A/N: Please keep in mind that this story was written in 2017-2018, and will most likely be inaccurate by the time 2035 rolls around. I don't need people harping on me for being wrong when chances are I'm already aware of it. And for those who are willing to leave a comment, feel free to let me know how you'd be affected by this type of society. You don't need to disclose your eye and hair color if you don't want to, but it'd be interesting to know whether you'd benefit significantly, or get completely screwed over.
With all that being said, aprez vous!
Prologue: Make America Suck Again:
It all began one fateful night at St. Theodore University in Phoenix, Arizona. The class of 2025 was finally graduating into the real world, and I was among them, as were my three closest pals. At the moment, I was standing in front of a mirror about as tall as I was. I adjusted my black cap and gown a bit, sweeping a lock of my long, feathered, brunette hair out of my face. My coke-colored eyes had bags underneath. It was pretty late that night, and I hadn't consumed a single drop of caffeine since that morning's espresso.
"You look good, man," a black man with thick glasses and a flat-top chimed in behind me, slapping his hand on the back of my shoulder.
"If you say so," I replied.
Together, the two of us made our way into the gymnasium, where rows upon rows of fold-up chairs for the soon-to-be graduates were present. They were positioned in front of a short stage with a projection screen above it, and a podium off to the side. The bleachers would've accommodated the guests, but they were completely empty at this time. We joined a friend of ours in the fourth row. He was a white dude with his blonde hair styled into a mullet, even though those had been out of style since the 1980s.
"Oh, thank goodness you're here!" he said in a voice akin to Steve Buscemi's. "I was nearly bored to death... even though that's not scientifically possible."
"Glad we could help," the black guy replied as we sat down.
"For some reason, they decided to show us this uber important presentation before the actual ceremony starts," I chimed in with a groan. "Remind me again, how long do we have to wait for the fucking thing to start?"
The blonde guy pulled back his right sleeve, revealing three matching wristwatches. Looking closely, one of them had only an hour-hand, while another had only a minute-hand, and the last one only had a second-hand.
"Hmm, well you're in luck. It's not too long now," he replied, eliciting a sigh of relief from the rest of us.
"Ah, there you guys are," a feminine voice with a slight Hispanic drawl called out to us. "I thought we agreed to sit near the front."
After she was done speaking, a woman with wavy red hair, pale skin and freckles sat down to my left.
"Yeah, well shit happens," I replied neutrally.
"At any rate, does anyone here know what this stupid presentation is about?" she continued.
"It would be unwise to ask me," the blonde guy replied.
"Beats me," I replied.
"No clue," the black guy replied.
"Goddamn it," the redhead grumbled. "Why can't we just graduate like normal people?"
The rest of us just shrugged. Before we knew it, the lights in the gym were dimmed down, and the projector screen lit up. Mrs. Harris, the dean of our college, stepped on stage in a conservative black dress with a multicolored flower pattern, worn under a white cardigan - an outfit you'd expect such an old woman to wear. After taking her place behind the podium, she tapped on the built-in microphone to silence the crowd. It worked surprisingly quickly.
"Good evening, seniors. I know you're all antsy to graduate and get on with your own lives, but after a discussion with the board of education, it's been decided that all colleges must delay the festivities in order to inform their graduates of the major changes taking place in our country. For some of these new changes might have a major effect on what you all plan to do with your lives," she explained.
"Good, so it's not just us," the black guy mumbled into my ear.
Nowassuming that you all have been paying attention to the news recently, then you would be aware of a controversial set of bills that our new president proposed during the campaign trail. And unfortunately, both the Senate and House are extremely close to passing them. And if estimates are correct, you will all be of the generation that'll be affected the most," Mrs. Harris explained further. "Basically, these laws state that each person's position in society will be dictated by their appearance. Their eye color will determine their social class, and the industry they work in will be determined by their hair color... their natural hair color."
As she spoke, I followed her sharp gaze towards a blue-haired girl in the front row. After she looked back up, several gasps and shouts of protest could be heard amongst the seniors.
"Silence!" Mrs. Harris hushed, her harsh tone managing to quiet everyone down. "Anywho, we'll start with eye colors. Anyone with hazel eyes will be low-income, brown eyes will be middle-class commoners, blue and gray eyes are upper-middle class, and green eyes are wealthy."
