“Red Card” — S. L. Gilbow

S. L. Gilbow is a relatively new writer, with five stories published to date, four in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and one in my anthology Federations. Gilbow served twenty-six years in the Air Force, and has been on dozens of deployments, and has flown more than 2000 hours as a B-52 navigator. He currently makes his living by teaching English at a public high school in Norfolk, Virginia.

Everyone knows that James Bond has a “license to kill.”  As an international spy, he must sometimes fight for his life. But he’s a trained government employee, specially selected for Her Majesty’s Service.  But could you trust just anyone with a license to kill? 

What about your neighbor? 

Or your boss? 

In fact, what if the government gave everybody one free pass to shoot one person, any person, for whatever reason? 

That’s the premise of our next story.  S. L. Gilbow says that the idea for “Red Card” actually came from a conversation he had with his daughter, Mandy.  “One day after a driver cut me off in heavy traffic, I… turned to my daughter and said, ‘Everyone should be allowed to shoot one person without going to prison.’ My daughter thought for a second then turned to me and said, ‘Dad, if that were true you would have been dead a long time ago.’”

Mr. Gilbow might have lived to write this story. But in the world he’s imagined, not everyone is so lucky.