At home I inspected the No-D on my chest in my bathroom mirror. The thin plastic over my fresh tattoo formed creases, and the moisture cream in between made it look washed out.
From now on I wouldn't be reanimated anymore if I needed to.
My heartbeat. Did it always feel that way? Wasn't it slightly out of rhythm? I shook my head and pulled the shirt back down, smirking about my hypochondriac moment.
I left my reflection in the mirror and entered the room of my studio apartment. The dim light and the wall screen turned on automatically and blanketed the kitchen corner with the little table and the chair, the shelves and the bed with its dim light and soft shadows.
From one of the wall screens our old dog Lester watched me, his tongue sticking out in anticipation of a thrown stick or treat, the bushy bobtail fur illuminated from the sun going down behind him. Pristine contrasts, all shades of gray, a picture worth a post on a photography blog. Next, a PSA faded in: “If life gets too much, let's get in touch!” Then the picture changed to my mom, she passed away shortly after dad. Both of cancer. Different kind though.
In total eight screens were showing silent slide shows or quiet video loops of my loved ones and my past. All stored in the cloud. Sometimes I wished they would be in color, but colors were too expensive.
Last week, on a Sunday, right before I fell asleep, already in a dreamlike state, I remembered vividly my first school day, and mom and dad being there, smiling, and I ripped my eyes open, when I realized, everything was in black and white. Since then I wondered: What if all the black and white and gray pictures and clothes and houses and everything around me, us, would cause my memories to lose their colors? What would a desaturated memory mean? Next time I would ask my neighbor Rob, if he experienced the same, if he knew, what I was talking about.
My daydream ended with my stomach growling. The screens reflected in the dark window and the balcony door looked like a fourth wall, sprinkled with the lights from the building across.
I went to the sink in the kitchen corner, took my bowl from the drying rack, held it under the tap and turned it open; guttural sounds of an ancient old pipe system overburdened with modern technique saluted me before the chicken paste spurted out into the bowl. This week: mango flavored chicken. Yummy, and for free. I received basic income topped up by free food from the tap, as much as I wanted, clothing, healthcare and my room. In exchange I worked in the gym.
Spoon by spoon I devoured the mango chicken. One of my favorites. Cashew veggie Vietnamese the other. Both came about five times a year, fresh from the factory, pushed through the pipes at around 80 bar.
Sitting at the table I checked my device: the messages, application updates, game results—which continued online even when I was not actively playing—, my pulse, my blood sugar level and my mood.
«Seems like I don't have to be revived toda...», my whisper interrupted by a knock on my door, surprised I jerked together. Usually I wasn't that jumpy, but for a split second it felt like somebody might have heard me talking to myself. I shoved the last spoon of chicken into my mouth and shuffled to the door.