Author : S T Xavier

“It’s eating from my hand! Look, David! It’s so cute!”

David nods at the image visible only in his mind, speaking aloud the words from the memory. “It sure is, Sarah. You have such a way with birds, my love.”

A giggle comes from the speakers, the sound of Sarah’s voice melodious in the quarantine room. I check my readouts and everything seems to be within spec. I queue up the next memory for David, letting the software do the work of digging it out of his mind and showing it to him. Sarah’s voice again comes through the speakers, this time as a moan of pleasure. I can’t see it, but it’s not the first time I’ve observed someone else’s memory of making love to their spouse. I turn to look at my readouts, trying hard to drown out the sound of the memory.

The sounds get decidedly more intimate before they stop completely. I can see the screen flash with the destruction code. David must have finally pushed his button, unable to take any more. The love-making memories seem to cause that reaction in a lot of clients. Some perverts ride through those memories with ease, instead pushing their button on otherwise happy family moments. I’ll never understand what makes the clients decide, but I can’t entirely understand wanting to go through the process to begin with.

The disconnect code flashes on my screen, so I walk over to David’s chair and begin removing the connections on his head. The one at the top of the spine catches for a second, but I know how to do my job. A few twists and it’s removed along with the rest of them. Dropping the connectors to the side, I grab a small light and shine it in David’s eyes.

“Mr. Welsh. Can you hear me? Please tell me your name and the year.”

David’s eyes blink as they focus. “Of course. David Anthony Welsh, 2418.”

I nod, putting the light away. “Thank you, Mr. Welsh. It appears you’re done here. Shall I walk you out?”

He runs his hands through his brown hair and nods. He doesn’t quite remember where he is or what he’s doing here, but that’s part of the process as well. If I and the software did our jobs properly, he never quite will.

Taking his hand, I help him stand and walk him slowly toward the door. He stumbles for a second, but disorientation is common after a procedure. As we get to the door, his attention focuses on the pane of glass in the side wall and he looks through it curiously. I stop and wait, like I always do.

He looks back at me. “What happened to that poor girl in the other room?”

I nod. This exchange is rather common among clients. “Traffic accident. She died a few days ago.”

He shakes his head. “Such a tragedy. Does she have a name? What about her family?”

I smile sadly. “Her family’s been informed, and processing is finished. Her name is Sarah.”

He looks back through the window, then back at me. “Sarah’s a nice name. What’s her last name? I want to send the family something.”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t release that for privacy reasons.” That’s the standard response when a client asks. Of course I can’t tell him her last name is Welsh. It might cause an error in the memory erasure he just paid to go through. But, through his lack of recognition, I know the procedure went as planned. I walk him through the door, leaving his wife of ten years, and all his memories of her, behind.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows