Susan sat in her little yellow chair in the burning hot sun. Her bald head was turning red, hot and sun burnt. She knew she should be going inside soon.
She lived in Equanimity. It was a city where everything was fair. Nobody had anything better than their neighbors and nothing worse off. There was never a time when someone said “not fair.” Actually, there was one time when someone said something wasn’t fair. They had to go to court because they had to explain what was not fair and why. Anything unfair was to be reported and fixed immediately.
Because of this, when one person in the town got cancer, all of the town got cancer. It would be unfair for only one person to have to have cancer. Everyone was ordered to go to the doctors and have cancer cells put into them. So everyone had cancer; and everyone took the medicine for cancer that makes you lose your hair. That is why Susan didn’t have her beautiful gold wavy hair anymore.
Susan did not usually notice the rule about fairness. She had lived with it all her life. It was a common thing to be given the cold when one other person had it, have the exact same looking house as everyone else, or have the same level of work in your job as everyone else. That was just the way it was. It was fine most of the time.
She brought her yellow painted wooden chair into the garage. She went inside, sat on the couch, and began to read a book about some weird town where not everything was fair. The thought of it was fun, but she knew it was far out of the question. It was definitely a fantasy book.
Tia and Brady already were having a busy day trying to straighten out problems in the town. Being leaders of a town was not an easy job. They must have signed a million papers. Laws were being made, sicknesses were being caught and needed to be spread to the whole town, and court cases were in session. It was hectic, but they still had one more thing to deal with.
A small man with round glasses, a few strands of gray hairs on the top of his head, and a white shirt tucked into gray pants swung open the door. He briskly walked into the room.
“Tia, Brady,” He addressed them both, nodding at them in turn.
“What is it?” Tia snapped. It was a long day. The man cleared his throat.
“There’s a little problem.” You could tell by his voice that the problem was not little. Tia and Brady sighed.
“Well… a man named Cory McSale has, umm…” Pause. “He has committed a crime.”
Brady and Tia looked at each other.
“There has been a murder.”
“Murder!” Brady screamed. “Cory McSale did it, you say?”
The man nodded.
“…The victim?” Tia asked.
“The victim was Baylee Cameel.” He said in a shaky voice. Sadness showed in his eyes. They all looked down.
After a moment of silence, Brady calmly stated, “That is just not fair.” All heads popped up when he said this. “One person is murdered. How is that fair to the victim or friends and family of the victim?”
The thought was startling. If one person was killed, it would be fair to have all others killed. And if the murderer is put in prison, then should everyone else be put in prison? The thought of it was torture to the mind.
“Well, how are we to make it fair?” Tia looked at the man, letting him know that he should leave. Tia and Brady needed to talk, just the two of them.
Susan always had her radio on station 111.1, just like everyone else did. It was a law: always have the radio on channel 111.1. It was so that everyone got the news at the same time.
The radio announcer, Jim Laimal, came on. He said in his usual choppy voice:
“Listen up now! City of Equanimity! We have an important message that involves each and every one of you! Miss Baylee Cameel’s life was taken last night by Sir Cory Mcsale…An act of unfairness has been committed. The town leadership has not yet come to a consensus on this issue. It is unjust that Baylee unwillingly and unnaturally had her life taken. How do we make it fair to Baylee and her relatives?”
Susan shut off the radio, even though it was against the law. She couldn’t stand to hear it. Then something hit her. If one person is killed, they all must die!
Susan panicked. She flung open her cupboards, throwing every canned non-perishable item into a large paper bag. It added up to a lot. Then she packed all her clothes into a big suitcase. Susan would not be killed in the name of fairness.
Brady was almost ready to flip a coin to decide whether everyone should be killed or not. They had talked for hours on the subject and had gotten nowhere.
“Ok, heads everyone dies, tails we let the disaster of unfairness take over.” Brady joked. He pretended to flip an imaginary coin.
“This is serious…” Tia clicked her pen furiously over and over.
“One more time, if everyone dies, then what?”
“Well, everyone is dead and there’s no city.” Replied Brady.
“And if we don’t have everyone killed…?”
“We will have a chaotic and unfair city.” Brady had the most worried look on his face as he said both of the choices. He couldn’t imagine having no city population, but he also couldn’t imagine an unfair city. The words unfair city brought images of fire and screaming people to his mind.
“I can’t do this!” Tia announced. “I can’t have everyone killed. I can’t have it be my fault. You’re going to have to do this on your own. I'm out of here.” Tia picked up her coat and flung it over her shoulder. As she was walking out the door, Brady shouted, “Wait!”
Susan looked around one last time. The radio was on again. Everything looked the same except for a little emptiness. All sentimental value was gone. It almost felt like it wasn’t her home anymore.
Susan had mixed feelings about leaving. She was too scared to stay, but at the same time she was too sad to go. All her adult life she had been in that house. Susan almost put her bag down to stay, but then she jerked it back up. She knew she couldn’t stay. The heat was blistering, so she decided to get a water bottle. She put down her bags and headed for the kitchen. As she was filling it up with sink water, Jim came on the radio.
“A decision has been made on the Baylee Cameel case. Our town is to be unfair. Almost nothing will be fair; and the law will only prevent the most serious offenses of unfairness. That is all for this announcement.”
Susan stopped filling her water bottle. She thought for a moment. Leave or have an unfair city? Right away Susan decided to stay. She put her suitcase in her room and her bag of food in the kitchen. She sat down on her couch, picked up her book, and began reading. Her book was about an unfair city where nothing was fair. It was an exciting book, but totally cliché. It was definitely realistic fiction.