Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

I worry my family. They say I think too much. They say I rebel too much, ask too many questions, tamper with the mental blocks we have installed. They say the police will come to take me away, punish me, wipe my brain, and send me away. I know they’re wrong. I’m too smart. The door bursts open. They rush in, wrestle me to the ground and –

Something about a short in the wires. That’s why I can’t think. That’s why I can’t ask questions. The thing, though, is that everyone in the prison seems to have the same short circuit. I wonder if I could circumvent security to –

Milk with cereal today. I enjoy milk. Especially with the memory lapses. The cereal is sharp and hurts the roof of my mouth. The blue jumpsuit will fit me and keep me warm on the way to the dome. Another labour slave opened his faceplate on the open shuttle yesterday. He said that he wanted to smell the flowers. His body leapt out of his blue suit through the faceplate very quickly. The sounds of his bones crackling and tissue ossifying sounded like paper being crumpled over all of our headphones. Like he was an origami person being destroyed by a giant pair of hands. Why would he do something like that? Maybe I can help. If I could get past the firewall –

Ladder. Digging. I’m a miner. I have kernels of me hidden like diamonds in the grey folds of my own mind. I pick for them as I work. I like the feel of finding these aspects of my personality. From somewhere, I get the notion that I love beets. I don’t know what beets are but I can memory-taste them from a long time ago. I savour it. It won’t be long before the program sees what I’m doing and takes it away. Did beets grow on trees or in the –

I’m plugged into the feed and that’s okay. I drool and that’s okay. There’s a word in the ENT show that I’m watching that seems unfamiliar to me. Wife. Wife. It makes my left eyelid twitch. I’m not sure why. I can feel electrical activity in my head. I can feel the company sniffing deep in my mind to find the source. I can feel myself searching as well. It’s a race. Janine. Her name was Janine. We were married. I can see red hair. She’s laughing. We’re outside with no suits and we’re driving a – no word – searching – car? She touches my shoulder and I make a sound with my mouth that’s like an explosive, repetitive, vocal breathing out. What is that? Why would –

I no longer have to work. My record says I have a history of problems. I am a rebel, it says. A mental incorrigant. I get to go to the room that I don’t ever have to leave. I am to be plugged into the mainframe in the tanks. I am no longer a pair of hands for the machine. Now I am a source of electrical power and heat. I am also research.

The cool thing is that without attachments and company dogs keeping me in line anymore, I can explore what little is left of me in the gray folds. I’ll never open my eyes again. I am unaware of having a body. I find sixty-two parts of myself that they don’t take away. I don’t know how long it takes. I float.

I feel like a person again.


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