by S. L. Gilbow
Read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson
About the Author…
(taken from http://www.johnjosephadams.com/brave-new-worlds/table-of-contents/red-card-s-l-gilbow/) S. L. Gilbow is a relatively new writer, with five stories published to date, four inThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and one in [the] anthology Federations.Gilbow served twenty-six years in the Air Force, and has been on dozens of deployments, and has flown more than 2000 hours as a B-52 navigator. He currently makes his living by teaching English at a public high school in Norfolk, Virginia.
Everyone knows that James Bond has a “license to kill.” As an international spy, he must sometimes fight for his life. But he’s a trained government employee, specially selected for Her Majesty’s Service. But could you trust just anyone with a license to kill?
What about your neighbor?
Or your boss?
In fact, what if the government gave everybody one free pass to shoot one person,any person, for whatever reason?
That’s the premise of [this] story. S. L. Gilbow says that the idea for “Red Card” actually came from a conversation he had with his daughter, Mandy. “One day after a driver cut me off in heavy traffic, I… turned to my daughter and said, ‘Everyone should be allowed to shoot one person without going to prison.’ My daughter thought for a second then turned to me and said, ‘Dad, if that were true you would have been dead a long time ago.’”
About the Narrator…“I may not be perfectly wise, perfectly witty, or perfectly wonderful, but I am always perfectly me.” AnonymousThe best part of my life is being Bill’s wife. I’m a horticulturist by trade, current stay at home mom for two children, team mom for the local Goalball team, and advocate for Blind/Visually Impaired causes and adoption causes. I love D20 gaming, reading, camping and canoeing, card playing, and music.
by S.L. Gilbow
Late one April evening, Linda Jackson pulled a revolver from her purse and shot her husband through a large mustard stain in the center of his T-shirt. The official after incident survey concluded that almost all of Merry Valley approved of the shooting. Sixty-four percent of the townspeople even rated her target selection as “excellent.” A few, however, criticized her, pointing out that shooting your husband is “a little too obvious” and “not very creative.”
Dick Andrews, who had farmed the fertile soil around Merry Valley for over thirty years, believed that Larry Jackson, more than anyone else in town, needed to be killed. “I never liked him much,” he wrote in the additional comments section of the incident survey. “He never seemed to have a good word to say about anybody.”
“Excellent use of a bullet,” scrawled Jimmy Blanchard. Born and raised in Merry Valley, he had known Larry for years and had even graduated from high school with him. “Most overbearing person I’ve ever met. He deserved what he got. I’m just not sure why it took so long.”
Of course, a few people made waves. Jenny Collins seemed appalled. “I can hardly believe it,” she wrote. “We used to be much more discerning about who we killed, and we certainly didn’t go around flaunting it the way Linda does.” Jenny was the old-fashioned kind.
Linda would never have called her actions “flaunting it.” Of course she knew what to do after shooting Larry. She had read The Enforcement Handbook from cover to cover six times, poring over it to see if she had missed anything, scrutinizing every nuance. She had even committed some of the more important passages to memory: Call the police immediately after executing an enforcement–Always keep your red card in a safe, dry place–Never reveal to anyone that you have a red card–Be proud; you’re performing an important civic duty.
But flaunting it? No, Linda blended in better than anyone in town, rarely talked and never called attention to herself. She spent most of her days at the Merry Valley Public Library, tucked between rows of antique shelves, alone, organizing a modest collection of old books. In the evening she fixed dinner. After Larry had eaten, cleaned up and left the house for “some time alone,” Linda would lie in bed reading Jane Austen. No, Linda never flaunted anything–never had much to flaunt.