Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 05:01:34 AM EST
Frank awoke slowly in his biobed, protected against nuclear fallout and chemical attacks by my Shield-of-JesusTM heavenly protection mantle ($899.99 money back if not delighted). The soothing hum of the machinery brought him gently into the day, as it scanned his body for programming snafus, adjusted his blood chemistry, and showed him his astrological day, week and month predictions, projected colourfully and conveniently on the ceiling for his perusal.
Hmmm, nothing too dramatic, a Mars sextile his natal Saturn square Pluto to keep on radar for a day or two, but otherwise the coast was clear.
Meds kicking in, Frank stretched luxuriously, then leapt from under the mantle and sauntered to the kitchen, snapping off a chunk of energy bar extruded overnight from the dispenser, wondering what new combinations of recycled protein the government scientists had dreamed up since yesterday.
He'd opted for the curry flavour, but he got the vegan version instead, damn software... lugubriously munching the crunchy calcium coating, and swallowing the slippery goo within, he felt the strong surge of his socially programmed pavlovian impulses. Dodging a yen to join the army delivered in the honey tones of his kinderfabrik teacher, followed by a rapturous appeal to spend sundays amid crooning believers seemingly coming from the centre of his brain, he opted for cleaning up the parks in his lunch hour. Whew, close thing, one dial notch different and he would have been Afpak cannon fodder.
Frank was pretty apolitical, it just seemed wiser to leave thinking to technocrats, who were light years better at creating the massive screwups that were the pride and joy of national planning. He continued his simple routine, happily blank, shaving with his rechargeable laser, (when would they come out with the lawnmower version they'd promised for years?). and spritzing his newly dewy cheeks with Brutal Love, his fave gurrl magnet.
Stepping blithely to his cubicle, Frank logged in and started work, his concentration sharp and keen, positively dying to enter data for the bulk of the morning.The work was easy but not simple, like stop and go traffic but more exciting and enervating even. The meds handled this perfectly, effortlessly retailoring his drip to the endocrine spikes when he thought of the friendly females who liked to sneak behind the bushes in the park. That uniform slayed them every time, the sexy giggle they gave when they saw his concerned citizen crunch in his brow, and the medals for pharmaceutical trial volunteering he proudly wore on his lapel.
After a couple of hours of data crunching, his mind began to stray alarmingly. a new, disturbing side of his buried personality ached for exposure, as old genetic flotsam eddied in the nether reaches of his yet un-entirely medicated bloodstream. Rebel thoughts, visions of comic book caped heroes, snarling dragons and sci-fi flashbacks danced in his cranium. Was it all just a hologram? Was he a bot?
Existential angst had him gripping the arms of his chair as un-nameable new combos of molecules collided in his brainpan, a cold sweat tickled his elbows and temples, that energy-expensive rage/despair threatening to topple the vertical cardhouse of his carefully structured identity.
Logging off, he stared at the video wallscreen showing Colorado mountains with birdsong soundtrack for a while. What to do? He'd done his quota for the day, and that nagging unease wasn't going away like it should. He knew he would have to quieten down the symptoms or they'd be sending in the clowns again, and those electricity paddles burned the delicate dip around his sphenoid.
His fingers creeping to the keyboard, he logged on under a different ID, knowing his chances of getting away with it for ever were slim to none, but the rut he was in seemed to have no other exit, so down the rabbit hole he bolted.
After two hours of dopamine-soaked hilarity, he crashed manically into further gloom.
It was hopeless, blogging just whipped him into a frenzy of hope or despair, and meanwhile the corrupt, lazy old world looked just the same from the bunker window. For the hundredth time that day, hell that morning, Frank thought longingly of the euthanasia centre the hospice folks had set up just south of the hospital.
It looked so pretty, the flowers cheerful and childlike in their containers, the soft purring moodak, the impeccable staff with there sympathetic smiles. No wonder there was a queue half a mile long outside!
But the lottery lure of tickets to the sports arena, where the mass re-enactments of historical events, like the great sit-down strike of 2011, and the french revolution (with foam rubber guns) took place, won. He'd found precious female company there before, fleeting alas, but haunting enough to put the euthanasia idea to the back of his mind, where it belonged, and where most citizens had placed it for safekeeping.
This time he would win a front row seat, he was sure, and a gorgeous brunette with amber eyes would sit next to him.
This time she'd be REAL...