(本名)
(本名) 脳-蜘蛛-バス
       

セルフ・サクリファイス

SNSによる相互監視が隆盛を極めた遠い未来、ヒトにはスコアがつけられた。やがてそのスコアは階層を生み、善は尊ばれ、悪は切り捨てられた。
悪、すなわち犯罪者や思想犯に始まったそれは、すぐに適用範囲が広まっていき、最終的に社会にとって役に立たない不要な人間を容赦なく切り捨てるにいたった。
ヒトがヒトに点数をつけて優良な善人だけが救われる世界だった。そして、こんな事実を認めるのは辛いけれど、僕ははっきり言って役に立たない側の人間だった。
無為な17年を過ごして、来年の18を迎える頃には選別されて『更生』されてしまうだろう。
隣の席の河田くんはバンドでギターボーカルをやっていた男だったが、ある日連れていかれてしまった。バンドなんて社会の役に立たない、音が不愉快だ。概ねそんな理由で密告されてしまったのだ。
河田くんみたいに18歳の選別を迎える前に『更生』されるヒトもいる。はたまた政府と強い繋がりがある人は選別されないというウワサもあったけれど、そんなウワサを流すヒトはみんな『更生』されてしまった。
当たり前だ、僕だってそんな悪いやつは認めない。

***

気づくと18の春という選別の時を迎えていた。僕がもっている取り柄なんて、下校時に見つけた蜘蛛を踏み潰さなかったことくらいだ。芥川龍之介の蜘蛛の糸にならって蜘蛛を逃したことくらいしか、僕に救いはなかった。そんなことでは善のポイントは満足に貯められなくて、結果、僕は『更生』の対象になった。
病院の診察で医者から言われたのは『更生』は何も怖いことをするわけじゃない。脳をいじって、ヒトの役に立つ役割を与えられるだけなんだ。これは大変名誉なことなんだということだった。
医者の言葉に納得した。麻酔を打たれて目覚めると、僕はバスになっていた。正しくは、バスに僕の脳を移植されていた。
嫌ではなかった。むしろ『更生』の内容に感動すら覚えた。
僕はそれから朝の通勤や子供達の通学や主婦の買い出しなど、多くの人々の生活を支えた。僕は時間に遅れることはないからヒトに迷惑をかけることもない。本物の社会の歯車になれたのだ。これはとても喜ばしいことだった。
そして僕は気づく。バスも電車も飛行機もヒトの世の中を寸分違わず制御していたのは、僕たち『更生』されたヒトだったんだ。
子供が僕を指差して「ぶーぶ、ぶーぶ」と呼ぶこともよくあった。そういう時は誇らしげにクラクションを鳴らしたけれど、決まって母親は僕から子供を遠ざけた。そんな彼女もきっと、何らかの形で社会の役に立っているのだろう。
こういったひとつひとつが嬉しかった。ヒトだった時代が無意味に感じられた。
やっと僕も一人前として社会の一員になれたのだ。
ああ、僕は生まれて初めてヒトの役に立てているんだ。

なんて幸せなんだろう。

心の底からそう思った。
身体が動かなくなった後の事なんて、考えたくもなかった。

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