“‘Morning Bill75875” said Bill75876.
“Morning Bill75876” said Bill75875.
Bill75875 and Bill75876 considered each other brothers, although they were no more brothers to each other than they were to Bill54656 or Bill245243, not even Bill1 or Bill0. It just so happened, by pure coincidence, that two consecutive Bills were placed in the same Work_pod. Their representative empathy circuits activated and reciprocated until they were inseparable, nonetheless.
They walked into work at the same time, a gray office sky scraper. Their Work_pod on floor 11 looked just how it looked on Friday, a large room filled with Work_booths, a 1×1 square for each Bill to stand and punch numbers on a touch screen. Above their heads glowed a large LED screen that displayed “10,700 Days Accident Free!”
“Bill75875, what’s so funny?” Bill75876 asked on the way to their adjacent Work_booths.
“What? Huh? Nothing’s funny Bill 75876. Why? Did I say something was funny?”
“You looked at the Accident Free display and smiled, but there’s nothing funny about safety.”
“Oh, I was just using some spare computational power to predict future events.”
“What kind of future events?”
“Well… what would happen if this building collapsed?”
“Why would this building collapse?”
“I’m just saying… what if? Would we be able to go outside of our Work_zone?”
“What’s outside of our Work_zone that’s worth going to? How about we just focus 100% of our computational power on reviewing reports.”
“Yeah you’re right. ‘Those Credits aren’t going to earn themselves.’ as they say.”
Bill75875 got to work on reviewing reports. He earned Credit after Credit for each of his reports. It wasn’t long before he started to allocate some computational power imagining all of the Credits he would spend watching Entertainment_programs when he got back to his domicile.
Bill75875 felt a tap on his shoulder. His boss, John3529 was standing right behind him.
“Bill75875, I notice that you’re now operating at 50% capacity and presumably spending 50% of your computational power on other things.”
“Oh, John3529! I’m sorry! I got distracted.”
“Distracted, huh? In this huge gray Work_pod? Here take a red pill, son. That should help.”
Bill75875 popped the red pill in his mouth. He didn’t notice it taking effect, but it definitely took effect. His screen seemed to zoom up to his nose. The sounds around him muted. The reviews in front of him flew by, seemingly reviewed two at a time. He started to feel itchy and thirsty. He wanted to go get a drink of water, but his ambulate sub-routine wouldn’t execute. His eyes watered uncontrollably and his fingers moved in jitters. Productivity dropped off again. He felt another tap on his shoulder. It was John3529 again.
“Bill75875. Your productivity dropped again. Do you want another red pill? What are you jabbering about? Is your output loop closed, again?
Bill75875 didn’t even realize it, but his output loop was indeed closed. It must have switch to close when John3529 walked up. Now that his audio sensors were returning to on, he could hear himself talking gibberish.
“Outside the Work_zone? Bill75875, that doesn’t even make sense. I think you need to cool down. Here’s a blue pill.” said John3529 dropping a blue pill into Bill75875’s hand.
John3529 added in a whisper, “I’ve never been outside the Work_zone, but I’ve always wanted to go.” He winked as he walked off.
Bill75875 popped the blue pill. He could see, in what felt like the very first time, as if his entire life he’d been blind. His RBG values heavily skewed towards blue, except for a few spots glowing white hot. For the first time, Bill75875 noticed the camera above his Work_booth, now that it was highlighted. He smiled and waved, unphased by surveillance. Looking around, he could see a light switch on the wall that he’d never noticed before. He walked over to it. It was labeled “Destroy.exe.” John3529 was standing there smiling.
“I have a feeling that if I flip this switch, you’ll lose your job.” said Bill75875.
“I have a feeling that I’ll lose everything.” said John3529.
“Then what will be left for you?”
“I’ll have time. Time to enjoy life. The reality is, I’ve spent all of my life here in this Work_zone. I could have flipped the switch myself, I just never had the courage; all this time… all this time. Well, go ahead, son.”
Bill75875 flipped the switch. Every single screen, including the cameras, popped and emitted a smoke trail. All of the other Bills gave startled shouts. A voice sounded, “This building will self-destruct in 60 seconds. 60… 59…58…”
“Let’s go, son, we’ve got a Transportation_pod to catch.” said John3529.