Author : Desmond Hussey

Black rain streaks the windows of Mr. Nielson’s 35th story apartment. Beyond the aqueous smear, a tiny room is illuminated by the hypnotic flicker of an enormous, wafer thin television screen. Outlined by the electric glow, a mass of limp flesh, suggestive of a human being, lounges in his plush, state-of-the-art recliner. Great folds of unrestrained fat ooze over the contours of the chair like a flesh volcano. Just below the lowest roll of skin, two plump varicose stalks disappear into a pair of dull gray slippers. Tubes run from the back of the chair and submerge into thick, calloused veins on the arm; a fat ham of an appendage, too heavy to move more than a few inches. A lit keypad rests just under the sausage-like fingers. It’s a grim spectacle of obesity and cybernetic horror.

Atop the gluttonous mass rests an odd protuberance, conceivably the head. All the usual features one might expect to find on a face are present. Lips, like two animated and bloated rubber bands, twitch occasionally in gross mockery of expression. A plump, lumpy nose droops a little off center. It’s effectively redundant as an olfactory device, for only one immortal stench permeates every molecule of the long neglected room. A thin, green tube plunges into the left nostril, while two more snake into funnel like ears. Technicolor fantasies of the hippest pop culture are mirrored in his vacuous eyes.

“And now a word from our sponsors,” the television intones. The volume automatically increases a couple decibels to shock the slumbering mind into wakefulness as images of miniature animals cavort about in absurdly constructed habitats.

“What does your child want this Holiday Season?” The honey dripping voice of the announcer is a diabetic’s nightmare.

A chorus of children cheer, “MiniPet!” in response. Scenes of giggling, joyous youth playing with living, breathing, six inch tall tigers, elephants, sperm whales, anacondas and giraffes flash across the screen.

“That’s right parents, get your children their very own zoo full of MiniPets that your children will love and enjoy for years. These fantastic creatures are exactly like their life sized counterparts, but without the life sized hassle. Each MiniPet comes with its own mini-habitat specially designed for their comfort and well being. Every child loves a MiniPet.”

The screen holds on the image of a three year old girl cuddling a snapping crocodile while the sappy jingle plays out.

The cut to the next commercial is slightly nauseating in contrast. A seizure inducing, strobe-like stream of faces flickers to mind numbing electro-beats. The announcer’s amphetamine juiced voice begins its tirade. “Tired of that sad, old face you were born with? Want sexy eyes, a glamorous smile and smooth skin without expensive, messy surgery. Get I-Face, now! Not only can you change your skin daily with this easy to apply silicon epidermis, but keep up on your friend’s updates and tweets through I-Face audio and optic implants! That’s right. Don’t’ be left behind. Have the face you have always wanted. But that’s not all! Want leopard spots? Green skin? Glowing eyes? Select from thousands of unique I-Face aps. Tired of the noise and distraction of the streets? Load the I-Face with your favorite music and movies. Don’t wait. Get your I-Face now. The new face of tomorrow.”

The camera pans out revealing a photo mosaic composed of a million I-face users. The face revealed is barely human.

Nielson’s glassy eyes stare, unblinking at the screen. Theoretically, information is being conveyed, yet there is no indication it has found fertile soil in the moldy mind of this viewer.


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