Three percent

    - You are not busy?
    - No, please.
    - Thank.

    A respectable middle-aged man sat down at Lionel Valetti's table:
    “Will you allow your spittoon?”
    - Yes of course.

    The man pushed her closer to himself, concentrated, then collected more saliva in his mouth and spat relishly. The spittle fell next to the spittoon. The man sat back on the couch with visible pleasure.

    “Impressive,” Lionel said rather calmly. - How long did you have to seek the right to spit on the spittoon?
    - Two years, three months. If you have a connection, you can get it two months earlier. I’m only talking about time to get the right to spit anywhere, not including everything you need to get it like sneezing and yawning. But these are mere trifles, some few weeks.

    Lionel said nothing, only smiled mysteriously and closed his eyes. After a few seconds, he otrygnul so that it was audible to all the cafes. The person sitting opposite froze in bewilderment. Lionel opened his eyes, as after a sweet dream, stretched and loudly started the winds. Someone in the hall looked at him with disapproval, but the youth simply glowed with admiration. There was simply no face on the neighbor on the table:
    - Are you ... are you the Founder?
    - No, I am an ordinary citizen. I just started to draw up rights for a very long time, even when many of the prohibitions were just recommendations. The hardest thing was to get the right to be awake outside the daylight hours.
    - I see ... You look very young, so I did not think that you could already do that.
    - Thank you for the compliment.
    “Can you talk about old times?” They say then it was allowed almost anything, anything?
    - No, not all, of course. But there were simply no many prohibitions, especially on limiting harmful physiological processes to the surrounding processes. It all started with a ban on smoking. The idea was sound, and I personally was completely in favor. But it was not worth it to bring to fanaticism. The ban on smoking was aimed at improving the nation. At first, everything was not bad: doctors reported about a decrease in the overall incidence of respiratory diseases by 3 percent. Apparently, someone at the top liked this figure, so they decided to constantly introduce new small laws aimed at “improving the standard of living”. The next step was to ban coughing in crowded places. This is de-hygienic and causes stress to others due to noise.

    Lionel broke off to bite off a piece of rare-degree steak rare and, chomping loudly, to continue:

    - So, after a while it was found that such bans began to cause nervous breakdowns in people, because of which the movement of the revolutionary masses sharply intensified. The government had to soften the laws a bit, and now every ban could be circumvented if you filed a corresponding application explaining that this ban interferes with your work activities. Everyone rushed to execute these applications in order to get rid of hateful prohibitions by hook or by crook. This put the government in an uncomfortable situation - they imposed a ban, but the majority of the population bypassed it. As a result, there was no effect, and the load on the bureaucratic apparatus increased.
    - And then introduced levels.
    - Absolutely. They found a compromise between a strict prohibition and freedom, giving the illusion that all prohibitions can be circumvented, but not immediately, but after a while. Each ban now had 5 levels, and each needed a separate permit. The higher the level, the more a person is allowed under this ban. For example, a ban on coughing. If a person did not have the appropriate permission, then he was generally forbidden to cough in public. The first level gave him the right to cough with a volume of no more than 20 decibels, that is, quietly in the palm. The second - 40 decibels, and so on, up to 100. And so that everyone again did not rush to fill out applications for mitigation of all five levels at once, they came up with artificially delaying the deadlines for issuing permits, and the greater the level and the less significant prohibition, the greater the delay. Now I had to think twice Is it enough for you what you have at the moment, and is it worth it to write a new application? Since people are lazy and get used to everything, the majority of the population basically stopped at the third level of permits. The final touch was the introduction of prohibition dependencies - a person could not get permission for a new ban if he was not given permission of a certain level for the old one.
    - Well, do you think this whole system gave the result that was expected of it?
    - I will say this - gave, but not for everyone. People began to live on a web of prohibitions, and only a very small circle of people was able to get so many permits to regain their usual way of life without prohibitions. Basically, these are oligarchs, high-ranking officials and other “elite”, according to my calculations, it is about 3 percent of the population. Well, I, of course.
    - Why in the ...
    - Oh, soon the dawn, I sat up for something. Good luck.
    - Good luck…

    Lionel noisily sucked the remnants of the Blood Mary cocktail through a tube, bowed slightly at parting, and slowly walked to the exit without being reflected in the mirrors.

    Also popular now: