Below is a static version of my first “interactive” story. You can find a twine version here. It’s my first attempt at something like this. Wednesday’s story is a sequel to this one and has a bit more interactivity.
At the start of the day, take my seat in the cubical farm. The cable to the memory box sits coiled on the desk where I left it yesterday. I pick up the plug and raise it to the jack behind my left ear. It slides in easily and locks in place with a click. I wait for a second before I feel a slight tingle and goose pimples race down my arms.
Random policies and procedures stack up in my mind. Generic memory caches never integrate evenly. I turn on my computer and begin working. An insurance claim form appears on my computer screen and the policies about approving or denying the claim unfold in my memory.
So, this is what I do, I think. I look over the claim and deny it. It’s easy because I’ve never had to do it before. Maybe if I had spent day after day reading forms like these it might begin to wary on me. But this is the first time I’ve ever seen one and the policies are fresh in my mind. Except that’s not true.
Five years in this cubical farm. The second function of the memory box, memory deletion, keeps us workers from planning or having moral objections to what we do. It’s almost impossible to have second thoughts about something you barely have first thoughts about. The company probably say it uses the function to protect client data. All I remember of each day is sitting down in the morning and getting up at the end of the day.
A computer could do this job but memory caches can’t be hacked. By using a zombie workforce the company has made their decision-making system a black box. Even former employees can’t tell you what gets a claim approved or denied.
I’ve probably had these same thoughts every day for the last five years.
At the end of the day, I press the red button on the memory box.
I pick up the plug and raise it to the jack behind my left ear. It slides in easily and locks in place with a click. I wait for a second before I feel a slight tingle and goose pimples race down my arms.
I feel a shock and smell over ripe bananas. The green light is lit, it’s the end of the day time to go home. I pull the plug out of my jack and neatly coil the cable on the desk. I stand up and pick up my lunch box.
“Hey, Frankie how’d your day go?” Rob the guy in the next cubical asks as I walk by.
“Fine, I guess. I earned fifteen credits.”
“Fifteen credits? I only managed twelve today. My back is killing me.”
“My back used to hurt too on long days. I got an office pillow it’s a godsend.”
“I’ll look into that. See you tomorrow.”
“See you,” I say and walk away.