The rain fell steadily and the city was almost completely dark. The only visible light came from the street lamp on the corner which only partially clawed out a cone of light that was consumed by the night before it reached the ground.
A nondescript sedan appeared and claimed a parking space. Two men climbed out, adjusted their coats and turned their collars up, then strode purposefully towards a house at the corner. As they neared the corner they became more visible in the dim light. They were dressed alike in police uniforms, sidearms and yellow rain slickers with the word “POLICE” written across the back.
They passed through the gate leading up the walk through a muddied front yard and up the steps to a plain door.
One of the men knocked, the kind of knock that was the internationally-known calling card of the police.
From inside the small building came the sounds of shuffling which couldn’t be heard above the downpour. A few moments later the door was cracked open and a woman’s face warily peered out. “Yes?”
“Police, ma’am,” said the man who had knocked. “I’m officer Moody of the Mississippi City Police. This is officer Harris. May we come in?”
The woman stood back to allow the men to enter. The men shuffled their feet on the mat and shook the water from their slickers and stepped inside. She closed the door. She did not offer to take their jackets. “What’s this all about?” she asked.
“Routine, ma’am,” said Moody. “Are you Anne Bridges?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“We’re here about little Brandon,” said Harris. It was the first time he had spoken.
“Oh. I see.”
“Brandon James Bridges,” Harris added, rather unnecessarily. “A person created two weeks ago last Wednesday night. Is that right?”
“Yes,” Anne nodded. “That sounds about right.”
“It was on or about that date that a sperm penetrated the zona pellucida of a viable ovum within your person?”
“Yes,” she replied. “As far as I know. That’s when little Brandon came into my life.”
“I need to ask, ma’am. Where is Brandon now?”
Anne hesitated. “I … I don’t know. I need a drink of water. Would either of you like anything?”
“No, ma’am. Thank you.”
Anne disappeared into the kitchen for a moment, then returned and sat in a comfy chair angled towards a sofa. “I’m sorry,” she said. “This is all so sudden.”
“I understand, ma’am,” said Harris. “Really this is all routine. We appreciate your cooperation.”
“So,” continued Harris. “On or about three days ago Brandon should have taken up residence in your uterine wall, isn’t that right?”
Anne suddenly burst into tears. “Yes, that’s right,” she sniffed. “I don’t know where he could have gone.”
The officers both nodded in an understanding manner. Moody put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her as Harris pulled out a pad.
“You’re going to have to file a missing person’s report,” he said. “What color were Brandon’s eyes going to be?”
Back in 2011 when well-meaning citizens of the former State of Mississippi passed the personhood amendment (later commonly referred to as The Amendment), little did they know the full consequences of their actions.
The law defined a fertilized human ovum as a “person.” Thus, an unforeseen burden was born (heh) that crushed a state already reeling from economic woes with exponential administrative obligations. As we all know, the weight of these burdens quickly collapsed the great State of Mississippi, which was forced to declare bankruptcy within a year and was eventually broken into pieces and absorbed into the surrounding states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. (Even Alabama didn’t want any.)
Since every fertilized egg was now a “person” each and every one demanded a “certificate of live being” and issuance of a social security number. And every person that failed to progress from the germinal stage of pregnancy to the embryonic stage was now legally considered a “missing.” The law required missing persons reports on them all. And the issuance of death certificates. The state bureaucracy was quite literally buried alive.
Luckily all of Mississippi’s laws were tossed out when the state ceased to exist and the good people of the United States never made that exact same mistake again. And the United States flag with 50 stars still flies proudly to this day. Thanks for the assist, Puerto Rico!