Diary of a Sense Offender: A Review of Kurt Wimmer's "Equilibrium"
by Charles Carreon
Everyday begins this way. Waking on a sterile single-wide sleeping cushion. Just like the one your spouse, your children, and your neighbors have been sleeping on. Uniformity is the rule. Then, before all else, or perhaps after you shave if you are a bit indulgent, you take your Prozium. The swift injection to the neck, inoculating you against feeling, killing for the duration of its effect, the temptation to feel. For feeling is the enemy of humanity, the seed of evil hidden in the human heart.
Onward marches humanity, in continuous victory over the senses. And continuous war against sense offenders. The most zealous among us are children, zealots with eyes of steel that spot the quivering emotionality in the shoulders, the uncertain tip of the head, the lagging tread, that betray the sense offender. Those who are dumping their Prozium into the toilet, crushing it underfoot, stowing it in a hollow in the bathroom wall, anything but injecting it into their neck.
Under the influence of Prozium, freed of the disturbing emotions, an extraordinary level of discipline emerges in the mind of the most ordinary person. Emotions, far from helping us to achieve our most cherished goals, throw the human animal into a tizzy of unproductive, confused action. Ultimately, emotions lead to war, to the angry release of frustrations built up within the prison of the emotions. So humanity was left with no choice but to take up war against the emotions.
Prozium is the weapon that put the foe to flight, dealing a hammer blow to the demonic emotions within the heart of every human. Lost, of course, was the fleeting delight that intoxicates the sense offender, but gone too was the impulse that leads to war, the inflamed mob mind that seeks vengeance on itself. The social contract finally was enforced to the ultimate level, requiring the fortress of selfhood to be razed in order to protect all humanity from the evil motives of individuals.
Sense offenders refuse to make the sacrifice demanded of them by the righteous needs of all. Their swift elimination is the desire of all of the citizens of Libria, and the duty of the Grammaton Clerics, specially trained in the science of death.
The road to sense offenderhood is a short one. It begins with a single stumble, so one must be ever vigilant. Perhaps, through accident, one breaks a vial of Prozium, and through misfortune, fails to replace it and skips a dose. Perhaps no harm will come of it. Perhaps no powerful emotions will rise up to claim your soul, but by forsaking Prozium even for a moment, you run the risk of being thrown off track, into the dangerous byways of sense offense.
For the sense offender at first everything seems brighter. A delusive ecstasy grips the mind, prompting untoward expansive behavior, which should be the first warning sign for friends and relatives. The sense offender may express pleasure inappropriately, or protective impulses toward non-human life forms that they call "pets." The sense offender will seek to feed his or her habit by all means necessary. It quickly goes beyond stretching out the intervals between Prozium administration, while grasping furtive pleasure in the brushing of one's hair for an inappropriately long period of time, humming in the shower, or entertaining notions. Soon entire days are spent in sense affairs, conjuring excuses for absence, drifting ever farther from the margin of true Libria, taking refuge in the Nethers, with hardened sense offenders. In time, the evil strikes. Sense offenders take up arms to satisfy the hate breeding in their hearts. Claiming to be protecting themselves from the Librian state, they engage in gun battles in defense of clandestine lairs stuffed with contraband sense objects.
Finally, the dialectic of the sense offender emerges, a self-justifying rant that seeks to overthrow the very rationale that has redeemed humanity after millennia of war. Sense offenders teach a heresy -- that Libria has institutionalized the war of each against all under the ideological cover of benefit to all humanity. That Father has enslaved his children in chemical bonds, that Prozium is poison. Such a slander cannot be allowed to stand. Nor can the perpetrators of the heresy be tolerated. Having taken up arms against Libria, at the hands of a duly consecrated Grammaton Cleric, they pay an immediate price for their crimes.
Skilled in the art of the Gun Kata, and intuitively tuned to know what sense offenders are feeling, Grammaton Clerics are lethal weapons capable of delivering fire in a 360-degree radius under conditions of total darkness, killing every sense offender within a reasonable circumference of their center. A Cleric performing the Gun Kata maintains continuous movement. He is always other than where his opponents believe him to be. He cannot be touched, and strikes at will. His enemies are, invariably, defeated. He is the hero of all true Librians.
To be a Grammaton Cleric, and a sense offender. The thing is not unheard of, and swiftly dealt with. When a Grammaton Cleric cracks, what kind of bones are exposed?
I can only say that it begins like this. A restless night after a hard day's work. A broken Prozium vial, and a lie to conceal it. Ripping the protecting sense-masking material from the transparent windowpane, tasting the light of the sun glinting over the shining towers of Libria. Seeing the liquid rays glinting through the hazy morning air. I spy a greying woman, like myself, being born along in a herd of drab-clothed workers, stroking her hand on the smooth metal of the banister rail. I imitate her, and quickly feel what she is feeling. It is a small stimulus, a bit of pleasure slyly snagged. A sense offender on the loose. And I do nothing to apprehend her.
Sucked in by the flow of sensual experience, I tried to surf the wave, but was quickly overwhelmed. It began as an ordinary day on the job with my new partner, knocking down the doors of sense offense lairs, torching menageries of memorabilia, burning up the dangerous fuel of emotion stored in yet another hidden vault. For years I've sent sense offenders to Processing, but on that unguarded day the eyes of a sense offender stopped me with a gaze. And what a gaze. Two green eyes too large for their sockets in a pale face of outrage unashamed of its sensuality. Framed with a mane of red hair, slashed with an angry mouth of accusation. And later in another sense lair, indulging for a moment in playing with the evidence, I was overwhelmed by something called Beethoven, that I played on an ancient victrola.
Now it seems I must confront my teachers, who are infallible in the ways of death. Having learned their ways, having mastered the emotions and the Gun Kata, I am compelled to reject their authority. Father's declarations poison the mind with fear, and by fear we are prevented from questioning him. I have no fear, so I am free to question Father, and his answers do not satisfy me.
From now on, I will make only instantaneous decisions
from among compelling choices. This Grammaton Cleric seeks neither
vengeance nor reward. Simply truth.