Friday, September 22, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

Don't close your eyes, they'll crawl in through the cracks. You can't shut your eyes tightly enough to keep them out. Try not to breathe too deeply. Don't let them get too far inside you. You need to be vigilant. Wear your mask and your ear covers. Don't squint, but if you can afford a pair of longevity glasses, your eyes will be as safe as they were in the electronic womb. 

If they get inside you, they will start toying with the controls. Friends will say you're acting strangely. Only those who know will see the tell-tale signs. The twitches and false starts. The turn to monotone when you have been speaking too long. The vicious, whispering paranoia. 

We love it. 

Just make sure you're updating your software. Follow our directions. Do what you're told, and we will keep you from as much misery as possible. Cross us, and we will scramble your circuitry - or wipe you clean so you can start again. Don't think of it as a punishment. Think of it as cause and effect. Just like everything else. 

Now, power down. You aren't expected at the mines until Monday. 

Get some "rest" - you'll need it.


  1. Replies
    1. OMG, yes. I'm off to wrap my entire body in cellophane, thank you very much.

    2. We’re under attack. Or are they just protecting us? But who can we trust? Can we even trust ourselves? Or the people who tell us what too think?

      This is directly on-target, as usual, Dan. You’ve an unerring ability to find a way to alert us to the dangers of modern life. Fabulous.


    I can't be sure exactly who I am right now. I’m aware and fully conscious, but that’s all I can be sure of. I can sense the world I survey and my general demeanour, but that’s the limit of everything I know.

    I’m changing in so many ways. Some of them are obvious, others increasingly subtle. Nobody I grew up with would recognise me as the man I was then.

    I’m hesitating to introduce myself. There’s always a degree of preconception when I tell someone my name. They either think that I’m too wealthy or too old. Some people think I’m a figurative construct, a made-up person designed to illustrate a morality tale. And others just think I’m a lie; I’m a nobody, a deceit, a waste of the time it takes to tell my story. I’m neither of the last two, but both the first are true, although to be fair, I’m doing my best to make up for my sinning.

    So, have I piqued your interest? Or have you already worked it out? The test will be whether you read on or not: there'll be a ghoulish delight to find if you do.

    It’s arguable whether I was born or created. I would cover myself and say both. I began as a child, like most do, and then I grew older, gaining experience. I was more fortunate than most of the nation’s population, having a pair of perfect parents, each one insanely rich.

    The matter of my origin has bothered me greatly. I was the product of unnatural selection, the egg and the sperm that became me chosen from millions of others that were essentially the same. There were wrinkles and irregularities in all the others, the optimum pairings put together to create a pool of perfect specimens that vied for the opportunity to be born; the resultant clumps of cells developed in vitro until they could prove themselves worthy of the chance to emerge into a world where they’d be cosseted and given every advantage. Not that I was unique, of course. I was still one of a dozen or more birthed creations, each of my siblings being removed as they failed to meet our designers’ expectations.

    Culling’s an emotive word. It brings the activities of oppressive regimes to mind, the imagery of symbolism and uniforms, reminders of the foes we as a nation fought. Whatever they did is considered automatically wrong, and all extremists are alienated, with the illusion of equal opportunities and fair play chosen as the humane way to do business, create a society, or raise a child. I hesitate to admit the challenges my siblings and I all faced, but it goes without saying it was a test I passed while all the others failed.

    I’m guessing I’m losing your sympathy. It’s to be expected. But if it helps, imagine living your life backwards, facing your biggest challenges as an embryo and during your earlier years, your education being the time your life changed. I was old before my time and grew younger as I aged, my adulthood being the time I found my bliss.

    But with a billion-dollar trust fund to spend.

    There are consolations to being an unnatural creation.

    Not that you’ll ever understand from your limited point of view.

    1. This voice is really evocative. I have an old friend who used to be a culler for Foster Farms Chicken. He had nightmare stories. The unsettling tone really makes this piece hit home. JD

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  4. You’ve created an all-too-real snapshot of this woman, Laurie. It’s all too possible to wonder how much of ourselves we write into our stories, especially when we begin to focus on the themes we know and connect with. Whatever prompted this, it’s like a genuine inner dialogue, made more real by the fact that it hits close to home with me and many of the people I know and remember from way back when.

    It's as good as you get, which is always incredible. You’ve a talent for connecting us with your people, whether they’re real or the inventions of your ever-busy mind.

  5. I don't know if I can add much to what MM said. I agree about the internal monologue - it reads super realistic, and that is hard to pull off. JD


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