The Chromium Fence

Second Variety and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
Buy it on Amazon
First published in Imagination Jul 1955

A civil war has broken out between the Naturalists, who believe it is a man’s right to smell bad, go bald and have halitosis, and the Purists, who insist every man should have his sweat glands removed, teeth whitened, hair restored, etc. Don Walsh doesn’t want to commit to either party, but with an upcoming election he’s forced to take sides or else deal with the consequences. 

It’s a goofy premise that just illustrates mankind’s destiny to create factions and fight to the death over the stupidest trivialities. 

Cast of characters

  • Don Walsh – our undecided protagonist
  • Betty Walsh – Don’s wife
  • Jimmy Walsh – Don’s son in the Purist Youth League
  • Carl – Don’s Naturalist brother-in-law
  • Charley – a robot psychoanalyst