Good satire is like good horror. They both makes us feel uneasy about our world.
Here’s my attempt to blend the two together, a flash fiction called:
All The World’s A Stage
Can you imagine being watched by a million people?
It’s inconceivable, and yet, here I am, doing it for a living. Every day, sitting in front of an electronic eye, letting it record my every twitch and action as I read aloud the news. Today it’s not even important information, just a fluff piece.
I sit down with my papers, and out of the ceiling it descends: a large blue eye, ready for today’s show. It’s about the size of a basketball and hovers under its own power. I wave at it so that it will focus on me. Its iris shrinks to a pinprick, and it holds completely still in the air. It blinks twice to signal me.
The roar of computer-created applause starts off my show; the eye’s hidden speakers managing to simulate an entire studio audience. I can almost see it, overlapping with the small red furnished room I was actually in.
I shuffle my pages together—purely for dramatic effect—and begin.
“Hello, New York. Welcome to the daily newscast, with your anchor: Skyler Wauneka. Today’s story is one that is near and dear to all of our hearts: SimPets, those lovable little creatures that keep you company in your dwellings. Introduced in the early twenty-second century, they were meant to combat widespread depression amongst the common man…”
I lean forward in my chair, placing my palm against the side of my mouth.
“…but, between you and me, I think mine is trying to increase my depression with the amount of bio-litter it leaves behind.” I say, winking.
A simulated laugh track plays, and I force out a good-natured chuckle, making sure to slick back my hair. I’m told that move’s popular with the youth demographic.
“Anyhow, in a stunning new upgrade, SimPet’s creator, and celebrated artificial citizen Jj125 announced yesterday that he is going to improve the SimPet artificial intelligence programing so that they not only know when to snuggle up with you, but can also run your psychological evaluations; making it so you don’t have to take the time to go to the doctor every month.”
Artificial cheers play. I sit back to bask in a job well done. All I have to do is the outro, and my day is free.
“So, now that I’ve let that cat out of the bag, I think it’s about time you get to hear the political news. As always, I now leave you with our chief political advisor Mr. Ck327.” I pause for another wave of applause.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, same time, and same virtual network. This is Skyler Wauneka, signing off!”
The eye shoots back up into the ceiling and the all-clear light turns on. I get out of my chair and walk out of the studio, the crisp air hitting me as I make my way on foot. My car follows me a few feet behind but I wave it off. I feel like walking today. It’s been awhile since I took a good long stroll.
While traveling, I open up my jacket and let the natural air in, the auto-coolers giving a few warning beeps before shutting off.
I want the wind today; want to let my skin taste some oxygen. I want to feel the wake caused by three hundred miles per hour vehicles.
A bit slow, I know, but it was a suburban area.
I manage to enjoy a full minute of peace before the eyes descend, about thirty of the things, each eager to get a peek at my exposed chest. I pull my jacket closed, feeling the microfibers stitch themselves together around me.
“Now, now, kids. I’m sure that you can get plenty of that online.” I say, playfully batting one of the eyes. It bobs around for a few seconds, and his friend’s chuckles fill the air with electronic noise.
“Yeah, but it’s so much better in person, Skyler.” says one of the closer eyes. It’s got a brown pupil, and the mechanical voice was in a higher register, signaling a female user.
“Well, I’ve got to leave something to the imagination. My wife would get jealous.”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ll catch you one of these days.”
“Oh, I’m sure you will, but for now I’m trying to have a nice day.”
“A nice day? How can you have a nice day out in the sun?” squawks one of the other eyes, this one modified purple, with a male register.
“Some of us actually like U.V. rays. You should try it some time.” I raise my voice so that even the ones in the back can hear.
“Nah, I think we’ll leave that to you. See you later!” A few of them rise up into the sky immediately, leaving the rest to slowly follow after their friends, despite still wanting to talk to me. Two stay above my head, looking down, but I just walk like I don’t notice them.
They eventually fly away as well, descending on a woman who leaned over to pick up her purse.
I set a timer for fifteen minutes and start running away from my currently distracted fans. The implants in my ears play my work-out mix. The sun is already starting to set as I begin.
After working up a sweat, and subsequently nearly passing out, I tap my fingers against my wrist pad and wait for my car to arrive. A few seconds later it appears, the door swinging open on its own accord. I step in and it whisks me away. My eyes already starting to drift shut.
Traffic was awful, it took three whole minutes to get home, but, eventually, I made it back. My wife was already in bed. I could not blame her, we had both been up since noon. I collapse next to her, the foam adjusting to my preferences.
I close my eyes and think of tomorrow. Hoping for another pleasant, normal day.
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