I got out of my transporter and slid into work. All of us humans (every sentient being in the universe calls itself “human”) need a little bit of water to slosh around in. All the walkways, all the roads, all the homes, and all the offices have spillways and reservoirs, shafts of waterfalls spraying about us to keep us alive. The constant spraying causes waterfalls everywhere. It’s quite a sight!
Well, anyway, I got to the office, made my obligatory greetings to my co-workers, grabbed a cup of coffee and plugged myself in to my Device. I was looking at a straight-six – a six-hour shift without any breaks. Of course, the union made it mandatory for all of us to unplug once every hour, so that we could stretch our arms. Women get just a ten-minute break and men get fifteen minutes – that’s because of our extra legs. It’s not difficult to tell men from women, here. The men have extra arms. The women have extra eyes.
So, I am plugging away, earning my dhrumpas, dreaming of a restful valley with a sparkling mountain river flowing down the center. There are trout jumping at mayflies. Butterflies dance in the still air. The smell of Easter Lily blooms and dry, hot pine fills my gills, and the sun beats down on my dome, ultimately drying it out, ultimately forcing me to return to my Device. I lost a few minutes in that last dream. There will be more. There is always more. There is always more.
Breaktime: I am unchained from my Device. I stretch backwards, as much as my stiff, collagenous frame allows. After an hour of Rescuing, I am dry and thirty. I tiptoe to the Rescue Shower. It provides just a small taste of the micro-nutrients and bits of food that will be sprayed onto us when our shift ends. My skin absorbs it greedily. The Spreul snacks sit in my Transporter, uneaten, unneeded. All my nutrition is provided by the Company. My wife is probably getting sprayed at home, right now. The company sprays her twice a day, while I am at work. As I recollect my thoughts, I ask myself why did I get in to this line of work. I must return to my Device.
This goes on six times, every day, with only Fanday, Sitday, and Sonday as our recreation days. Most of us just unplug, whenever we can.
But, everything changes after the third shower-break. This thought comes into my mind (and it comes into the minds of all my co-workers, I am convinced of this): Production = Love = Life = Function. I think it must be piped in by the Company. It is not unpleasant. The day goes smoothly. Except, that trouble yesterday. Everyone saw it. Everyone is watching, me, now.
This is my mantra. This is my song. This is my life. This is life. This is life. This is Life. This is Life. This is Living. This is Living. This is Living. This is Living.
Work is over. Time for Nutrition & then The Ride Home.
Nobody speaks to me in the locker room or in the lobby, not in the parking garage. Everyone is keeping their thoughts hidden. I was so relieved there was no squawking. When we bottle up our thoughts, sometimes they come out, unwanted, from our loathesome beaks.