The Click Family was at home. It was sometime in the future, and the family had a remote control unit for every appliance in the house. They called it the clicker. The clicker controlled the television set, the hi-fi and the video cassette recorder, and the person who held it was very powerful indeed. Then one night something happened. Click.

The Click Family was having its usual fight over who would control the television set. Alex Click, the son, held the clicker in his hands and would change the channel when he wanted. He would also mute commercials, which was annoying to other members of his family who thought that commercials were the best thing on television. Daddy Click complained and so did Mommy Click. Alex Click, as usual, just ignored them. Daddy Click rose from his chair and strode over to Alex in a menacing fashion. Alex aimed the clicker at his father. Click.

Daddy Click froze in place. "What have you done?" Mommy Click asked in alarm. Alex Click looked down at the clicker and just smiled. "You have muted your father," Mommy Click cried. "Hit the button and release him, or I'm going to send you right to bed." Alex Click aimed the clicker at her. Click. She was silent.

Alex Click was excited. He was just 10 years old and felt very powerful. He usually felt powerful when he controlled the clicker, but this was something special. He got up from the chair and went to the window. Outside a garbage truck was grinding away. Alex Click aimed the clicker at it. Click. It was silent. Alex went downstairs. He aimed the clicker at the toaster and, after a while, it popped. He opened the refrigerator door that way and started the blender. Then he pointed the clicker at a plant, and it drooped over. He knew that if he ever un-muted his parents, he would get hell for that.

Alex Click went out into the street. He started his father's car with the clicker. He had never driven before, but he had grown up watching the "Dukes of Hazard," so he climbed in through the window and drove off. He got to an intersection and had to stop for a red light. He aimed the clicker at it. Click. It went green. A cop looked on in amazement, but Alex just smiled and aimed the clicker at him. The cop ducked, and Alex roared away.

Alex Click went to the U.S. Senate. Jesse Helms was speaking in support of a negligence lawyer whom President Reagan had nominated to the court of appeals. From the gallery, Alex aimed his clicker. Helms froze in mid-sentence. Most of the Senate applauded, but Vice President George Bush, presiding, tried to say something. Alex pressed the "candor" button, and Bush denounced the Reagan economic program, admitted he was confused on abortion and then left to change his watchband while the Senate laughed.

Alex Click left the Senate. He passed a bank machine, aimed the clicker at it and got enough money to fly to Hollywood. He went to the singles bar of the future where everyone was about 80, but had had plastic surgery to make them look 35. The place was full of youthful people talking about Medicaid and constipation. Alex aimed his clicker, and in a flash everyone was silent. Even Alex was awed. Then he went to a movie studio where he found Sylvester Stallone filming a scene in which he jumps from a helicopter and kills people for reading books. Alex clicked him frozen, and Stallone started to cry. Alex laughed.

Alex had a good time in Hollywood. He shut up Charlton Heston. He found Sean Penn at a cocktail party, asked him a question and left him frozen for all eternity with his fist cocked. Alex went to New York and shut up Ed Koch. That took two clicks and a fresh battery. While in New York, he clicked quiet 17 people carrying ghetto-blasters and 14 motorists who were driving with their radios on top volume.

Alex Click returned to Washington. He went to a presidential press conference and clicked the president silent in the middle of a sentence. The president made gestures, shrugged his shoulders, and no one noticed that he was not saying anything. Later, Larry Speakes said what the president meant to say and everyone was happy.

Finally, Alex Click went home. He clicked the plant, and it stood up straight. He found his father still frozen in place and his mother still in mid-sentence. He clicked twice -- click, click. "Change the channel," Daddy Click ordered. "No, keep it where it is," Mommy Click added. Alex Click felt wonderful.

He was home.