her business and stood up, Judge smashed the door open, hitting her in the forehead and knocking her unconscious. He then dragged her, bleeding and barely breathing, across the unwashed tile floor, propping her limp body across the janitor’s mop bucket. He attempted to force his tiny cock into her hairless asshole, but was unable to get it up, so he instead used the handle of the mop to violate her rectum. Christie missed the rest of the school year while her colon healed from multiple surgeries.
Boys will be boys.
Even though the adult staff chose to look the other way, as they had done countless times in the past, the young men at Max Hayes High School weren’t such cowards. At lunch, a few days after the assault, a group of boys snuck up behind Judge as he was greedily slurping down a Diet Coke. The largest of the group, a senior called Jan, hit him in the back of the head with a can of Bush’s Baked Beans. Immediately, he was overcome by a dozen arms, holding him down while another dozen legs kicked and stomped their retribution. Judge’s shirt was soaked through brown and red from blood and cola. Unfortunately, the yard supervisors chose this moment to finally do their jobs and broke up the crowd before Judge got what he truly deserved.
Nevertheless, Judge had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital with a ruptured spleen and broken ribs. The group of boys who stood up for themselves – and on behalf of their classmates – were expelled from the school. A highly unusual practice at the time. Typically, the educational institution of those days would punish the victim of schoolyard bullying, not the assailant. They had plenty of cameras and other technology to monitor the school with but chose to ignore any evidence and make their decisions based on the emotion or politics of the lead adult. News outlets frequently showed footage of teachers bashing children’s heads against concrete walls or adult school employees punching little kids with all of their might, but it didn’t change anything. A moment of media outrage was quickly replaced with fascination over the latest celebrity sex tape or other news about how billionaires were spending their wealth. There were a lot of evil people back then, but there were even more who were just lazy and mindless.
Fortunately for the rest of the students, Judge was expelled as well. Stories of his physical and sexual assaults had emerged in the community. A trip to the grocery store brought about stares and whispers. Gossip flooded their neighborhood and city. Judge’s parents opted to move across the country in an attempt to give their son a fresh start.
Packing their possessions and family into a rented truck, the Austin family drove from the state of Ohio to California, on the other side of the continent. They bought a house near the city known as San Diego.
Hoping to give Judge the best chance at turning his life around for the better, his parents signed him up at the best private school in the city. They’d destroyed his Schutzstaffel costume and purchased a new wardrobe of jeans and colorful button-shirts, as was the style in those days. Judge vowed to get back at them for this.
When the first day of tenth grade came around, Judge decided that instead of going to class, he was going to wander the town and see what trouble he could find. Within walking distance were shops, neighborhoods and even a wooded area.
At first, he’d spend his days stealing antifreeze from auto-repair stores, pouring the toxic liquid into discarded liquor bottles. Judge would then make his way to the dry creek-bed under the bridge in the middle of town. He’d force the homeless and drug-addicted veterans who lived in this camp to drink the virulent fluid. At knifepoint, if necessary.
After a murdering a few of those hapless young men, Judge became bored. His brother and sister had been sent to a boarding school, both for their protection and so Mr. and Mrs. Austin could focus their energy on their eldest child. Judge yearned to penetrate the assholes of virginal boys and girls.
Occasionally, a preschool-aged child would be left alone to play in their front yard. Looking around to be sure no adults were watching, Judge would make friendly conversation with the kid before inviting them to check out his bike, which was just out of sight. Leading them around the corner, Judge would wrap one ham-hock arm around their tiny body, using his sausage fingers to cover their mouth while carrying the child off to the nearest concealed or wooded area.
After attempting to rape the youngster, often unsuccessfully, Judge Austin would subject them to other tortures. If he had his backpack, he could pour bleach from the repurposed mustard bottle into their eyes. Or he could jam pencils in their ears, nostrils, and any other orifice, depending on how many pencils he had. When he found the child unexpectedly, he’d have to resort to impromptu torture like jamming twigs under their fingernails and toenails or stuffing his sock in their mouth as a tool for waterboarding – or dry-boarding if there was no water nearby.
Their new neighborhood was only a couple of blocks from a small, forested area. As much as a forest is permitted to exist in a major metropolitan area. A handful of tiny ponds dotted the nature preserve. This is where Judge would dispose of his newest batch of victims. Having satisfied his lust for the day or needing to get home before his parents got off work, Judge would hold the young child’s face in the muddy, algae-rich water at the shore of one of these ponds until they stopped kicking. He’d then throw their lifeless bodies into the pond to be picked apart by birds and fish or drag them into a thick area of brush for the worms and coyotes. This kept Judge entertained for several weeks but the wave of missing children quickly attracted the attention of authorities and neighbors, who began keeping a tight eye on the children. It wasn’t long before search efforts discovered the remains of a couple of the murdered kids, putting an effective end to Judge’s escapades – for now.
This, however, didn’t stop him from kidnapping pets that had escaped their yards – or who were left behind unlocked gates where they could be easily stolen. He entertained himself by burying the animal’s head in a mound of dirt and watching it thrash around and attempt to dig itself free. Inevitably, it would dig a crater into the pile of dirt before exhausting itself and going limp. Judge would laugh like a madman at this event, continuing to laugh as he dissected the former family pet.
