Posts from the ‘Futuristic’ Category

Come Away

Come Away

The year is 2053, and all past has been forgotten.

It was tempting. When Rosalyn first saw the ad for the electro shock treatment, it couldn’t have come at a better time. She had gone to the grocery store, like any other day. She planned on surprising Aaron by making him homemade spaghetti. Her boyfriend loved his Italian. It was when she came out of the store that she saw him. He was leaning against a lamp post, and another girl was leaning against him.

“So? What about her?” Aaron was saying.

“You said you’d break up with her already.” The girl said.

“I know, I just – I have to find the right time.”

Rosalyn watched in disbelief. The other girl sighed. “It’s like pulling of a Band-Aid. Just do it quick and get it over with. What’s the problem, anyways? Do you really love her?” She teased.

Aaron’s eyes were glued to the mystery girl. “You know it’s only and always you that I’ve loved.”

Rosalyn dropped the grocery bag, the jar of tomato paste shattering on the sidewalk. Aaron turned and saw her, but Rosalyn’s fight or flight instinct kicked in and she ran. After six blocks of running, her flip-flop ripped, tripping her and sending her into a face plant on the sidewalk. Lying in the empty street, she replayed Aaron’s words. He’d never loved her. Two years together, somehow it’d been a lie. She picked herself up off the sidewalk. Her knee was bleeding, but it was not the cause of her tears. That’s when she saw it. A fluorescent yellow sign on the side of a medical clinic. “Electro shock treatment. All negative memories erased. Government funded, completely free, come in and receive your fresh start today.”

The sign was calling her, saying, Come away. Come away from the darkness, into a forgetful bliss. She stared at it a long moment, contemplating. Then a car zoomed down the block. She picked herself off the street before she either was run over or simply labeled a lunatic for laying on the pavement. She told herself to forget about the silly sign and went home.

That was months ago and Rosalyn saw things for what they really were.

First, she realized something about herself. Now that Aaron was gone, she could make her own life for herself. He was on his way inventing a software that would rock the technology world. It was bigger than the rise of Microsoft and the Apple put together, or so he’d said. He liked her because she supported him. Once his product came out, he’d be in the limelight, and so would she – but only as the pretty girl hanging on his arm. When they were together she had believed they truly loved each other. Love is blind and she hadn’t realized how large his shadow had grown. Now was her chance to step out from under it.

She also caught on to the government agenda. The government was trying to protect itself with this new procedure. If the citizens forgot all that pained them, they would no doubt act happier. Happy people worry less and spend more money, fueling the economy and directly filling the pockets of the bureaucrats. Happy citizens also didn’t start riots against the government, for these happy people now could not remember they had anything to protest. No one would remember how the government had changed, how their leaders were now paranoid brain-washers. But Rosalyn knew.

That was why she begged Sage not to go through the shock procedure. Sage was her sister, younger by two years, but still old enough to understand the weight her decision held.

“Why shouldn’t I?” Sage cried. “Everyone says I’ll forget. That’s what I want.”

“It’s high school. Everyone forgets about it after graduation, anyways,” Rosalyn countered.

“But when Emily betrayed me, when Levi broke up with me at prom – I knew I needed a fresh start. And I need it now.”

“It’s not a game, Sage, the procedure is dangerous.”

“If it’s so dangerous how come the government is requiring it now?”

“They want you to be happy, and be happy with how the government is run.”

Sage sniffed. “It hasn’t been that bad.”

The sky-high taxes? The law forbidding anyone to leave the country? “Unbelievable. It’s already working,” Rosalyn muttered. She knew how this went – once a person’s mind was set like concrete, there’s no changing it. She’d had similar debates with every one of her friends, and she’d lost every debate. Some of her friends didn’t remember her anymore. Now her voice was gentle. “I hope you remember how much I care about you.”

Sage blinked and nodded. “But what will you do?”

A plan was unfolding in Rosalyn’s mind. “I took acting classes in high school.”

“What does that even mean?”

“That means I’m going to fix this.”

When the time came for her to have her treatment, Rosalyn would swear she had nothing to forget. All those acting classes in high school would come in handy. She would act as though she already had forgotten – forgotten her break-up, forgotten the about the federal corruption. If they government thought she was just another brain-washing subject, she’d already be under the radar. It was the perfect disguise for being the rat to reveal the system.

