A Little Bit Does a Lot

by Vatsala Kumar

Now, I look around at our beautiful, non-segregated country called America. It hadn't always been this way, though. Two short years ago, it had been horrible. I realized that a little can do a lot.

As I waited for the UHC1, or Underprivileged Human Carrier 1, to take me from my home to the cities above, I watched all of the Caucasians zooming by in all their glory. Those fancy Caucasians, I thought. In all their fancy PHV1s, . I envied those who could drive, because they had banned all but Caucasians from driving.

It was then that I heard a voice behind me. "Hey! Rechel!" It called. I turned around and found that my former best friend, Jonni, was running up the stairs,

towards me. I waited for her to come.

Once she reached me, we went up as the UHC1 moved us up to the city in the air, Casafore.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey."

"How are you?"

"Fine. How do you like it here? Quite a change from America, huh. Casafore."

"Yeah. It's nice, but I just moved here last week."

"Oh."

Jonni and I used to be the best of friends, back when we were allowed. Now, the United Nations had made a law that you are not allowed to have any personal conversations with someone that is not of the same religion, so Jonni and I had to keep it light, because there were cameras everywhere.

"Well, I'm going to go ahead and see if I can run up and beat the UHC1 to the top," came her voice, disrupting my thoughts.

"Good luck."

"Thanks," was her reply.

And she was gone, disappeared in the crowd in front of me.

I walked into my office, I was surrounded by shouts of "Hey!" "Hello!" and multiple cries of "You have a meeting today!". Being the assistant director of

the only job non-Caucasians were allowed to work for, Transportational Services, was tough. I ignored the shouts and took my file to the head of our branch, Kathlin.

"This is our only underview map of UHC9 and I have included my engineering plans. Could you take a look over it sometime today? It is necessary for it to be fixed, because if it isn't, many non-Caucasians will not be able to go to jobs, and, since jobs are mandatory, we will lose a lot a lot of workers." I said, bracing myself for

the normal "I know"s and "Who's in charge here, you or me?"s.

Instead, I got a friendly "Okay. I can do that during my lunch break." from Kathlin.

I was surprised. Ever since I had moved to Casafore, Kathlin had been the rudest person I knew. "What happened to you? Did you get married?" I joked.

"Come on, you know I wouldn't get married. No, it's something even better."

"What? Come on, tell me!!"

"I... I... I'm moving back to America."

"What?! When?!"

"Next month. You'll be in charge."

"But... but I can't even take charge of my life sometimes!"

"Well, you'd better learn."

"Okay... will I be getting tutoring or something?"

"Yes. You start Monday."

"But today's Monday."

"Next Monday."

"Who's my tutor?"

"A nice Hispanic man who was drafted to the army in the War of 2025."

The War of 2025 was one of the most gruesome civil wars fought by America, causing the Act of 2031, all non-Christians and non-Caucasians sent to Casafore.

"Oh, great. I get to run a branch and I get to be helped by some old man."

"He's not that old! That war was only 25 years ago. He's only 50."

"Oh, so he's not allowed..." my voice trailed off.

"No, he can't do anything but teach because of that law."

"Right." There was an awkward silence.

"Anyway, you'd better go. Antonis has your schedule for today. You have about ten million meetings."

"I don't get paid enough for this job."

"You don't get paid at all."

"I know."

The next morning, I turned on the news as I sat there, eating my bowl of cereal.

"Breaking News!! Some of the non-Caucasians are being permitted back into America! These special individuals will be going next Friday. They will be able to go and see where they will be living, and then choose if they would like to move or stay here, in Casafore. Ever since the Act of 2031, many non-Christians or non-Caucasians have been forced to move from America to Casafore."

I sat there, watching intently. As I watched, I knew that Kathlin had somehow gotten knowledge that she was going.

"The list will be posted outside on all notice boards for all neighborhoods. If you are on that list, you will take a week's worth of supplies with you and try out your new home. If you choose to stay, you will be transported back to Casafore to gather everything.

In other news..."

I turned off the tele-screen. I had to see this list. It was definitely a chance to get out of this dump.

As I ran towards the notice board, I realized that there were many people crowding around the list. I barely managed to squeeze in.

