About midnight, the party came to a crashing halt when one of the dive team seniors arrived with a case of beer. Izzy had a split-second to wince before dozens of iChaperones lit up in angry technicolor.
One of the prompts was a standard type of prompt that often appears in the Weekend Warrior contest, which was to use any three words out of a grab bag of miscellaneous words. I was mulling over the grab bag – chaperone, turret, magnificent, hopeless, ample, shuttle, eel, acrobat, bleach, conniving, soothe, schism, amadinda, solar, tithe, Chicago, sale, spangles, middling, stonework – and also tempted to combine it with another prompt that had captured my imagination but wasn’t immediately leading to a story: “What’s behind the cloud?”
As I tried to make some of those bits and pieces fit together into something that would lead to a story, I was reminded of a long-ago incident where I’d come home from college and was talking to my parents. They’d just given my younger brother his first cell phone and my mom joked that they’d gotten him an electronic leash and he’d thanked them for it. The ideas crashed together and suddenly I knew that my story was about drone technology evolving to enable literal helicopter parenting.
A story like that could have gone the dystopian route. But when I started to write Izzy’s story, instead of it being about the horrors of the surveillance state, a different kind of story emerged. It’s an utterly idealistic story, where technology is deployed not to punish and control but to truly protect.
We don’t live in that world. But I’d like to.