It was toward the end of the 21st Century that global warming had a huge impact on the restructuring of the social hierarchy within what remained of the affluent West.
With the increased sea levels and abrupt weather changes, the population was reduced through a series of natural disasters including tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes as well has fire and drought.
Some of the coastal cities on many continents were flooded by the rising sea levels and as much carbon emitting heavy machinery had been banned, the cities could not be protected or reclaimed. Subsequently, the Old Cities were abandoned and left to the sea while the remaining population retreated inland to create a new world.
Not only had the weather changed!
Suddenly, automobiles, aeroplanes and other devices with a large carbon footprint were outlawed, as were tall buildings that needed air-conditioning (now also illegal) and immense power to keep them running.
Power plants were shut down in an effort to reduce the changes that now plagued the battered earth and each country moved into an isolated existence with their own solutions to the mammoth problem including solar and wind energy.
Television and media conglomerates vanished along with large corporations and were replaced by the ubiquitous speedy internet.
With the collapse of the corporations, there was a wave of suicides within the Western world as new wealth was generated with new green technologies.
The new rich became enormously wealthy from providing new green services and products while the old rich vanished. The wealthy also became distant from the lives of ordinary people. The Workers, confined to overcrowded makeshift villages, struggled to find a meagre living.
The division between the have and the have nots widened and the gap between the wealthy class and the working class was now, by the beginning of the twentieth second century, a huge gulf.
The Workers performed the services that the rich required or worked in the green factories that produced the new forms of food, clothing and products that were sold to mainly the rich.
The wealthy, now named the Aristocrats rarely ventured from their guarded enclaves on the sides of mountains and watched the latest film or entertainment provided on the internet on their new wall sized screens.
As travel by aeroplane is a thing of the past, each community is isolated and the bored rich mix only with each other.
Politics is simple and the Aristocrats have more power than the Workers who can vote but it is largely a meaningless exercise as the Aristocratic Class can do what they like.
As many jobs and services that were once performed by CO2 emitting machines have now been handed back to human hands, a new class of slaves emerged.
Slaves were purchased by the Aristocrats to provide the comforts of life such as operating fans to keep their owners cool, to assist with their owners personal grooming and, in more and more cases, to provide debauched entertainment for the bored Aristocrats.
Workers who can not repay debt or support their families have the option of selling themselves as permanent slaves to the wealthy to perform the services that can only be provided by slaves.
Criminals and bankrupts no longer face monetary penalties or prison. Now, there is only one sentence – slavery!
Originally, the new slavery began as a system of indentured servants but as the economic gulf between the Aristocrats and the Workers widened, those servants became slaves. Slavery was so well accepted that there are an entire generation of slaves who were born into slavery! That ended with the introduction of slave sterilisation.
Now, slaves are required to serve the increasing decadent needs of the wealthy!
The Western Empire has crumbled and only small parochial and isolated communities remained. Workers strive to make a living and increasingly find their only option is to become a slave to a member of the Aristocrats.
As slaves supply more and more services, the bored Aristocrats require more debauched and degrading options from their slaves – very reminiscent of the last days of the Roman Empire.
It is a pity that humans seem to be incapable of learning from their own history.
‘I think you’re a perverted bastard!’
I flinched from my wife’s calm assessment and I tried to force a smile.
‘Perverted, darling? I hardly think so. All I’m saying is that we should be more experimental in our love making.’
Cassandra snorted and moved to the oaken cabinet that served as our home bar.
I watched silently as she poured a solitary glass of wine, from her father’s estate, of course, and it was indicative of her anger that she did not summon a slave to make her drink.
‘Don’t call me that!’
Cassandra sipped the brandy.
‘Don’t be so over the top, darling,’ I said mildly. ‘You’ve always been open minded.’
She said nothing and stared out the window.
‘Haven’t you?’ I pressed. ‘You’ve always been keen to claim you were open minded. I mean, our marriage is evidence of that!’
‘You’re not going on about the class structure again, are you?’
‘Darling, you are a member of the Aristocrats; your family has been amongst the upper levels of society for generations while I am from the poor.’
‘Oh, god, not hearts and flowers again!’ Cassandra sneered. ‘You know I don’t care about money!’
