On Thimoun reading was like breathing: You had to do it. Or do you?
The Reading Club
“On most planets, spaceship, etc. reading, learning and knowledge is a part of life. And on some it’s their whole life. The planet of Thimoun is one. They lived and breathed all three. What you are about to read centers around one of those families.” Jamus leaned back in his chair and read what he just wrote on his Data Pad.
“Thimoun isn’t your normal world. For the last four thousand years they have lived this way. But in the last couple of hundred years their way of life has been challenged – by the under twenty Thimouns. That’s why The Reading Club was created.” Jamus picked up the one balanced next to his chair.
“A Reading Club is a long thick stick with a handle at one end and a spiraling loop that goes up to the top. Along those spirals are tiny spikes. Depending on the color of the individual spiral is the amount of pain it can cause when it touches skin. The weapon isn’t deadly. But if you are on the receiving end it sure can feel like it is. One touch and you want to start reading again.” Jamus tested the weapon on himself. The red spiral shock him like a poor child’s rag doll.
“Each family has one or two depending on how many adults are living there. They aren’t supposed to us it unless someone in the house refuses to read. That doesn’t happen very often. But it does occur. It happened to the DeVon’s.” Jamus put his Data Pad down on the table next to him.
Every night after the last meal of the day DeVon’s family would read for three to five hours – depending on when they retired for their Sleep Time. During the week they could choose what they wanted to read. And they could read anything they wanted to. As long as you read you learn something new. Reading was all that mattered.
One day each week the family read out loud one particular reading. It’s usually only a section or two. Then they discuss it. The day DeVon’s family chose was Day Eight. They liked to do it at the end of each week. And today was that day.
They just finished eating and while the three younger kids cleaned up after everyone DeVon and CaTari went into the Reading Room, every house had one, to select the reading they would do that day.
The fourth child bounded down three steps from the second floor of the house when DeVon and CaTari walked by. TeDona tried to retreat back up the stairs before her parents saw her. “Why aren’t you helping with the clean-up?” CaTari looked up at TeDona.
“Why are you all dressed up for the family read?” Devon started walking up the stairs.
TeDona met her parents halfway down those stairs. “I’m not doing the family read this week. In fact, I’m not doing it any more. I am sixteen. I’m getting too old for that. Me and some friends are going out tonight.”
“Oh, No, You’re not.” CaTari joined Devon and TeDona on the steps.
“It’s kids like you that are the reason we have that.” DeVon pointed at the Reading Club hanging on the wall, above the door leading into the Reading Room, like an ancient Long Stick.
“That doesn’t scare me anymore. You have used that on me a thousand times. And it didn’t do any good.” TeDona looked at the only weapon parents could use on their child.
“It got you to start reading again. Didn’t it?” CaTari turned and looked at it too. “And it hasn’t been that many times.”
“Where do you think you are going dressed like that?” DeVon Stared up at TeDona. “There isn’t anything open after dark in this Community. Or any Community on Thimoun.”
“I’m going on a Social Gathering at an Under Twenty business.” TeDona walked right pass her parents. She practically pushed them out of her way as she headed toward the front entrance.
Both DeVon and CaTari grabbed for an arm. But missed. “You aren’t old enough to go to a Social Gathering.” CaTari shouted to heard over the noise coming from TeDona’s Ear Music.
TeDona turned toward her parents. “That’s just another way for the Leaders of the World to control us. They know every time you use that thing.” She pointed toward the Club. “The Leaders know when we are reading too. They are watching us all the time. Everyone knows that.”
“I could have lied to you about where I was going. But you would have known it was a lie – because you can read my mind. Another advantage of being an adult. That’s not why I didn’t. It’s because I am almost an adult. And in a few years you aren’t going to be able to control me.” TeDona always rambled on when she got mad.
“You aren’t twenty yet. So you have to do what we say. And we say you are staying for the weekly reading.” DeVon stepped up to her – and grabbed her arm.
“I already did my reading for today. You can check the Video Output from my Sleeping Room. Or you can contact the Leadership. I’m sure they know all about it.” TeDona pulled her arm away. “I am going to that Under Twenty place. And I’m going to have some fun.”
“No you’re not. When you turn twenty you will get a man. We have already picked one out for you. You will have a Love Mate. And within a year a family. Just like everyone else.” Catari stepped between TeDona and the door.
“I don’t want a chosen mate. I’m going to pick one out for myself.” TeDona shoved her way past her mother. And stormed out the entrance.
Jamus entered ‘The End’ on his Data Pad. “If this doesn’t get me a permanent position with the Galactic News Feed nothing will.”