Author : Morrow Brady
I scared myself again. But only briefly.
Bored with routine, my mind zoned out. Wandering like a hungry dog. Dragging extraordinary notions to hell and back with me at the centre of it all. The snap-to was always a break in that routine and this morning it was when the door forgot who I was.
My working day started at the office. Not the morning shower or bus ride but that sand etched security glass door that led into the open plan tenancy. Everything before that moment was mine to ponder.
Thirty seconds before arriving at that door I zoned, my body mindlessly zombied past the carved monolith guarding our street-front, itself a party popper palimpsest of social commentary. Up the groaning federation stairs and across the worn half landing, landmarked by the fading odour of dead wall rat.
On autopilot, my body went through this daily routine, while within, my mind, as free as a three year old, dallied a thought stream that frightened me to the core. The fear that I never actually worked here.
Upstairs, face brick walls held the sand etched glass door hostage. Like every other day, I transmitted the door’s passcode early, to time it’s opening with my approach, only to slam face-first into the glass. Through gaps in the etching, my workmates turned towards me. Within a daydream of public humiliation, I snapped-to, humiliated. The transition was seamless.
The door remained closed. No salient tone. No sliding swish. I retransmitted the code, ran a diagnostic on my implant and then shouldered the door. Nothing.
Staring at my paper covered desk through the glass, I scratched the hairy bulge of my scalp implant dumbfounded. Fearful faces glared through the glass. Someone was yelling on the phone. No one recognised me. No one dared approach the door. I signalled for Jane the office manager to let me in. Seeing her confused face, I checked my sanity only to birth the notion that my imagination had in fact become reality.
A crash downstairs preceded heavy footfalls.Turning, I saw Jim, the security guard, lurch, puffing, into the lobby.
“Hey Jim! How’s it going? Can you help me, the door isn’t….”
Before I could finish, Jim had slammed me against the security door.
“You are not authorised to be here Sir”
Hot sprays of breath pulsed the back of my neck.
“Jim it’s me Dave! I work here. I lent you my music library yester……”
“Remain calm Sir. The police are enroute”
To Dave, I was a stranger and to the police who frog marched me out of the building, I was another lost soul.
At police headquarters mayhem reigned. The unstaffed charge desk meant that no one was interested in our identity. Not a good sign. Each cell held a dozen dazed citizens, each one sharing similar stories.
By midday, the sweating cell walls bulged from overcrowding and wheezed air thick with emotion. Like a football crowd, cellmates mentally journeyed from confusion through anger, finally settling on acceptance.
Late afternoon, a two tone warning sounded. A crowd of despair shushed, starving for the truth. A pre-recorded announcement rattled from a tinny cell speaker.
“Last night at 3:45am, a caching error within Central MEMbank deleted your identity from all implants and hardware infrastructure. Once backup have reinstated transient life data, you will be remembered by your family and friends. On behalf of the MEMbank, I apologise for the confusion”
For a moment I pondered the possibilities of being no one and scared myself again.