“They’re like heroin, those natural brain chemicals called endorphins!” said the spokesman for the Parents’ Council for the Elimination of Fun. “Whenever you feel pleasure, your brain gives you a shot of these endorphins just like an addict getting a fix. We have to outlaw them to protect the children!”
Newspapers published alarmist articles based on faulty statistics, fundamentalists made alarming speeches, and finally the politicians acted. The Global War on Pleasure began in New Hampshire on a quiet, fall night.
Even though it was getting chilly, Janine Philips changed into her shorts and running shoes. She thought of bringing a jacket but decided it would only get in the way. She wouldn’t need it anyway. Once she started running, her body became a furnace that would keep her core toasty. She locked the door and ran down the block past the water tower. About a half mile from home her left knee began to hurt. It was a chronic problem that plagued her even though she did strengthening exercises religiously. She pushed through the pain. About the time she reached the park, everything fell into place. Her breath, heartbeat, and the cadence of her steps combined into a symphony of oneness with her surroundings. The pain in her knee though still there seemed far away.
Another runner joined her. He was well muscled but his movements seemed forced and did not have the ease of someone experiencing the runner’s high. Janine felt sorry for him and ran ahead. As she admired the changing leaves, a collision knocked her off her feet. The other runner tackled her, slamming her face into the pavement and chipping her teeth.
“DEA! On the ground, motherfucker!”
Her face stung. Blood sprayed from her broken nose. Steel handcuffs bit into her wrists and cut off the circulation in her hands. The undercover agent hauled her to her feet and shoved her into an unmarked car.
Rick Johnson fingered the condoms in his jeans pocket after Stephanie Smrna went into the bedroom. It was their third date and Rick anticipated some serious loving as long as he didn’t blow it. Stephanie returned wearing a blue, nylon nightgown and sat on his lap. As she leaned forward to kiss him, he felt the warm weight of her woman’s body through the cloth.
“I want you inside me.” She took his hand and led him to her bed.
The robe slipped from her shoulders revealing her glorious breasts and the dark, triangular mystery between her thighs. Rick stepped out of his jeans and hopped around trying to free them from his ankles. A battering ram knocked the bedroom door off its hinges. A dozen black-clad members of a SWAT team rushed the room and trained their AR-15s on the naked lovers.
“DEA! On the ground, motherfuckers!”
Debbie Gibson had been looking forward to recess all morning. After an hour of arithmetic she darted past the jungle gym to a secluded corner of the playground and took the rice krispie treat from her jacket pocket. Her mouth watered as she unwrapped the plastic.
“Freeze!” the school guard called out while training his Glock pistol on the six-year-old. “Put it down! Put it down, I said! Keep your hands where I can see them!”
Debbie froze. No one had ever yelled at her like that, not ever her father when she refused to eat her green beans. She moved to put the rice krispie treat in her pocket when two bullets punched through her chest tearing the life from her heart and lungs.
As the Global War on Pleasure wore on, pain began to be seen as good and enjoyment bad. To show solidarity citizens wore heavy coats in summer and swimsuits in winter. Health departments inspected restaurants not for sanitation, as bouts of diarrhea were now considered morally uplifting, but to ensure meals were not too tasty. Strangely, television remained mostly unchanged. Criminals filled the void left by chefs and candy makers. Latin-American drug lords used their submarines to smuggle sugar from Cuba to Florida. Local gangs concocted toxic sweets in underground labs and fought turf wars to control their distribution. Soon prisons were packed and the nation didn’t have enough money to pay for them. The President gathered his advisors to find a solution.
“We need to cut Social Security and defense spending,” the Secretary of the Treasury said.
“No, we need to raise taxes,” the Secretary of Defense said.
“Perhaps we’re looking at this the wrong way,” the President’s campaign advisor said. “We know pain is good and pleasure bad so why are we rewarding criminals with something that will benefit them while punishing law-abiding citizens?”
“My God, this just might be our way out of this.” The President leaned forward. “What are you proposing?”
“Simple.” The campaign manager leaned forward too. “Give all the sex, drugs, and rich food to the prisoners.”
“Good idea,” the Attorney General said, “but isn’t it more painful to be inside prison than outside?”
“You’re right!” the President said. “We’ll have to change places. Throw the criminals out of prison so decent people can take their place!”
And so the busy bodies finally got what they deserved and the rest of us lived in peace.