Author : Phillip English

She had already worn a great many Hats when the one she was wearing failed. Milliners weren’t technically (and legally, she supposed) allowed to let you know which Hat you had worn for the day that you wore it, but she had found pictures of herself on the ‘net by what she would defend in court as chance. There she was, holding a flat silver serving tray in the background of a party where the hosts walked around nude to show off their temproids. And there, more innocently this time, holding hands with a woman she’d never seen and never likely would again. She kept a heavily-encrypted folder of these pictures and videos of her time wearing different Hats, only opening and flicking through when she was drunk or anxious or both. She would look into her own eyes and wonder if she weren’t wearing a Hat right then and there. Though who would request she have a night off to herself, she didn’t know.

Waking up while wearing a Hat was like waking up from a dream into another dream; the previous imagined reality fleeing before the seeming true reality of the new one. She felt heavy, like she was walking on a dense planet. But she wasn’t walking, she was running. Explosions blossomed around her, highlighting the dull metal shine of the tactical assault armour encasing her and the assault rifle cradled in her arms. A bullet-ridden carcass of electronics hung from around her neck. Not a Hat, she thought, but a Helmet.

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