There are little machines everywhere. Scuttling machines. They clamber up and over every surface, tiny metal legs, pinprick-quiet. It’s a low-level hum of millions of legs that no one can ever quite escape. They even trample over people if it’s the quickest way to their destination and everyone just got used to it.
All the little jobs; the washing and cleaning, the car maintenance and gardening, are completed by tiny machines in sequence. They scuttle and skid around at eye-blink speeds so that the big jobs - the tasks of running the world, serving and entertaining the world - can be doled out among those that are left.
Legend says there were once 7 billion people on earth. Legend doesn’t explain what all those people could possibly be doing. Schoolchildren wonder how all those billions could have all had the few assigned jobs. School does not teach them much of the old world. The freedom to choose is skimmed over in favour of teaching the rampant poverty and suffering of millions. They are taught without words that freedom means to suffer. They have no choices, they learn what they are told and they are sorted into their various roles at the appropriate age.
There is very little suffering left in the world but that does not meant that everyone is happy.
Tales written from a prompt in just 10 minutes.
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