I roll out of bed and pull on a pair of flannel pants, matching shirt, red and blue patterns on both. I walk out of the bedroom, down the hallway to the bathroom.
I place a bucket under the sink and open the tap, then release my own stream into the toilet. Water going into two different receptacles.
With a practiced and steady hand I reach up above the sink into a plastic bin, pull out a measured spoon of blue powder, and dump this into the bucket.
Once I’m done I wash my hands, transfer the contents of the bucket into a plastic watering can in the shape of an elephant, and walk around my small apartment, watering the dozen or so plants I have scattered on every windowsill and some counters.
The plants are simple creatures, they want little. Some blue medicine mixed into a bit of water and that’s all the plants need.
I put the bucket back and start to make breakfast. Eggs, toast, a couple of sausage links. I stop and look at the package for a moment, skip over the marketing and find the stylized Q at the bottom. Put on coffee, its pleasant gurgling the only company I have this morning.
Get a glass and fill it with water, rummage through a cabinet to the left of the coffee-maker, after a few moments settle on the bright-orange box with ACCEPTANCE written on its side. I balance the box in my hand for a moment. Almost empty. I dump what’s left into my glass and throw the box out. Stir the water in the glass with a spoon and down the concoction.
While the breakfast heats up I hop in the shower and wash up.
Try to remember what happened last night, but my head is funky.
Acceptance is working through my veins.
“Fields,” I speak loudly over the falling water, “what did I do last night?” The lights dim slightly, for a moment.
“You attended a memorial for your friend, Ben.”
I nod and continue washing soap out of my hair.
“Afterwards you went to SudsAndMore. You had five pints of beer.”
Five, shit, I think. That’s impressive. Guess I miss him more than I thought.
“You came home at twelve-forty and fell asleep on the couch.”
“I didn’t wake up on the couch.” I turn off the shower and get out, begin to dry off.
“You were very suggestible.”
“Good, I guess. Good.”
Acceptance is working, I think. I feel better about Ben.
People are simple creatures. Mix in a bit of Acceptance into their water and that’s all they need.
I look out over the city and smile. This is going to be a good day.
The breakfast is annihilated, eventually, and I’m out the door. The elevator doors slide open just as I close the door to my apartment, and we’re moving up and I’m on the roof. A cab is waiting for me at the launchpad. I climb in and we take off.
I take it slow. My tablet is in the backpack at my side, but it’s off and I don’t reach for it. The cab settles into a transit lane, and normally I would be tapping away by now, but not today.
I consider the reality that I leave every time that happens. The personal flying car soars through the sky, but my head is not in the clouds, it’s in the spreadsheets and documentation pages I’ve immersed myself in.
Buildings sail by and I remember the giddy feel of my first ride in a hovercar. The first time that the 3D nature of the world really became obvious to me, a fly circling a giant.
It’s twenty minutes into the flight before the first call comes through. Somebody’s probably been trying to get a hold of me on Chat, and since I’ve been basking in the scenery, that’s obviously gone un-answered. Now they’re escalating. Oh well.
The number is private, blocked. I doubt it’s anyone from Chat.
“Carlson,” I answer.