A dog with a collar was his favorite find. If it had a leash, even better. Otherwise, he’d tie a rope around the collar and swing the pooch overhead like he was twirling a flail on the battlefield. Or a lasso on the frontier. He’d practice letting the pup go at various points in the rotation, seeing if he could smash it into a tree or large rock. This worked best with little dogs, of course. Shih tzus, chihuahuas, brisinosans. Like the children, it wasn’t long before folks started keeping a close eye on their pets. There were strays down by the bridge, but they put up too much of a fight.
One day, a month or two later, Judge was on the way back home to pick up the mail and erase any telephone messages before his parents got home. The school had been attempting to contact them about Judge’s truancy. He’d tried to forge notes from his parents, excusing his absences, but the administration couldn’t believe any high-school student could be so illiterate, let alone their parents. If he destroyed any evidence of cutting class, he could get away with his depravity for a while longer before being forced to get an education.
On this day, though, he was distracted from his mission by a girl, a few years younger than him, riding down the street on her bicycle. The pleated green skirt flapping against the back of her banana seat incited an urge in Judge that he couldn’t resist. As the girl circled the block for a third time, he hid behind some bushes in a yard, just feet from the sidewalk. As she passed, Judge rammed a stick into the front-wheel spokes of the bicycle, causing the girl to tumble forward and smash her face into the pavement. The wet crack of her skull bouncing off the concrete gave Judge an immediate erection, engorging him to his maximum potential of almost two-and-a-half inches.
Leaping from behind the hedge, Judge Austin dragged the girl into the ant-covered soil. Pressing her face into the wet dirt, he tore her cartoon underwear off and attempted to ram himself into her shapeless ass. To his disappointment, he became impotent again. After a minute or two of attempting to stretch his wet noodle and cram it into the lifeless girl, he gave up and broke another stick from the boxwood, similar to the one that laid broken between the spokes of the girl’s bicycle. With an overhand grip, he stabbed the branch into the young lady’s anus until it broke off. Blood trickled out of her asshole and down the lips of her tiny pussy.
Suddenly, the girl started to struggle. She turned and screamed, waking to see the flabby, sweaty boy looming above her.
“Shhh, shh. Quiet. I’m not going to hurt you,” Judge whispered, holding his hand over her mouth. This was a busy street, just across from an elementary school. He didn’t want to draw any attention this way.
“You fell off your bike and I saved you,” he panted into her ear. Spittle flew from his lips and spattered on her face.
Reaching up to feel the lump on her head, wiping blood and dirt from around her eyes and nose, she believed him.
Picking the girl up from under her armpits and lifting her to her feet, Judge showed her the mangled bicycle. He brushed dirt from her back and legs before picking up the bike and pushing it for the girl as he escorted back to her house.
“Do you want to be my girlfriend?” Judge asked the girl when they got to the door. She had never been asked this question before. Like Judge, she was an outcast at her school. Her short red hair, freckles and microdontia were features the other children liked to tease her about. Though, unlike Judge, she had never used violence in retaliation. Even at this early age, she had been conditioned to believe that she needed to have a boyfriend and, eventually, a husband to be considered valuable to society. This line of thinking had been deeply ingrained into the thinking of little girls for thousands of years, perpetuated by the invention of religion after religion. The men who created these religions claimed that their god or gods wanted women to be subservient to men. In reality, it was women who held power over the human race which, as you know, would come to be recognized during The Great Rejuvenation.
This girl, dressed in her white button-up shirt and plaid skirt, would wait for Judge in front of her middle-school each day. He’d meet her and they’d walk to the local McDonalds for cheeseburgers before disappearing behind the dumpster where Judge would lick young Brenda’s pre-pubescent asshole or stick pieces of drinking straws and styrofoam wrappers into her weeping vagina.
“You’re never going to be anything,” he’d tell her as he forced her to eat the crusted shit from under his scrotum.
“Without me, you’re nothing,” he’d say, stuffing his flaccid micropenis into her nostril.
“You should just kill yourself, you stupid bitch,” he’d whisper. “Maybe then I would love you.”
Brenda tried to skip school so she could spend the whole day with Judge, but she wasn’t able to get away with it for more than a few days. Her teacher phoned her father and they decided that it was best to put her in a school for problem children.
“I’m going to kill myself!” Brenda screamed at nobody in particular in the principal’s office, where her dad and teacher sat beside her.
“You should really consider getting your daughter some psychological treatment, Mr. Spencer,” the principal suggested.
“Don’t fucking tell me how to raise my daughter,” he raged back at the elderly pedagog. Standing to leave, he grabbed Brenda by one skinny bicep, lifting her feet off the ground, and pulled her into the hallway.
“I’ll kill you all!” Brenda screamed, kicking her legs and attempting to thrash her way out of the older man’s grip.
Judge never saw her again, but it didn’t matter to him. He didn’t have the attention span to do any one thing for very long and by the time Brenda was shipped off, he was moving on to his next venture. For all his vileness and stupidity, nobody can say Judge Austin wasn’t ambitious.
