Demasking is a Crime

 It was in the year _____ that a maskless society ceased to exist. Everyone was issued a mask. All masks were the same. A uniform anonymity, a sea of samefulness, or rather there was only one standard issue mask that came in three different colors. Red, blue or green. The color you were assigned to wear was based on zoning. Your location dictated your color.
When a child was born they had to be registered with the M.O.D. (Masking Ordinance Department) and implants would be surgically merged with the facial pores. If a child wasn’t registered, and the proper authorities found out, the child would be seized and enrolled in what was known as the Nursery. No one knew the location of the Nursery, or much of what happened there, but basically the Nursery children were wards of the government until they were old enough to be released back into society.
If you took your mask off, your facial pores would release an acidic chemical issued from micro-pellets which had been implanted into your face, and you would burn. And keep burning. The scalding would be excruciating, intolerable, and it wouldn’t be long before you put your mask back on, which would defuse the acid. The temptation of mask-removal had been the cause of many disfigurements, which of course remained hidden from public view. No one saw the wounds beneath the mask, no one played screaming mirror anymore to someone else’s unverified crises. Points of reflection had diminished in stature and vocabulary.
Signs were posted everywhere, rectangular slabs of mildly glowing metal that warned in red lettering—DEMASKING IS A CRIME

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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