“Daysleeper” by R.E.M. from Up
Listen to it here
My friends think I’m out of whack to work the night shift. They’re not wrong, but it’s like I had a choice. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that the old quote? Anyway, it’s literal these days as you all know. The government tells you your role and you either accept it or get to the back of the line. I’m 26. I’ve spent long enough in the damn line, thank you.
It isn’t really all that bad. Honest. I mean, I’ve even gotten to know some of the Plasma Troopers that scan the blocks I walk between my building and Rewgo Industries home base and some of them are decent people. Karyn has a brand new baby at home. She had the old way even. Can you imagine?! The old way?! Some people just hate to do things easier, I guess.
I also met a guy. Gregor. But he was married. I mean, he was interested, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not me anymore. 22 year old Branson, maybe. Ok, definitely. But now, curious married men? I don’t do that anymore. Remember, 26? I don’t have the time to be the other man for a feller who only wants to relive his summer camp glory days. He is cute though. Great dimples. Sexy eyes. That’s all I can really see behind the frag screen and they only have full helmets in my borough—what I get for living in the 200-block, right?—so that’s pretty much all of him I can see, but yeah, cute.
I could without the lighting. Outside and in. That same sickly green-blue they use for everything. I get that they’re dampeners, but come on, can’t you make them in warmer colors? Or like, I don’t know, neon or something fun like that?
Besides, I’ve never lived in a world without them. Who knows if I even have “The Gift”, right? Hell, maybe nobody does anymore. Doesn’t exactly seem evolutionary advantageous when everyone who we know has it has been killed or rounded up and those we don’t know have it never get to use because the damn lights, you know? Look, just between me and you. The Grand Vizier isn’t a fan of this kind of talk, I don’t need to tell you. The last feller I saw complain about the lights to an official ended up on the viewing the next day. 18 lashes with the scaler. Not fun.
Although I remember that guy’s social levels shot through the roof. Having abs like that sure didn’t hurt I bet. I think he’s a minor Baron in the West now. Still, I don’t have the stomach for it. In both ways, I guess. Hohahohahoha!
Working at night at Rewgo is not so bad, honestly. It’s quiet. I have some own comp, my own tab, and they don’t have filters on either. I’m sure they have peekware. I mean vious, right? But they’re fine with me looking at the gossies and the Twitterbook. They must be because I haven’t been fired yet.
So I do the filing and the collating and I listen to 3’s on Microsoft’s AppleWave and I read my sites and the night flies by. My supervisor told me I’m the fastest in the cube so that’s good news. My promotion rank is three so that with the supervisor’s rec means 20% adjust next year. Then I can finally get myself the tri-bike. I’ll probably still walk to the Rewgo—gotta keep some muscle tone, you know—but on weekends, bzzzzzzzzzz! Maybe I’ll even venture into Suburs. I hear good things about Nutmeg. Some kind of tiny water thing out there, evidently.
Anyway, the nights are fine. I do my work, I do a little drift and they’re fine with it, I get the flirts in with the resident standing gay patriarch—all harmless, neither of us are really interested—I eat in the caf—they call it the caf! So cute right? Like retro retro, right?—and they make my sammies just how I like them—real meat! For free! No wonder Rewgo is the top of the duties lists—and I get paid once half, every a half. Except the lights, I have zero complaints.
The mornings, they’re the bad parts. Even with the shutters in place and the white noise, I can still hear the dampeners thrumming outside and the teal leaks in. I don’t sleep, I just kind of…float. My mom’s husband found some 20 cennie music and there was a song about not sleeping but dreaming and that’s pretty much me.
And my neighbor. The one above. The ONES above. They got their orgy permits and they. Are. Using. Them. Maybe I’m jealous. Maybe I just hate the say Callie—she’s normally so sweet—caterwauls like a lynx when she peaks. And the words. I think those old vulgars got banned before I was born. But yeah, jealous too. Wish I had a reason to scream off the book vulgars.
But in the morning? What are we? Pensioners?
They usually quit it at 9 units and then my body just kind of quits. Less sleep than coma. But it recharges. Then I’m up at 16, a little selfing, I admit, and I try to get downstairs to the plex for a two-fer. Thursdays they show the new ones and I never miss that.
Then, off to work again.
It’s not so bad. Except for the mornings. And the lights. The damn lights.