Several years before, after their daughter asked questions about their family heritage for a high school project, Jon McGuire wanted to find out which part of Scotland his ancestors emigrated from. So he submitted a DNA test to a genealogical website company.
His ancestral home turned out to be County Cork, Ireland (not all McGuires were Scottish, it turned out) but that wasn’t the real problem, in the long run.
After Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer died, and President Donald J. Trump I appointed two conservative replacements, it was inevitable that abortion became illegal in the United States. Not long after that, in vitro fertilization, responsible for the destruction of thousands of embryos every year, was similarly banned, to the chagrin of much of the anti-abortion movement and the shock of pro-choice proponents, who had supported the laws in anticipation of them causing a backlash and being struck down.
This turned out not to be the case.
In an attempt to make a reductio ad absurdum argument (or “double down on stupid,” as one pundit put it) the Life Assurance Bureau Act of 2026 was introduced, passed, and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump II. Its basic tenet was since all human life was sacred, and if the uterus of any human being (male or female, with no sexism stated or implied) could be commandeered by the government to support a fetus, then the “excess organ capacity” of healthy humans could also be covered under the power of eminent domain.
The Supreme Court of the United States agreed (6–3) with this argument.
The problem finding compatible donors and recipients turned out to be no big deal, thanks to a large database of DNA on a variety of citizens. And the newly created Life Assurance Bureau swung into action to save the lives of regular, normal Americans, without regard to race, class, political affiliation, or economic status. More or less.
The alarm system had alerted them to an unusual vehicle arriving.
“Honey, there’s a government car out front. I think it’s HHS.”
He joined his wife at the front window. The black SUV was parked at the curb, almost blocking the mailbox. Good thing the mail already got here, he thought. No need to get our postal person in a spin because the junk mail receptacle isn’t available.
He tapped the phone in his pocket and it unfolded into his hand. He checked a couple apps. “Mobile connection is shut down, cable connection is shut down, LEOSAT connection is shut down. They think they have us isolated. Yep, it’s either the drug cartels or the LABrador Retrievers.”
His wife looked at him with concern. “Please don’t call them that to their faces, honey. It won’t make anything easier.”
Her husband gave her a look of mock surprise. “Don’t they already know they’re in a drug cartel?” At his wife’s irked face, he added, “Yes, dear.”
He checked his phone again. “We are, however, getting through just fine via the CBC VPN. Thank you, Apple, and I hope you’re enjoying the maple syrup in Toronto or wherever you are these days.”
“They’re getting out, Jon. Two agents, both in dark suits. I see they stopped doing the sunglasses after that MIB parody on SNL.”
“Okay, it’s show time, folks. Hey Siri, begin audio and video recording, authorization phrase ‘I can’t believe I need to have another stupid authorization phrase’, local and remote storage.” He opened the front door as the visitors approached.
“Mr. McGuire?” said the lead agent, looking somewhere in her mid-40s and sporting a short hairdo. She showed him a badge. “My name is Special Agent Jameson, this is my colleague Special Agent Ho, and we would like to speak with you about a summons you are ignoring. Be aware that all of us are being recorded for possible review in the event of appeal. May we come in?”
“Special Agents, this is my wife Anne, be aware that we are being recorded in the event that you do anything interesting that might go viral, and no you may not come in. Also, you are not going to get my liver.”
Jameson looked initially irked at being refused, then caught off guard at the mention of “liver.” She looked at Ho, who pulled out his phone and started asking it questions. “Ah, you are mistaken, Mr. McGuire, we are here on the matter of your kidney.”
It was Jon’s turn to be confused. He glanced at Anne, who shook her head. He looked from Jameson to Ho as he asked, “What about my kidney? Nobody told me about a LAB claim on my kidney.”
Ho was showing his phone to Jameson as Jameson swore, “Goddam fuckin’ Fuquay, somebody should send that idiot on a raid to Idaho so someone can put him out of our misery! Shit. Never mind. Okay, McGuire, we’re serving you with a writ to seize one of your kidneys, actual kidney to be determined by the senior medical officer assigned to your case, to be used under the Life Assurance Bureau Act of 2026 to save the life of someone deemed under the Act to be an appropriate and viable recipient of said kidney. If you refuse to accompany us, you will be deemed to have malicious intent against the designated recipient and we have the authority to use force against you to protect the life of the recipient.”
“The Life Assurance Bureau has not properly informed the impacted party of the intent to retrieve the kidney in question and thus, any attempts to secure my client and said kidney are illegal under Cortes v. Trump,” announced a voice that originated from the security camera over the front door. The two agents looked startled; Ho consulted his phone again.
Jon sighed and closed his eyes momentarily. “Dee,” he addressed the camera, “I was hoping that the special agents might provide more information before they found I had lawyered up.”
“Oh!” said the camera. “Sorry, Jon! My bad!”
“No, I talked about it with Mara, I didn’t say anything to you, it was my fault. Anyway! Special Agents Jameson and Ho! My lawyer informs me you have no legal grounds to take me into custody to cut out my kidney. So why don’t you two head on along and bother someone else?”
They relaxed on the back porch after dinner. Anne was still worried. Jon tried to reassure her.
“This is all because of Alicia, honey. If she and Ben hadn’t skipped off to Canada to have a baby, we wouldn’t have ended up on a government list and none of this would have happened. But this is fine. When the LAB gets it sorted out as to which body part of mine they claim they want, we’ll have our day in court to show that this is a politically motivated attempt to punish our daughter. I don’t care what people say about elections these days, this is still America. Right, Dee?” He looked at their smart speaker. It stayed silent. “Dee? Hey Siri, connect to our lawyer’s office.”
There was no answer. Anne tried, with a same lack of results. “Is something wrong, Jon?”
“No, no… well, yes, I need to bounce the router again. I’ll be down to the basement and right back, honey, no worries. If there was really a problem the alarms would have gone off.” He set down his wine glass and went into the house.
The first sign Jon had that something was amiss was the intense unpleasant sensation from a taser.