I watched his small, eleven year old body as it moved into the uniform blue crowd and was swallowed. My heart dropped, colliding with my diaphragm. I turned away. How had it come to this? He was just a child. He was frightened. I'd seen it in his foggy, grey eyes. Staring in them, as we said "goodbyes," I remembered the day we had gotten the call.

The boy had been sleeping when the vid-phone beeped. I glanced at my half-written to do list, set down my pen, and hit the remote. A middle-aged man in a navy blue suit came on the line. "Hello," he said. "Mr. Thace?"

"Yes," I answered and slid the note paper aside. I waited.

"I'm Don Fetasson of the IQTFPP - I.Q. Testing for Placement Program Office. How are you doing this evening?"

"Fine."

"Great. I'm sorry for calling so late. We ran into some delays today, but we wanted to make sure everyone was notified in time to report to-. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"I'm sure you know the reason I've called. It's about your son, David. We've evaluated his test scores. He has just been accepted into the Blue Group. Congratulations. I'm sure you're very proud."

"The blue group? What does that mean?" I asked, concerned at once.

"David is about mid-center on the scale, meaning he will enter the BHOTS - Blue-collar Hands On Training School. He'll learn and experience first-hand all about the workings of factories and assembly lines. It's quite an opportunity. I'm sure you'll agree."

An opportunity? Blue collar? "I don't understand. David is a very bright boy. There must be some kind of mistake."

"I'm afraid not. We use three different computers and one human being to check every test, so the score is quite good. And the proctors for the exams are given extensive training. We also have cameras present in the four corners of each room in our examination building. So, as you can see...there could be no mix-up with the test, or one of our observers would've caught it."

"Yes. I know about the system. I've been a proctor many times."

"So, I really shouldn't need to explain further. David Thace should report to BHOTS on September third of this year. A land shuttle will pick him up at the Albany port. You'll be sent a schedule. If you have any questions, feel free to call our 800 number or send us an email. And again, congratulations!"

The screen went dark. I looked back at my unfinished list. Blue?! I took up a glass paper weight. It left my left hand, crashed against the wall, shattering. I examined the dent in the wall with satisfaction. Then, turned, hearing a footstep behind me. I knew before I looked: it was David.

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Lisa J. Parker's writing and creative works including poems, books, short stories, essays, movies, greeting graphics, and photographs.

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