I think once there was a time where I may have never ended up in this situation. It was a time I don't find myself very prideful of; in fact, I feel quite the opposite about it. It was a humiliating time of surrender to the nation's hypocritical communistic era where I was nothing but a statistic on a piece of paper. A number. Merely something to be calculated, merely something to be registered and added, subtracted, divided. I was part of an ineffective mathematic system where they only payed attention to what they saw in front of them. And I guarantee you they did not see me. They saw 4508978. I am citizen 4508978. I am 4508978. To them, anyway. Malcolm 4509878 Arcadia. That is my name. Was my name.
I am past that humiliating era of ignorance now. And the forces were not happy with it. I wasn't bubble-headed, I wasn't oblivious, I wasn't normal. I had a three names. Three real names, consisting of letters instead of numbers. My name was impossible, as so many had clearly told me. But I fought them, and I gave myself that name, I illegally registered it – but I couldn't get it on my ID. It's kind of hard to write something new on a chip embedded three inches into your hip. So I remain M4509878A to the forces, to the nation, to the world.
I was amazed the two idiots I was dealing with bothered to ask me. They were obviously new to the forces. They held the guns wrong, they spoke with a too-emotional voice. And they kept me at a distance. They made me put my hands on my head – an ancient technique that I could have easily attacked them from. They probably even wanted to be in the forces only because of what they saw in old movies, converted into holograms.
"Name!" one of them shouted in his thick voice from behind me after he'd gotten me of the edge of the bridge. I sighed in the cool air, raising my face so my hair could bat at my numb nose. They didn't want my name, they wanted my ID; but I was about to be coy with them. I didn't care if telling them my actual name would get me slammed into a cold empty prison cell. I could easily fall off this bridge now.
"Malcolm," I said, smiling at the quiet that came from behind me.
"What?" asked a woman. I heard her hesitant confusion in the syllable, almost like she knew it was wrong to be confused by a suicidal pedestrian.
"Malcolm!" I repeated.
"Alright, kid, stop fooling around with us!" I heard their guns start to hum. They were ready to shoot.
"I'm not fooling around with you. My name is Malcolm."
I said nothing, then heard a whispered debate behind my back. It was fun confusing baby workers of the forces because if they reported anything, people would ignore them, and if they shot me for nothing, they could get in some major shit which they may not ever get out of. They'd be the ones in jail, forever screaming "Malcolm! That's not your name!" Then again, I often run away with my imagination. I only wished they could suffer, that I could somehow get behind them and push them off this bridge.
"Don't make us scan you!"
They wouldn't scan me, especially when they put it that way. Chips were placed in random places of the body; mine was, luckily, just in my hip, but people got antsy about scanning because it often required removing clothes. Most workers of the forces used it as a last resort. Most pedestrians gave their ID up quickly. But the most brutal way of finding out a name was doing a surgery (a.k.a barbarically slicing along parts of the body until the ID was produced) and running it through a machine. Using that method could tell the forces whatever they wanted to know about me. They wouldn't dare, though.
I sighed into the crisp air. "My name is Malcolm Arcadia."