by Pierce Nahigyan
Henrik’s adult bookstore was not open long before it was shut down by the invested authorities. The authorities, in this case, were Henrik’s parents. They were invested in shuttering the store, municipally because the alley between their house and the pharmacy was not a licensed lot, personally because the neighbors frowned on a six-year-old peddling smut. Henrik, being a natural salesman, and resourceful besides, was soon back in business, operating his triple X boutique out of the janitorial closet adjacent to his kindergarten class. This operation lasted for a semester before Henrik ran late on renewing his hallpass and was exposed by the irate monitor union. The hall monitors were the most draconian of elementary unioneers and Henrik accepted his expulsion as a rightful punishment for neglecting his bribe.
Faced with the choice of shuttling Henrik to the nearest county to finish his education or cutting the proverbial bait and starting fresh with a new son, Henrik’s parents did what they thought best. They were still young, and Henrik had clearly found his calling in life, no matter how nefariously prurient it may have been. By the time Henrik had been given up by the hall monitors he’d already invested half of his profits into emerging futures and long-term bonds that would mature when Henrik was old enough to drive; he was not hurting for money. With a tear and a polite embrace Henrik’s mother left him at the train platform, the boy’s ticket to Atlantic City gripped in his pudgy little hand and his Lion King sneakers velcroed tight.
Despite this generous act Henrik’s parents were among the first group of prisoners rounded up by his secret police when Henrik won the landslide victory for president on the Ultra-Authoritarian ticket forty years later. It was a strange form of gratitude, but the world is a strange place, often perverted.