Author: David Henson

When I finally got my M-plant, I couldn’t wait to try it out. I went to a local cafe, approached a woman wearing a TP earring and touched my TechPath lapel pin.

She immediately raised her index finger. I held my fingertip to hers, and we both thought backwards from 100 by sevens. Once paired, we practiced sending and receiving simple images, mainly different breeds of dogs, to each other. I noticed her pooches all had dark, sad eyes and drooping tails. Then she shared with me that her brother recently had died. He hadn’t wanted to wait his turn for a qualified physician to insert the telepathy device into his cerebral cortex, but had instead risked going the trepanning route with some back alley charlatan.

Irene and I finished our coffees and agreed to meet again. I felt I was going to enjoy life as a TP. I think everyone did. On my thumb.

There were growing pains as techpathy spread through the population. One was Pink Elephant Syndrome. You know, try not to imagine a pink elephant, and it will pop into your mind. Well, before you sent a thought, you had to picture your transmission image. Mine’s a monkey with a plate of spaghetti on it’s head.

PES struck me one evening when I was having dinner with Irene. I’d developed deep feelings for her, but wasn’t ready to let her know. Don’t think of a monkey, I told myself and immediately pictured a baboon with a big red butt. Don’t imagine a plate. White porcelain with a gold ring. No spaghetti, no spaghetti, no spaghetti. Linguine with marinara. That’s ok. Linguine’s not spaghetti. Spaghetti is thinner. Mmmm, spaghetti. No! I knocked over a waiter with a tray of food when I jumped back, too late, to get out of range. That’s how I learned Irene wanted to be “just friends.” We still are. In fact, I probably owe her my life. On my shoe.

Eventually, there was a backlash from the Protectors Of Optimal Privacy when rumors of a gen-2 M-plant circulated. People with a Thought Snatcher Implant, as the POOPers called it, would have true mind reading capability. No pairing. No transmitting. The TSI would snatch thoughts from anybody with an M-plant. Fear of the TSI drove some people to have their devices removed. On the tree.

Then the POOPers hacked the HUC — the “impenetrable” Heisenberg Uncertainty Cloud, which every techpathic thought flashed through as it went from one person to the other. Now we’re suffering a plague of nursery songs. For nearly a year, every person with an M-plant has been humming This Old Man, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Alouette, Alle meine Entchen — whatever their earworm dictates. People can’t sleep, eat, or work. Suicides and divorce rates are up. There’s a global depression. On the door.

I’ve learned that by deep breathing and concentrating on something — math exercises, playing my clarinet, telling a story like this — I can keep my earworm at bay a few minutes. Then it bores its way back until I can muster the strength to tame it again.

There’s a long waiting list to get M-plants removed. I’m trying to hang on till it’s my turn. I almost went to a trepannist, but Irene talked me out if it. Sweet Irene.

… I just realized I should go back.To the beginning of this story. I left out something important. Breathe … breathe … No use. I can’t continue now.

All I can do now is give the dog a bone and go rolling home.