"Yes!" the blonde guy whispered excitedly.
"And if you have a really rare eye color, like amber or black, then you'll be given a government position. And if you're heterochromic, or have multiple colors in one eye, then you'll be drafted into the military. The latter two will be the case regardless of hair color," Mrs. Harris finished.
Okay, this isn't so bad, I thought to myself.
"Next, we'll move on to hair color. If you're a brunette, you'll be working in finances, whether it be printing money, banking, or working in insurance or real estate. Any type of blonde, and you'll be in the scientific industry, which covers environmental and medical studies, and innovations in technology. Redheads are the entertainers. They're the people who report on the news, model clothing, write novels, produce films, star in shows, code video games, and play on professional sports teams. Those with black hair will work in the food and drink industry. Lighter shades of brown will be in the authorities, which include police officers, firemen, border patrol, lawyers and other court staff. And once either most of your hair turns gray, or you go bald, then you'll be mandated to enter retirement," Mrs. Harris continued, using a remote to work a Powerpoint presentation relevant to her speech. "So depending on your eye and hair color combination, you could very well end up as a lower-class lawyer, or a wealthy garbage man, or maybe somewhere in between."
She then gave us a few more moments to let everything soak in and talk amongst ourselves.
"And as you can imagine, this means that dying your hair will be against the law, unless you're just getting highlights," she said after a bit. "And for those who are worried, relax. It'll most likely take a couple of years for these laws to take full effect, but we're letting you know early nonetheless. So! Any questions?"
Nobody dared to speak, most likely too shocked by the sudden info-dump.
"... Alrighty then. Without further ado, we'll let the guests in, and you'll all have graduated before you know it," Mrs. Harris finished, exiting the stage and leaving us all alone.
The half hour timespan between the end of the speech and the start of the graduation ceremony was one huge blur. I remember we spoke amongst ourselves and disclosed our first impressions on the direction where our country was heading, but I can't remember for the life of me what exact words spilled from my mouth.
"Alright, folks! Without any further delays, allow us to introduce the class of 2025!" Mrs. Harris announced, before starting to read through all of our names.
I readied myself to stand up once it was time to approach the stage, my mind still clogged with thoughts about the new laws.
"Xavier P. Cedric!"
The guy with the blonde mullet walked across the stage in response to his name being called. He was a science major, and given what I'd just learned, I figured he'd have it pretty easy. We often called him X, not just for the sake of using a shorthand name, but also because it sounded similar to the word "eccentric" when put in front of his last name. And that word perfectly described his personality.
"Jay Phillip Lewis the Second!"
The bespectacled black guy took his turn relishing in the applause. We often called him "Second" for short, but not for the sake of a pun. Compared to my other pals, he was my best friend, and he was the only one I met prior to college. From what I'd learned about him, his late grandfather used to own a successful distillery in Grand Rapids.
"Jasper Timothy Collins!"
Now it was my turn to step onto the stage. I could barely crack a smile as I firmly shook the dean's hand and accepted my degree. I was simply too disengaged with the situation around me, but thankfully it wasn't just me. I could tell everyone else in the grade was on edge.
"Tequila Garcia Rodriguez!"
The redheaded woman wasted no time in crossing the stage. At first glance, you'd probably guess she was Irish with her pale skin, freckles, and crimson hair, but she was actually Chilean. She had a really nice body that somehow filled out her graduation robe, almost as if it was ordered a few sizes too small. I'll admit I often fantasized about her during our four years of college together, but I never harbored the necessary feelings to take our bond anywhere beyond a close friendship.
The next few hours passed, during which we all tried our best to celebrate the conclusion of our education and not dwell on the troublesome changes taking place in American society. After grabbing my third glass of alcoholic punch for that night, I rejoined my friends in a corner of the gym to chat.
"Alright guys, y'know what? The future may or may not be looking bleak for us, but no matter what happens, we've still got each other," Xavier announced, raising his glass.
"To us?" Second asked.
"To us!" the rest of us replied in unison, clinking all of our glasses together in the air.