L … Liberty


The Monday morning bridge club was a dull, respectable, middle-class diversion for the elderly. Wally, the bank manager, was a regular with his partner Mary, a pediatrician by profession. Playing against them were Dave the retired plumber and Anne, once a school teacher, now also retired. They took a short break and chatted.

“My next-door neighbor was taken away this morning,” said Mary. “Appears he woke to find a drone hovering outside his bedroom window. He drew the shades down, went about his business, then the SWAT team arrived. Seems it was an FBI drone, so he was impeding one of their investigations. Should have known better, he was quite a nice guy.”

“You don’t know that,” Wally answered. “He might have been a terrorist.”

“And I might be a cabbage.”

“Careful what you say, Mary.”

“It’s no crime to be a cabbage, is it?”

“No, no, not at all, but you never know who’s listening. Could be interpreted as a public statement in support of your neighbor.”

“I’ll bet he did nothing wrong, just wanted some privacy from snoopers.”

“He’ll have to prove that in court. Possibly the secret anti-terrorist court.”

Anne spoke up. “You have to be careful nowadays. Suspicious behavior is grounds for search, and not wanting your home, your car, your phone to be searched is definitely considered suspicious. Friend of mine, used to be a great outdoorsman, left on a hunting trip. The GPS tracking on his car showed him turning off the highway into a forest road. Next thing he knew, he was pulled over, unmarked car but probably FBI, for questioning. Gave his name, Al Barber, and they checked their database, found ‘Ali Baba’ was a codename used by an Iranian video game company, took him in for further questioning. He won’t say what happened, got the thing sorted out after a few days and he was released, but he knows he’s still being watched and won’t drive a block off his regular commute. Even sold his rifle.”

“Unfortunate name to have, open to misinterpretation.”

“Oh come on, it’s a perfectly normal name. Now if he was called Somethingstein or Somethingelseski, you might understand, but Barber’s a good American name, as Anglo and Christian as you can get.”

Dave interrupted. “Wait a minute, my last name’s Gonzalez and my family was in Santa Fe long before the Mayflower got here. Does that make me a suspect for something?”

“Don’t worry, Dave, these horror stories are always about someone else, just unlucky accidents. These things don’t happen to people like us, not here. It’s still a free country, you know.”

The door to the clubroom burst open and a heavily-armed group of police entered. “Stay right where you are, hands on the table,” one commanded.

“What’s going on? We’re only playing cards,” Wally mumbled, eyes on the ground.

“Yeah, sure. I hate you conspirator types, with your subversive anti-American talk and your coded conversations.”


“Shut up. We’ll figure out this ‘one club, two diamonds’ stuff real quick. And that ‘no trumps’ is treason if ever I heard it. Round ’em up, Sam.”

The bridge club is no more. Without privacy, there can be no free speech, without free speech no liberty.


Also find these older posts…
A … Autonomy
B … Bear
C … Corporations
D … Doggerel
E … Elephant
F … Francis
H … Hope
I … Introduction
J … Judgment
M … Morning
P … Potholes
R … Review
S … Snoozers
W … Weather

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IP Doorman

Copyright 2016 Flight of Eagles

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Writer of Kern.

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