Author : Brian Armitage

“He’s up. Turn it on,” someone says. The doctor.

As I open my eyes, the whiteness hits. It’s like I’m having an idea, but it’s too much for my brain to hold. I squeeze my eyes shut and gasp, trying to…

…where am I? The doctor is looking at me, smiling. Confidently. Behind him, the other doctor, holding an implant control. “What’s going on?”

“Always the first thing they forget,” Dr. Meyers says, the one in the back. Like I’m not even in the room. How do I know his name?

Dr. Canton pats me on the knee. I can barely feel it. I’m strapped to the bed at the knees. “Watch the wallscreen, Mr. Daughtry. This video should explain everything. Screen one, play.” The white idea is alight again, and it’s burning… and I can’t remember where my house is. The video starts, and a face pops onto the screen. I jump, and the bed slides against the wall.

It’s me.

“Hey, Mike. It’s me. You. Well, yeah,” the recording says. Chuckles. “But man, soon we’re not gonna be anyone anymore. We’re getting the Parson Treatment.” The recording grins. “It’s all getting erased.”

Another pulse. What’s my last name? What’s my dad’s name? And the recording just grins at me. It starts talking again, and I just gawk. I grip my hair, eyes vibrating. “No, no, no… you dumb bastard. What did you do?”

The doctor in the back of the room laughs aloud. The doctor by the bed shushes him, but he’s trying not to laugh himself.

“…done, you’re not gonna remember anything! Nothing! Not Kiera leaving, not…”

“Kiera left me?” When? I start crying. The white idea roars. Why am I crying?

“…won’t hurt. They say they need you to be awake for the procedure, because of the brain chemistry. It’ll be weird, but… we’ll finally be done.”

What procedure? I can’t remember any… no. Not a Parson Implant. No.

“People say it’s suicide, but it’s not. They’re wrong.” The man in the video clenches his jaw, looks like he’s going to point a finger at the camera, but he doesn’t. Who is he? “We’re finally going to be useful for someone. They’ll use our body, but we won’t have to deal with it anymore.” He tries to smile. “Finally done.”

“85 percent,” says the doctor with the device in his hand.

“Good enough. Go ahead,” says the other.

The doctor’s finger taps the device. What is it-

A white idea rushes at me. It burns, but… it burns, but… A white idea. A white. I try speak. I try stop. Wall man say okay. Is okay? No! Not wanting!

Not wanting.


* * *

“And, done,” said Dr. Meyers. Flatline on all three scales. Nice and clean.

Dr. Canton patted what was Mike Daughtry on the knee again. The patient started, then squinted at his own knee. “Screen one, pause recording.” He waited for the confirmation chime, then burst into laughter. “Oh, man! We’re watching that one again tonight. Did you see that? He forgot his wife left him! Perfect timing.”

“Perfect timing,” Meyers repeated, shaking his head. “Classic. We should probably think of a better excuse to wake them up first, though. Someone’s not gonna buy it. But thank you, Mr. Daughtry, for totally buying it.”

The patient had turned toward Meyers. His jaw moved slightly, once.

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