“What a world!”

The tune played on the radio as Nate rifled through the families belongings. He could see their backs from the dining room. He knew they could never be terrorists by the look of them but this was his job. He tore open shirts, pants, socks. He ripped apart luggage and mattresses.

The family stayed in the living room staring at the radio.

“What a world!”

They moved their heads side to side with the music as they stared at the radio. Although Nate wasn’t sure they were staring at anything there had never been anything to look at in the first place. He had never been like them. He was a Searcher. Nate hoped he wouldn’t have to search the living room, he hated seeing their faces while under the effects. It gave him the creeps.

“I’ll do the living room,” Kirk sighed. He seemed to have read his mind. The two men had been working together for 3 years now. Their operations were boring now.

Kirk swept into the living room sparing no time. His long overcoat brushing over the smallest child as he neared a cabinet. He began breaking everything on the cabinet and looking over the remains.

Nate’s head itched. He scratched right below the metal implant on his head. The itch disappeared but he felt the metal bulge again. It felt alien every time, even after decades. It’s what kept him from swaying mindlessly like the family in the living room. He was grateful but also shameful.

He looked away from the family and started searching again. All the clothes had been searched from their luggage. Apparently this group had been planning a vacation out of the country. Such activities were suspicious to the government and they would call in searchers.

Nate moved on to the upstairs. As he clomped upstairs in his large black boots he caught a glimpse of the living room again. Kirk was breaking their belongings in between the family and the radio. He was smiling. Kirk looked at Nate from across the torn and tattered clothes in the dining room.

“What?” he said through a laugh. He smashed a porcelain hippo on the ground in front of them without breaking eye contact.

“In front on them? That close? Do you really want them to wake up?” Nate wasn’t sure they could, but it made him uneasy.

“They’re not waking up. I’ll meet you upstairs after I’m done here,” he waved his arm at Nate.

Nate clomped up the rest of the stairs. He turned left and walked into the closest room. He immediately regretted walking in. It was the kid’s room. He had never found anything in a kid’s room and he hated searching them. He started to back out but heard Kirk coming up the stairs. It was too late now, he had to search the room with the crib.
Kirk saw Nate and chose the next closest; the master bedroom. Nate could hear him smashing immediately.

Nate got to work. He lifted a toy car up and smashed it onto the floor. It broke into 4 pieces, spraying all over the wooden floor. He destroyed the mobile over the crib, the crib itself, the toys, the toy box, the closet parts and all the clothes in the closet. He was starting to go through the end table at the bed when Kirk came into the room. Nate stood up and turned.

“Check this out,” Kirk giggled. He held a dildo in his right hand and waggled it at Nate,

“Looks like Mr.Johnson downstairs doesn’t cut it for Mrs. Johnson.”

Nate could feel his face get hot.

“Just finish the room, asshole,” he heard himself blurt out.

“I might have to lodge a formal complaint about you,” Kirk mockingly toted as he waggled the dildo at him again.

“Can we just finish up? We only have a couple rooms left,” Nate wiped pretend sweat from his brow.

“I will do my duty to make the leader proud!” Kirk jested. He held the floppy rubber staff above his head and laughed as he went back to the bedroom.

Nate turned back to the room. He was almost finished. He just had to go through the final array of smaller toys. They needed to be snapped open with tools. He used a screwdriver. Electronic parts flew onto the floor. He kicked them towards one corner so he had room to walk. He grabbed a small toy gun from the shelf and pried it apart. There were the electronic parts he recognized, as it was a government sanctioned toy. But there was another piece that made a different sound as it hit the wood floor. It was self-contained. Nate knew what it was.

It was a container for pills. They were well known among searchers. Purple with yellow lines through the center. Anti-government people used them to have limited immunity from hypnotizing effects. Nate hoped they were not, even as he grabbed the tester from his large lower pocket on his right side. It beeped as he pressed the large red button on the front with his thumb. A small ramp opened a way into the machine. Nate slid one of the purple pills inside and waited for a response.

His eyes went to the open doorway right next to the top of the stairs. The music wafted softly up the opening. The whole family could be on them, they all could have been conscious the entire time. They could be readying weapons at the staircase right now. The silence was broken up by Kirk breaking or tearing things apart in the next room. Nate quietly placed the pillbox on the nearest shelf. He grabbed his weapon from the shoulder holster under his left arm. He approached the doorway with his pistol drawn and did a quick snap-look around the corner.

There was no one on the stairs. He turned towards the master bedroom and suddenly the tester in his right hand beeped loudly. It was the bad sound. The pills were textochorodine. The noise must have startled the conscious person downstairs waiting for them because several gunshots were fired. The bullets went into the walls around the top of the stairs. Nate pulled himself to the far wall, close to the floor.

Kirk was out of the master bedroom, weapon drawn, within a moment. He pressed a button on his implant, throwing out the “spike”. It was a signal sent to headquarters that marked the building as a terrorist dwelling. The family would be taken in for questioning.

“You are in violation of Federal Law! Harboring an illegal…” Kirk stopped yelled as the footsteps ran out of the house.

“Son of a bitch,” he said as he holstered his pistol.

“Right in front of them,” Nate said.


“You smashed those things right in front of them, and they didn’t even react,” Nate said, shaking his head.

“Yeah, that’s why you do that. You stir em up. This one was hardened,” Kirk told him.

The two of them cautiously went down the stairs. The family was still staring into space in front of the radio, the song playing. The mom was missing.

“A mother?” Nate said.

“Yeah, guess the resistance is getting desperate,” Kirk said.

The man raised his eyebrows.

Nate ignored this. He kept thinking the resistance would die off, or stop. With so much power in the hands of the government, and all the methods for finding and quelling small resistance groups, why continue?

The family swayed to the hypnotizing music. Nate turned away, looking at the broken screen door leading to the back yard. She was on foot, and it wouldn’t be long until she was questioned and pacified.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Kirk said, tapping his implant.

Nate looked back at his partner. His face was reddening.

“What am I gonna do with that commission money?” Kirk smiled.

“Yup,” Nate said, nodding, “That’s what I was thinking.”