She chuckled to herself, despite the dark situation. A year ago, she was a sweet girl who thought the best of everyone. She was content to sit back and watch others bask in their own glory. She never would’ve thought she’d be this girl – the girl who faked shock treatment in order to bring social justice. That was why could never forget Aaron. Without her past, she would regress to the girl she used to be. Without the memories, she would lose the lessons that came with it.

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Skype Funeral

I am sitting down on my lawn chair by the water, watching a Skype funeral.

It’s nice to be able to look away if the funeral gets too sad, although this one isn’t too bad. It’s my third this week but I don’t really know the person. I’m simply watching it because my friend said that they paid for the upgrade for the funeral Design Piks and they apparently have an eccentric taste.

WELCOME scrolls across the black screen in glitzy gold letters. I feel rather odd being welcomed to a funeral but it is the fashion to start with a welcome for all of the Skype funerals ever since the first one four years ago.

The screen pans over many pictures of the man, Harold Hansen. They must have taken video of a bunch of his printed photos and then set it to fast forward. I am not really impressed with the expensive payment so far.

From the pictures, I notice that he was an ugly baby but made up for it in his teen and early twenty years and even as an old man he looked pretty spry.

The next part, the screen flashes brightly and they are showing this picture of the man right before he died. I wasn’t expecting the flash, like a little bit of heaven. I wonder absentmindedly if he went to heaven or not.

“Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls,” a background voice announces, almost like we are at some sort of carnival or theatre. “We are glad to have you, yes every one of you, join us for this special event. According to our statistics, over 3 million viewers are currently watching the funeral of Harold Hansen.”

They are panning the camera over the casket and I look away. A soothing female voice interrupts my lake viewing with, “Hansen was a man..” they flash pictures of manly men, “A man to be remembered.” They flash pictures of statues and oil paintings and such things as that.

So far the graphics have been phenomenal, but people can get that type of thing on their old, out of date iPhone Argent 7’s now so I don’t’ really see where the upgrade money really helped. They transitions between pictures and audio has been nice too, I guess.

And then they get to the documentary part. It tells of Harold’s life and shows different video segments that he took and that his is it. It is really quite vintage looking and as I follow him through high school years or leather jackets and college years of unopened textbooks, I feel like I know him.

I look to the white caps on the lake again while they discuss his first wedding. His wife was quite beautiful, I notice when I look back at the screen. There is a black and white picture of them kissing and I wonder if he looked at it a lot.

The later part of his life was rather dull when he did some important political things. I stop paying attention as the video goes on twenty minutes. I don’t know how long it is projected to take. I let my mind go back to the first Skype Funeral I ever attended.

It was for Lady Gaga. We were told, via the press, that she was only having a Skype funeral as per her will. It was the huge rave and, of course her family paid for all of the Skpe users to watch it at the same time. You see the main part of the funeral on the top as a partial live stream and partial pre-recorded segment from some studio that makes stuff like this and then on the bottom inch of the screen, all of the faces of other users watching the funeral with you.

There were over 20 million ‘attendees’ of her funeral.

Gaga’s funeral truly was monumental and paved the way for the future. They played parts of each of her songs and different quotes from interviews and it was weird, of course, all put together in a strange Skype video.

And so it became the fashion right then and there. They didn’t tell us until later that she had actually had a real funeral to go along with the Skype one and that we hadn’t attended her “one and only” funeral. But by then the idea of a Skype funeral had taken over.

And here I am now. They are finally done with Harold’s life story. “There will be a statue of Harold in New York and we hope you will al come visit it as a tribute.” They are playing Amazing Grace as the leaving song but right in the middle, the words “Special Announcement” pop up on the screen. I watch them scroll.

“Do you really want this to be our world? Do you really want to be watching Skype funerals with your ass stuck to your chair? All electronic and no real emotion? What about welcoming your children into a world that you are proud of instead of into more and more Skype funerals? –Harold Hansen”

Amazing Grace continues to play and I log out. I would give this Skype Funeral a disappointing B. Skype funerals are to remember the person and feel for them, not about tut-tutting the world for something that has allowed more people to mourn for those they loved. Oh well, one dud for the week isn’t so bad.

I have three hours until my next Skype funeral and I hope it won’t be as crappy as this one was.

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