‘I don’t care that you were from the poor! We fell in love…’
‘I know but, darling, we’ve been married for almost a year…’
‘From what I hear, Joseph, you now want our sex life to be kinky, to be disgusting!’ Cassandra snapped.
‘It’s hardly disgusting,’ I soothed. ‘Look, even Aphrodisia says that kinky stuff adds spice…’
Aphrodisia was Cassandra’s best friend and they had been through everything together except that Aphrodisia had been divorced twice.
Luckily, both husbands had been from equally wealthy families so nobody faced slavery as a penalty.
At this stage, I was Cassandra’s first husband but I had a feeling she was seeing me in a different light. That made me nervous, as I knew that I would have to extract expensive alimony in the event of a divorce.
And there would be no alimony unless Cassandra was pregnant.
‘In fact,’ I said urgently, trying to appease Cassandra, ‘it was Aphrodisia that suggested that I raise the topic with you…’
‘Aphrodisia! You’ve been talking about our love life with my best friend?’
Cassandra looked at me incredulously and I blinked.
The slave who was fanning us with an ornate feathery fan glanced at me and then quickly looked at the floor.
I forced another smile, ignoring the slave as best I could. The Aristocrats had slaves around them since they were born and, accordingly, slaves were almost invisible to them. However, to me, they were still an intrusive novelty.
‘You two talk about everything…’ I continued.
‘Yes, but we are best friends and we are women! Women confide in each other to provide mental and emotional support in an oppressive male world!’
I sighed; she was on about male oppression again. This was not going well at all as the only male oppression was from wealthy males! Every other male bowed low to the Aristocrats!
Cassandra sat down and she sighed wearily and signalled a female slave for another drink.
The slave hurried over and offered a tall wineglass to Cassandra. The slave kept her head bowed and stared at the floor as she offered the glass.
All slaves had an implant under the skin of their baldheads that sent pain to various parts of their anatomy if their head is higher than the gold electronic collar the Aristocratic class wore.
‘Where is the romance, Joseph?’ Cassandra asked quietly, ‘where has the romance gone? That’s what I need. Some affection and romance, perhaps even some foreplay. Remember when we first met? You were working as a hairdresser…’
‘Yes, yes,’ I said, quickly brushing my previous poor employment aside as the slave fanning us glanced again at me.
Yes, I thought, I came from a class just one step above you!
I flushed, took a deep breath and tried again.
‘I want romance as well, darling but I also want some sexy…’
‘I’m not enough for you?’ Cassandra asked quietly.
‘You’re very beautiful,’ I said truthfully, ‘but I think we a little extra, some spice…’
‘Spice!’ Cassandra snorted scornfully. ‘You mean, you want me to spank you or something? That’s ludicrous! That’s the sort of thing that some people do with slaves!’
The slave with the fan looked up again and the female slave smirked fleetingly. I glared at them and they quickly looked away.
I attempted to remain calm.
‘That’s one element, darling but only one. It’s about spontaneity…’
Cassandra stood up again and began pacing.
‘You have far too much time on your hands.’
‘Darling, that’s not true…’
‘Isn’t it?’ Cassandra scowled. ‘I have things checked, darling. I have technical slaves who report to me.’
My heart sank at that and I tried to remain calm.
‘I’m told you spend most of your day on the internet looking at pictures of naked women.’
‘That’s not true!’
‘Isn’t it? I have seen the reports, Joseph and some of the web sites you go are disgusting! I can’t imagine why the man I love would want to look at things that some people have made their slaves do, no matter how perfect the holographic reality is!’
My wife was, I saw, dangerously close to tears and I tried to calm her.
‘Darling, let’s not fight.’
‘We’re not fighting but I’m tired of this, Joseph.’
Cassandra walked to the door and summoned her female slaves.
‘Run my bath and put rose petals in the water.’
They scurried away and Cassandra looked at me sadly.
‘I think we need a little break, darling.’
Horrified, I begged her not to take that step.
‘Darling,’ I pleaded, ‘this is a small disagreement…’
‘I will think about it.’
Cassandra turned and walked towards her private bathroom and I wondered if the slave with the fan smiled.