This week’s piece comes from Kentucky, with a flash of the future. With this piece Brian Tucker introduces us to what he sees as everyman’s experience in the year 2212.
0 Days Accident-Free
A111’s neighbor hummed in the shower. She, B211, held a joyous drone, a sound foreign to him. He stretched his phone up to the ceiling, and clicked on its Recognition App®. The hum wasn’t precise, but the app was—it recognized a song from the end of the 2nd millennium.
Three loud knocks struck the door and A111 dropped the device.
The Messenger Bot delivered The Gazette via an antiquated chute located in the mid-section of the door. The thunk of it falling was one of A111’s favorite sounds. Sections A—E of The Gazette promised discounts, percentages off items sold online. A111 never bought in-person.
Today’s paper read: November 11, 2212.
The humming above him stopped. The water clicked off; the Condensation Removal Fan© chugged.
The Microwave asked A111, or, Benson, if he’d like his English muffin heated to perfection. He remembered toasters were better but didn’t have one, since the government had deemed them “a most dangerous fire hazard” in 2050. The Microwave questioned again, and 111 held up his hand. The machine disregarded him, kept calculating breakfast delivery times.
A111 plugged his ears and tried to hum the song he’d heard. No music had been made since the Twelve Years War. It was hostile to form new memories, new stories, until the war concluded.
B211’s song was dangerous, he thought. A111 knew she could be extinguished for it, especially if she sang it to the wrong person. His phone had logged her tune, and he knew he would be flagged as well. He found the page and deleted it.
Twenty one days had passed since his last incident, when he searched for a restaurant’s location on his solar tablet. A government official had Frontiered™ him online, questioned his need to search for anything; searching was an obsolete task. A111 claimed his finger had bumped the tablet.
Three new raps hit the door.
The barrier of silence was cut by a high, melodious voice, the same he’d heard emanating above. It asked if he could share his cellular. B211’s charger rights had been revoked.
It was dire need, she said.
A111 shook his head, as he wrestled with protocol. The phone he’d just misused was being requested. He picked it up from the floor, walked towards the door, and put his hand to the knob.
He realized he might be flagged twice.
He could smell her V05 shampoo through the steel door. The voice started to hum again, but stopped short, as A111 opened.
His neighbor’s hand grazed him, as she reached for his phone.
111, you’re so resourceful. Thanks for your help. They won’t mind, her voice purred.
A111 tried to say the word—his name, Benson. But, he couldn’t purse his lips together to form the sound. He hadn’t seen a human in weeks, and, her beauty startled him. He couldn’t stop staring at her eyes. Her gaze somehow reached into what he thought was his own, inner core and startled him.
This story delivers us to a completely unfamiliar time, but still grounds us in emotion that is unequivocally human. That is what makes this piece so powerful.
Come back next week for another great piece!