Everybody’s Perfect Childhood, by Dave Clark
I was so delighted that they chose my childhood as one of the perfect ones. It’s really flattering, to know that I was brought up so well.
The perfect childhood policy all started with statistics. 99% of crime could be traced back to childhood trauma and deprivation. Those children who had experienced ‘perfect childhoods’ were shown to work harder, were more likely to found their own business, to be better parents, better neighbors, were more likely to have a tidy front garden and they even smelt nicer.
It was an astonishing finding. The government were forced to act, and announced their Perfect Childhood policy.
All children, at the age of ten, would have their childhoods assessed. Those who were found to have had a traumatic or deprived upbringing would have their memories erased and replaced by a copy of the memory of another child, one full of happy memories and positive emotional experiences.
This would mean that every young boy and girl would go through their difficult teenage years with the benefit of a perfect start in life, making them less likely to be troublesome and more likely to contribute great and positive things to society.
I was proud that they chose my childhood as one of the perfect ones to be copied and implanted in the minds of millions. It was idyllic in so many ways. At the time we lived in Surrey, a large house with ten acres of garden. I had my own horse, Theodore, who I used to ride around the estate. Whole summers passed on horseback.
I went to one of the better private schools, but not as a boarder, it was only an hour’s drive away and daddy sent his chauffeur to collect me. We also had one-to-one tutorials in Latin and Greek, daddy didn’t approve of the scant attention these subjects were given in school. As a present for translating Plato’ Republic daddy bought me an island in Scotland.
It seems strange, to think that we left all this to move to an 8 foot by 10 foot council flat in a squalid London estate, but I guess the money simply ran out, dad’s been unemployed for ten years.
Life is very different now, the local school doesn’t have the same opportunities as Denly school offered. I hardly use my Latin any more, let alone get a chance to ride horses. But at least I have those memories of that idyllic start in life, which I am so happy to share with those less fortunate than myself.
Dave Clark was born in Essex and lives in Cambridge, though his stories are mostly set in Brighton, Swansea and London, and occasionally outer space. He has written one (unpublished) novel and numerous short stories. His stories have also appeared in the charity anthologies 50 Stories for Pakistan and 100 Stories for Queensland.
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