Author : David Henson
“So, the Missus qualifies for a full body refresh, but you don’t,” Georgie says solemnly, looking first at Beverly then Michael. “Too much HoverGolf, not enough volunteer work?”
“Something like that,” Michael says. “I should’ve changed my ways when they first started talking about the parts shortage. And with this body about to expire, I’m –”
“Not to worry. We’re here to help,” Georgie says. “In fact, you’re in luck. Let me tell you about our limited time special…”
“I’ll give you a few minutes alone to think about it,” Georgie says after finishing. “But we’ve only a few places left. In fact, I’ve got some other folks in the next room. No pressure.” Georgie gets up, tucks his gold chain back inside his collar, and leaves.
“What do you think?” Michael says. In the corner of the small room, life-size holograms of men and women laugh and dance on a beach, soft marimba music playing in the background.
“I still don’t see how their prices could be so low,” Beverly says.
“That bothers me, too. But you know we can’t afford any of the others.”
“I know. I know.” Beverly reaches across the table and squeezes her husband’s hand. “This is all happening so fast. I still say if you’re going to be streamed to simulation, I’m going with you.”
“We’ve been over this.” Michael says. “You have to stay here and start your refreshed life. Beverly pulls her hand away, but Michael takes it back. “Beverly, you’ve earned it. I’m sure my consciousness will be OK in, what do they call it?” Michael picks up a brochure from the table. *QuantumLand, Simulation of the Stars.* I don’t get it. Are they saying they have famous people there or stars like in space?”
Beverly shakes her head. “And how would I know you’re OK? Their package doesn’t even provide for communication with loved ones back here in physical reality.”
“Honey, with me in there, you out here, it’d be pointless to keep …” Michael’s voice trails off.
“I just wish we could afford a more reputable simulator,” Beverly says, looking at the frolicking holograms.
Michael floats his chair next to Beverly, and they sit together quietly. After a few minutes, Georgie comes back into the room. He dances briefly with a holo woman in the corner then makes his way to Michael and Beverly. He sits and folds his hands, his large pinky ring clacking against the table. “Well folks, what’s it going to be? Turns out I’ve two places left. For now.”
“Are you sure your simulation is up to standard with the others?” Beverly says. “Michael’s not going to get in there and be a dog or something is he?”
Georgie laughs. “Wouldn’t be so bad would it? A dog’s life? Just kidding. I guarantee our tech is right up there with that of the big boys.”
“But how can you charge so much less?” Beverly says.
“I told you,” Georgie says. “Volume. Basic econ.”
“We’ve made our decision, Georgie,” Michael says. “I’ll be in first thing tomorrow. Just me,” He puts his finger to Beverly’s lips.
“Fine,” Georgie says. “Half now. The rest in the morning.” Georgie presses a button on the side of the table, and a numeric light pad appears in the air.
As Michael enters his payment, Georgie turns toward Beverly. “A dog? You think we’d do something like that?” he says, then mouths “Call me” with a wink and makes a phone with his hand.