You stop and turn around, unsure if you heard me right.
I point to your wrist, to the free Apple watch you received just for participating in our study.
You nod blankly, about to turn away. So, I thrust a flyer at your face. You flinch. It’s the same promotion your Wellness Environment plasters everywhere in the city during spring, the image so seared into your mind you see it when you close your eyes: a poster about the annual 5K for Wellness on 4/20 at 4:20 pm.
You take the flyer, thanking me.
You’re in WE, right?
I saw you in Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies—that mandatory class all first years endure so they can enjoy the best housing, the best dining hall.
You nod again.
You were sleeping.
But I’m laughing, so you laugh as well. It’s okay, I say, your secret’s safe with me.
You say you’re sorry, that you’ve just been so exhausted, plus that class is so boring.
But informative, I add. You shrug. My eyes narrow. I gesture towards the flyer in your hand. Will you be attending?
You shake your head, unable to withhold a chuckle. You say you’ll probably be chilling with your friends.
Chill-ing? I ask, my neck cracking to the side between syllables.
Your eyes widen. Your ruse has failed. Just like Netflix or something, you add.
I question your devotion. You can sense it. Before you can react I seize your sleeve and hover my nose above the fabric, breathing deep. My suspicions are confirmed.
You yank your arm back, start to back away, then bump into another girl with flyers. You look around. Girls with flyers surround you. We’re all white twigs with long hazel hair and our faces, you realize, are all the same.
Suddenly your Apple watch shocks you. You yelp in pain. You’re taken off guard. Two girls drop their flyers, hold your arms back. Now you’re angry. Kicking and saying things like I have rights! and You can’t do this!
But you don’t even know what we’re doing.
Some sort of mechanical chair is wheeled around. It looks a bit like an electric chair. I assure you it’s not. You put up a fight, but you’re forced inside. Arms strapped down, a helmet with wires plopped on your head.
You don’t understand. I lean forward. You look deep within my eyes and, for the first time, notice that they reflect nothing back. A string of zeroes and ones tint my pupils.
What are you?!
We are WE and now, so are you.
I flip a switch. The chair hums.
Your vision doesn’t fade: everything just starts plucking apart, bit by bit. Colors fragmenting, memories unstitching. You’re afraid. You’re fighting to stay awake.
I tell you to relax, that it will be over soon. Just imagine you’re in another boring class, and let yourself drift away.
You resist. Then other thoughts wash over you, thoughts you don’t think are yours but you no longer care. You’re losing all your senses. You feel untethered.
You really should feel lucky, I say. You’re about to experience ultimate wellness, maximum mindfulness—the most efficient body.
I lock hands with the other girls, our flyers carpeting our feet. We chant—healthy brains, healthy bodies, healthy brains, healthy bodies—in mechanized harmony, swaying as your consciousness is uploaded into us.
Welcome to WEternity.
Categories: around town