At 3pm everyone got up and drove to the store to buy a jug of milk.
City planners never anticipated a day when millions of people would decide to drive to the store simultaneously, so naturally this caused quite the scene on highways and grocery stores across the nation.
The evening news reports hypothesized an extreme case of coincidence brought on by a persuasive nationwide advertising campaign. But I have theory.
It’s nicknamed “the angel". Implanted in the frontal cortex of a rat, it allows a human controller to twitch the rat’s tail on command by releasing a cocktail of hormones and targeted electrical pulses. The question always was: What did the rat experience whilst twitching its tail? Was it something akin to an involuntary twitch? Or did it feel like a decision forged by free will? No one knew for sure until they implanted it in a human.
The best way I can describe it to folks without one: it’s like a gut feeling you can’t ignore. You get this deep down desire to do a thing, so you do it. But you can’t really distinguish between your own desires and the Angel’s. Some people say they can, but I rather doubt that. Or at least I’ve never been able to.
Early cynics spread fear by claiming that device operators could move your body around like a robot. In actuality, it’s much more nuanced. But if they wanted to, they could probably make you want to get up and dance.
But they don’t want to. That’s not what The Angel is for.
In fact, I seriously doubt that my Angel has been activated in me but for a handful of times since the implant. Once, I was walking along Valencia Street when all of a sudden I had this urgent need to run and hide in a safe place. I didn’t know why at the time, but I’m glad I did, because not seconds later a terrorist’s bomb exploded near where I was standing. Without Angel, I’d have surely died - and so would dozens of others who fled the scene exactly as I did. Officials later acknowledged issuing an “emergency flee” order in the immediate vicinity once they became aware of the bomb.
The bottom line: Angel saves lives. Especially in these uncertain times.
With terrorism on the rise and success stories like mine to point to, it’s no wonder that 3 out of 4 Americans opted for the free implant, paid for out of anti-terrorism budgets and administered by the TSA. With no known downsides and so many clear benefits, there’s even talk of making the implant mandatory in the future. At least for the nation’s children.
I suppose those in charge could use the implants to enslave us in labor camps, building giant pyramids or the like. But the robotic revolution has made construction and other manual labor so efficient as to be well outside the scope of human endeavor. Instead, the government needs the seething masses to do what we’ve always been best at: being good little consumers. So, with only a few crazed claims to the contrary, the angel is used as it was intended: to protect the citizenry from harm.
Milk Run Day wasn’t expected. Was it a glitch? A test?
And why am I standing here with a shotgun?
Dear Reader: I decided to try something new this time around. I love thinking about the future and don’t often get to write about it. What do you think? I’d love your feedback.