Up until now, Judge had been a loner. Not going to school, he’d been unable to meet anyone his own age. Given his track record, he wouldn’t make many friends, anyway. All he needed, he thought, were a couple guys like him so they could team up on younger kids.
Not long after abandoning Brenda, Judge met The Nazi Lowriders, a youth prison-gang of white supremacists. The Lowriders had recently begun manufacturing methamphetamine and needed some dumb kid to smuggle supplies in from Mexico.
“This is the best day of my life,” Judge thought. The gang gave him his first car and paid him to drive for a few hours each week. When he wasn’t transporting precursors, he hung around scrapyards and abandoned warehouses with his “brothers” while they manufactured the drug. At night, they’d roam the streets of southern California, throwing bricks and bottles from the windows of their car in an attempt to hit any handicapped or non-white person walking down the street.
“Heads up, Kike!” Judge shouted as he tossed his brick at an elderly couple.
They’d set fire to houses in immigrant neighborhoods, laughing at the idea of ruining the dreams of these hardworking families.
“Go back where you came from, you fucking beaners!” They’d shout as they ran away.
By this time, Judge had been expelled from a couple of schools and the district wouldn’t transfer him again. He didn’t care. School is for losers, he thought. I’m going to get rich as a meth dealer, he’d tell himself. At that time, many people did get rich by selling drugs, both legally and illegally, as the markup was significant and the risks were high.
One of the Nazi Lowriders got ahold of a blank diploma from one of his clients, a school counselor. They traded a few grams of the drug for it and had their only literate member forge the names and signatures. “Judge Bryan Austen” the member wrote in big letters across the center of the paper. Somewhat literate would be a better term to describe him.
Judge took the diploma home, lying to his parents when he told them that he’d buckled down and worked especially hard this year and had graduated early! His parents never considered him the brightest crayon in the box. More of a burnt umber. Hoping their years of trying with Judge had paid off, they chose to believe him. It’s hard to say whether or not they were in denial or just wanted the whole experience to be over with. There’s no further record of Judge Austin’s parents. They disappeared that summer and were never heard from again. Maybe they chose to disappear. Maybe somebody made that choice for them.
 Schools were funded based on attendance and the number of students who progressed to the next grade-level. In order to receive maximum funding, schools would routinely pass inept students to the next grade.
 See: Nutopia and the American Continent by Faudia-Delloni-Ng, From Rome to America by D.N. Baudinianus, and Freedom, Economics, Democracy by Q. Palustris Kim-Garcia for abridged histories of the people and lifestyles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
 Obsolete photography supply companies from the 20th century.
 Behavioral Health was a term used by corporations and enforced by police and military to guarantee compliance with their proscribed speech and actions. Unlike prisons, which required an individual to be convicted of a crime, these institutions used vague language keep a person for an unlimited amount of time and subject them to any number of tortures without cause or oversight.
 The homogenization of people over the last two-hundred years has eliminated the common usage of terms like “Black, Brown, Asian, Indian, et al. to describe the color of an individual’s skin. Often, derogatory terms were used by one group to refer to another.
 Gas stations sold refined petroleum to consumers for use in their vehicles. Buildings were regularly abandoned as the more affluent left neighborhoods. Instead of repurposing these buildings, real-estate merchants would allow them to sit in disrepair in order to get tax benefits.
 John Wayne Gacy was an American serial killer who was infamous in the twentieth century for raping and murdering teenage boys, often while dressed as a circus clown.
 A beverage sweetened with laboratory chemicals to simulate sugar. Advertised as a weight-loss drink, it was a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
 A small percentage of the merchant class managed to obtain over 90% of wealth. They were able to use this fortune to purchase or liquidate competitors and change the government-imposed rules of business and society to their favor. The approximate monetary wealth of these individuals would be six-million notes while the average salary of their staff would have been between fifteen and nineteen notes annually.
 Large vehicles powered by fossil fuels used to move cargo across the country. Although a complex and efficient system of railways had existed for many years, corrupt political unions developed the trucking system to employ over a million drivers in exchange for voting and lobbying support. Trucking was a major cause of environmental pollution.
San Diego was located in the area now designated as the Doni Vivon Wildlife Preserve in south-west Nutopia.
 Before The Great Rejuvenation, capitalists would send impoverished children to other parts of the world to murder the residents of those nations in order to obtain resources such as fossil-fuels, gold, diamonds or other consumer goods. Often, these boys (veterans) would come back with psychological trauma and addicted to the drugs they were provided by the government overseas but had to purchase at inflated rates back home.
 As you are likely aware, before The Great Rejuvenation, people would destroy thousands of acres of wildland to build shopping centers, factories and roads. Often, they would set aside a small plot of a few acres that would not be built on and profess their commitment to preserving nature.
 At this time, individualized communication did not exist and entire households received voice or written communication into communal mailboxes that were fixed at their homes.
 The fate of Judge Austin’s parents and other characters in this story may be found in the Historical Satellite Archives. B356.23, GD2311.1, LL029.97.