Originally published in Analog, August, 1991. Copyright © 1991 by Jack C. Haldeman II.

This electronic version published by permission of the author. Commercial use prohibited.






ENEMY OF THE STATE

by

Jack C. Haldeman II



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Good Morning, Mr. Haldeman, this is FOOD-NET, your friendly computer-assisted shopping guide. We here at MOM & POP GROCERY INC. are pleased to announce many specials in the brands that our records show you typically purchase from our Main Street store.

Texas Light Beer, which you consume at an average rate of 3.7 cases a week, has been marked down 35 cents a case from our everyday low price. This represents a potential savings to you, our valued customer, of $67.34 a year.

We here at MOM & POP notice that you have started smoking again after a 2.3 year lapse. Thank you for making an informed choice. May we suggest you check out our toothpaste selection and perhaps consider shifting from Ultra Dazzle to Scrub-It-Away, a special toothpaste designed with smokers like yourself in mind. Sure, it costs a bit more, but wouldn't you feel more confident and self-assured knowing that those ugly nicotine stains won't embarrass you in public? While you're at it, we offer a wide selection of cough drops one aisle over.

According to our files, Mr. Haldeman, you were due to purchase fish food two weeks ago. We sincerely hope your beloved pets have not met with misfortune. If so, may we suggest a visit to THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PETS for a replacement? Mention FOOD-NET at your time of purchase for a 5% discount.



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A well-tuned car is a happy car, Mr. Haldeman. Our service records show that it's time for a tune-up and oil change. And at your average rate of 1,872.45 miles per month, those tires we sold you last September must be going bald by now. If you don't care for your own safety, please consider the lives of your loved ones and the fate of any innocent bystanders who might become involved in the fatal accident you will probably cause if you don't buy new tires from us soon. Don't forget our SLO-PAYMENT plan, an easy-on-the- wallet feature which enables almost anyone to get new wheels and zip along life's highways, assured that they're riding on the best, safest, tires around. Some restrictions may apply.



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Welcome to MED-CHECK Mr. Haldeman. We notice that your consumption of aspirin is up. This, coupled with your observed increased use of antacids has us here at MED-CHECK quite concerned. Perhaps you should see Dr. Foote at your earliest convenience. There are many wonderful tranquilizers on the market these days, and we would be only too happy to add her presciption to your standard account. We stand by our many happy customers and are proud to serve you.



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Your order through Interlibrary Loan has been processed, Mr. Haldeman. We are holding TERRORISM THROUGHOUT THE AGES on our reserve shelf for you. Unfortunately we have been delayed in locating a copy of THE ANARCHIST'S COOKBOOK. You will be notified when it arrives. Thank you for using DIAL- A-BOOK, one of the many user-friendly features of your County Library System.



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Please notice the enclosed increase in your automobile insurance, Mr. Haldeman. While you have always been carried as a Safe Driver on our books, it has come to our attention that you consume an inordinate amount of beer and fail to maintain your vehicle in tip-top condition. This, coupled with your unfortunate decision to resume smoking has left us no choice but to raise your rates. If you have any questions, please call our 800 number from any touch tone phone.



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Our records show that it is past time for your annual dental checkup and cleaning, Mr. Haldeman. We sent you notices on the 8th, 15th, and 21st of last month and you have not yet replied. Really, Mr. Haldeman, your teeth are the most important organ in your body, and you are doing yourself no good at all in ignoring our reminders. We simply cannot be responsible for your mouth if you do not follow recommended dental hygiene procedures.



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Dear [Client Name=] MR. HALDEMAN. Our databanks here at THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PETS show that it is time for your [pet type =] GOLDFISH, [pet name #1=] HYDE and [pet name #2=] ZEKE to receive their annual [treatment #1=] RABIES SHOTS and [treatment #2=] HOOF CLEANING. Please do not delay in setting up an appointment for these vitally important procedures. Mention our name when purchasing fish food at [Info Exchange Member=] MOM & POP GROCERY INC. for 25 cents off.

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Dear MR. HALDEMAN. Our databanks here at THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PETS show that it is time for your pet GOLDFISH, HYDE and ZEKE to receive their annual RABIES SHOTS and HOOF CLEANING. Please do not delay in setting up an appointment for these vitally important procedures. Mention our name when purchasing fish food at MOM & POP GROCERY INC. for 25 cents off.



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A number of flags in our master computer have brought you to our attention here at the Sheriff's Office, Mr. Haldeman. We would like to discuss a few things with you.

Our sources show that you have been receiving mail at a Post Office Box for several years now. Surely you do not live in a PO Box. Please supply us with your actual physical address. Studies have shown that individual (non- business) owners of PO Boxes often have ulterior motives in hiding behind a box number.

Repeated calls to your unlisted home phone have revealed that you utilize an answering machine. It is well known that individuals with such equipment are almost always concealing information, especially those with unlisted numbers.

Deposits to your checking account in May ($26.50) and December ($42.25) of last year were of a cash nature. Please substantiate where this money came from. Our local banks have been most cooperative in alerting us to possible money laundering activities. You also deposited two checks last year from ANALOG magazine. We are interested in your proof that this is a legitimate publication and not a front for a South American drug cartel.

You are on record as a substance abuser (beer, nicotine and caffeine). You subscribe to 17 different magazines, some of which (Playboy, Penthouse, Analog) are, to say the least, suspect reading material. You exhibit wanton disregard for public safety by operating your motor vehicle without the proper maintenance any good citizen would perform as a matter of course. As a science fiction writer, your abnormal interest -- as verified by library records -- in Satanism, ESP and home-brewed beer can be considered morally questionable to the point of possibly being criminal in intent.

In short, Mr. Haldeman, you fit every profile we've got, from parking ticket scofflaw to mass murderer. To answer these questions, please call our hotline number between the hours of 8am and 5pm using a standard touch tone phone. Otherwise, we will be forced to send an officer to PO BOX 12123 in order to interview you in person.



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Thank you for requesting the services of Interlibrary Loan, Mr. Haldeman. We are holding a copy of HIGH EXPLOSIVES FOR FUN AND PROFIT for you on our reserve shelf. Your copy of THE ANARCHIST'S COOKBOOK has also arrived. Thank you for using DIAL-A-BOOK. Have a nice day.




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