I scanned the list for my name. Rechel Seron, Rechel Seron, I looked. Then, finally, I saw my name. It read:

Rechel Seron

I noticed that Jonni and Kathlin were on the list, too. That's strange I thought. Jonni's Caucasian and Christian. I looked down to the bottom of the list. In tiny, bold letters it declared:

Only three-day trial due to high position tutoring

This wasn't good. That meant I would only have three days to figure out if I liked my new home. Oh, well, I thought. At least I know I want to go back and stay. But I wasn't convinced. But for now... I had to get to work.

I went to America for my three-day trial, getting ready for an environment full of happy people in a non-segregated environment. I came back very disappointed. Everyone was depressed, most of them poor, even the whites. It was very upsetting. It was even worse than Casafore, considering there where no cities in the air and it was very underdeveloped. The first thing I did when I was there was look for my apartment. "2250 Wilson Blvd", I whispered to myself. "Easy enough." On the contrary, it was hidden in a back alley, surrounded by tall buildings. When I walked in, there was a musty, moist smell lingering about. I walked up to a concierge, and asked him to direct me to my room.

"Whatever," came the tired reply.

"It's room 224," I said.

"Okay," he stated simply as he led me up the stairs.

Finally, we came to a door that was made of wood and looked as if it could fall apart any second.

"Here's your key. If you need anything, just call room service." He leaned in closer, and I could smell his moist breath on my face. "But don't need anything."

My room was simple, a two-room apartment with a bedroom and a kitchen. It didn't have a tele-screen, though. Just an old version called a "television". I had no idea how to operate it. Once I got it, though, I flipped to a news channel .It showed pictures of a prosperous town, brightly colored and joyful. "That's nothing like it is here!" I was outraged. I set to work immediately and called all of my trusted friends, family and relatives and organized for a meeting that very afternoon. This couldn't wait.

Once everyone got to my apartment, I explained to them that the problem was that the government was showing incorrect information to everyone, and we were all segregated and poor, and why we needed to fix it. They all seemed sort of depressed, though. "What's the matter, guys? What's wrong?"

One of my old college roommates said, "We can't fix this. It took them over 400 years to get America working smoothly, but it only took them 30 to destroy it. We can't do anything."

"Yes, we can! We need to be positive and stay motivated. With all our brains working together, we can do anything!"

"Rechel, it's hopeless. Give it up."

"I won't! Our founding fathers gave up lives to create this country, and now you won't even fight for it!?" I was shocked. I thought they'd all want to do this with me.

"It won't work. We've tried."

"Well then I'm going to try again. You can leave me if you want, but I'm doing it! You can't stop me!"

"Good luck," came a chorus of mocking voices. "It won't work."

Once the very last person had left, I sat down and pulled out my brand-new laptop computation device. It had been a gift from Kathlin, a congratulations. I immediately started writing an e-message to everyone who had come to the meeting, and even some that hadn't, even Jonni and Kathlin. It read:

"Dear Friends and Family,

Today, I arranged a meeting in order to save America. Many of you objected, saying that you had already tried to save this nation. Well, if you really wanted to try, you would do this with me.

I am going to organize a rally boycotting against segregation. If you are interested, it is tomorrow from 1:00 am to 5:00pm. I hope to see you there.

If you have any questions, either e-message me or call me. I will try to get other people to help.

Sincerely,

Rechel Seron"

I hoped this would convince them.

When I got home from the rally, I was exhausted, yet happy. Almost everyone had come!

I had gone expecting only Kathlin and I to be there. I was very wrong. Everybody I had sent e-messages to and more had shown up. I just hoped we had made a difference.

After this, there were more and more rallies, even after my trial was over. I had been an inspiration! This filled my heart with new hopes and dreams. Someone even started a petition! Not everyone signed it, but in the end we had over 200 signatures! This was turning out to be a real success.

Shortly thereafter, a news crew came to Casafore (I hadn't moved to America just yet) and interviewed me. They wanted to know why I wanted to stop the segregation. "Well, it's obvious that we can't go living like this!" They went on to ask for explanations, et cetera, et cetera.

Then, almost a year later, I got a letter saying that all of my efforts had paid off! The government was going to allow everybody back into America, and even try to persuade the other countries to do so also. With a little luck, we were going to live in a wonderful place!!

Now, almost two years since that small rally, I look around at our beautiful, non-segregated country called America. It hadn't always been this way, though. Two short years ago, it had been horrible. I realized that a little can do a lot.

Oh and yeah, Jonni and I are best friends again.

(Writer's note: This was written for a Future Problem Solving Scenario Writing Competition for Ohio. I won fourth place in the Junior Division)

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