A man was barely walking down the streets of Cairo, with a twisted pelvis and a crooked knee, from a bout of rickets as a child.
The onlookers distanced themselves from him. They knew what was going to happen once the drones saw him.
“These are the parents of this poor soul,” the robot announcer said to the crowd in Tahrir square. The deformed man looked on in horror at his father and mother, standing in chains.
“They are guilty of neglect. Malnutrition. Vaccinations crimes. They will meet the same fate that they have inflicted on their progeny.”
A man dressed like an executioner emerged, opening the fold of his dark, hooded robe. He took out a sledge hammer.
A baby was screaming his lungs out onboard the underground tube train. The child’s mother repeatedly failed to calm the child down.
The seated passengers kept quiet. They knew what was coming once the train reached the next stop.
The robot announcer held a baby in its gentle, metallic embrace. “This child is the product of parental neglect. For how long have its cries gone unheard, unanswered. The child will be raised by the state, at the expense of the people, to serve the people. The child will be taught to care for its own offspring, if and when it has a child, against its will. The parents, the negligent mother, the even more negligent father who chose her, against his will through the marital lottery, will remain in a labour camp, breaking and fashioning rocks for our aqueducts, till the child is old enough to vote.”
“Read all about it! Read all about it! Latest addition to the penal code,” a newspaper boy yelled.
A passing Egyptian bought a paper at the newsstand and read out the key items on the front page with some difficulty. His Chaldean still wasn’t very good.
One headline read: “Legislature Vote Unanimous: Updates Include Cross-Eyedness and Albino Births.” Another read: “Crèches a Stunning Success: GPAs on the Rise at All Levels.”
The name of the paper was The Hammurabi Times.