"Hey Buddy! Rise and shine!"
274 opened his eyes and studied the room. The floor rang metallic as Bill stepped from monitor to monitor, their flashing numbers and graphs reflecting in his glasses. The lights bathed the room in a dull blue. The tube 274 was in had blue lights shining from the bottom and the top. He felt like a drugg addd1ct.
"Woah, woah Buddy! Come back, come back. Focus on me, Buddy. Focus."
274 closed his eyes. Symbols swam across the blackness, fuzzy and indeterminate.
"Listen, Buddy, this is important. And hard. But important. You need to stay in the moment for the time being. Don't think about the past. Don't think about the future. Stay with me, right here, Buddy, okay?"
I'm in a tube thought 274.
"Yeah, Buddy, you are. You're in a tube. Well, close enough anyway. We call it a ResRec. Rest and Recover. We do that a lot."
274 opened his eyes and looked at Bill.
"I know, Buddy. I know."
Why am I in a tube thought 274.
"Oh, hey, a question. Great work, Buddy!"
Bill scribbled something on a piece of paper.
Why am I in a tube thought 274.
"You saw what happened when you thought about the past. We need to fix that."
I didn't think about the past thought 274.
"Not specifically, no, but you made some imaginative leaps, which were reliant on your contextual memories. Try not to do that, okay Buddy?"
I want to rip your throat out and watch you die thought 274.
"Yeah, that's the other reason you're in a tube, Buddy."


"MemRec two seven five dot four. First day of school."
Garry turned from the microphone and flicked the switch on the control panel. He chuckled, like he did every MemRec session, at the solitary switch surrounded by dials, sliders and graphing computads. Under the switch he had placed a piece of masking tape with the words 'One switch to rule them all.'
Garry turned back to the microphone and looked out the window into the MemRec room. Sam lay in the reclined psych couch, eyes closed. The leather helmet with its constantly knotted cabling attached her to the outlet under the monitoring room.
"When you're ready, Sam," said Garry into the mic.

A short pause to empty the silence, and then, over the intercom:

- Mum was wearing a blue dress. It reminded me of spring, the sort of blue dress she always wore with her hair tied back when she cleaned the house. She smelled like the fresh soap she sprinkled into her drawer every Sunday. She bent down, kissed me on the cheek and I caught a glimpse of her breast. My heart started to beat faster. I knew that she was going to let me go soon, but to me it felt like she was pushing me away. I loved her and hated her at the same time. We stood for moments more than was needed outside the gates of school, looking at each other before I cried out, screaming 'I don't want to go' or 'You can't make me' or 'I hate you!' But then she gently cups my chin and whispers in my ear 'You'll be fine' or 'Everything will be okay' or 'You're not a baby anymore' and I smile, a half-smile of ongoing maturity, then she turns and starts to walk away and I spit on the back of her dress, the whore.

A short pause to empty the silence, and then:

- We did some painting, I punched a boy in the shoulder, we sang a pretty song about bears, I slapped a girl so hard across the face she had bruises, we did some counting, I kicked a girl in the head and she lost four teeth, blood spilling onto the sand of the sandpit as a crowd of kids circled us shouting 'Fight!' or 'Stop!' or 'Kill the bitch!', we laughed at each other's jokes, I stabbed a teacher in the side of the throat then ripped across the jugular, and as blood spurted against the walls we danced in a circle crying, licking the blood from each other's faces and laughing.

Garry flicked the switch, then said gently in the microphone, "Good job, Sam. Ivan's debriefing you today. Room 7."

The End

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