Author : D.J. Keim

The receptionist smiled. “It’s the third corridor on your left, opposite marriage counselling. Dr Sarkoski is expecting you in his office. That’s room 24.” Simon dutifully thanked the receptionist and followed her instructions. He knocked on the clouded glass door that awaited him.

The door opened revealing the welcoming smile of Dr. Sarkoski, “Ah Simon, we’ve been expecting you” he said, exchanging a handshake. Dr. Sarkoski six foot four, wore thick horn rimmed glasses and his efforts to conceal a receding hairline were glaringly obvious.

“And this, as I’m in no doubt you’ll remember, is Julia,” She smiled and moved her fingers in an effeminate wave. Simon smiled at her affection and took the seat next to her. He had met her once before, and she had been on his mind constantly. She was pretty: bright green eyes, a cute face and beautiful red hair. She was also nice, not that her personality mattered much.

“Now, as we are all here, I’ll just spend a few minutes detailing the procedure and effects, to ensure you both understand what the effect on you will be. The procedure is painless and, in over 1 in 500 cases, no adverse effects are experienced. However, as a precaution and to prevent discomfort we will place you under a general anaesthetic. After you have been sedated, our program will replace some of your expendable memories and insert a synthetic memory in its place. The standard package includes your first meeting, your first date and a basic level of personality attunement.”

“Umm, what is the personality attunement?” Julia interjected.

“Right.” Dr. Sarkoski hesitated briefly, wondering how to explain this to Julia, “If you imagine your relationship as two gears turning each other, the personality attunement smoothes the teeth to ensure you two mesh together better.”

“Oh, ok”

“As I was saying,” Dr Sarkoski announced, with a hint of annoyance that his standard monologue was interrupted, “We offer enhancements to the standard, that, by my calculations, would increase the probability of lifelong-partnership to up to 97%. These include measures to assure fidelity, to enhance both of your aesthetic opinions of each other and to remove potentially relationship-harming memories or attitudes. Like, removing some of your emotional ‘baggage,’ so to say.” He added, having noticed Julia’s bemusement. “This is done by adjusting some of your longer term memories, those that alter your interpersonal-perceptions.”

As Dr. Sarkoski returned to the rhythm of his sales piece, Simon lifted his hand and placed it on Julia’s, which was resting on the arm of her chair. Clasping it, Julia turned to face Simon and looked at him with eyes that would soon love him.

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