Saturday 6th June
Diary Entry – 20660115
“I know they are watching me. I am certain this time. Because of the nature of my work, and the super-sensory state I have to induce in myself all my senses are actually heightened. I could hear the almost silent swivel as the tiny surv-cams began tracking me down the corridors. I was careful not to glance up at them, people had long gotten used to their silent ‘protective’ presence, and instinctively you learn not to observe them observing you. To look directly at them would be taken as a sure sign of guilt.
So, it has come to this; and so soon after I have started writing this ‘diary’. Even I, super-sceptic that I am, am amazed that they have found me out so soon. But what to do now? Do I try and brazen it out, act as if I don’t know I am being observed? Or do I stop this behaviour. Do I comply with the rest of our be-knighted society and delete these entries, wipe the hard disk, find a way of dismantling and disposing of it and live the next seventy years of my life in comfort and boredom, or do I actually care enough to make a stand.
But how do you actually make a stand in this day and age. Where would one establish a platform and anyway who would be there to listen? I would be clagged and branded a lunatic, or ‘emotionally unstable’ to put it nicely, in no time at all. And all my ‘friends’, my acquaintances really, because I do not have any friends anymore, would know it would be in their best interests to forget all about me too, to move on, to comply as we all do. And mostly to forget they ever knew me too; because we are all subtly persuaded to live in the ever-present present, and to forget the slightly troublesome past; who wants to think about the past, about people we no longer see. Avoid thinking about anything unpleasant. Why remember anything bad when we are all so well looked after now. We don’t own our own past anymore; we have forgotten to look back, to reminisce – to reflect on our past. Better not to think about it, just keep looking forward. There is no need for personal memories because everything you might want to recall is instantly accessible on any screen, and it is far more reliable than our own skittish minds, skewed as they might be with emotions.
There are only two possibilities. I can euthenase myself or make a breakout. I mentioned before that I have a stash of euthentabs secreted and it is true. Even Cathy has no idea I have them. My father contracted cancer a few years ago. He had me late in life and was from that generation before Universal Health Screening was introduced for all under-forties in twenty-six, and so was considered uneconomic to treat effectively. Almost all cancers were curable by the thirties, but he had other health issues too and besides he was an alcoholic and you know the attitude of all health-officials to self-harmers. He was offered euthentabs and it was all decided, and then there was some mix-up and he was transferred to a different clinic and somehow he got prescribed them again. He was a wise old bugger, and even though we had never been that close, he slipped some to me just before he took his and whispered in that sad and ironic way of his, “You might need these yourself one day son. I wish I’d had them years ago, I wouldn’t have gone through that pain for anything. Keep them safe and use them wisely.” Then he reached for his beaker of water and pressed the red button hovering on his bedside screen. The nurse and doctor came in and asked me if I wanted to stay right to the end. I declined and left the room quickly; scurrying out as he popped the tabs in his mouth and sipped the cool water, his eyes closing before his head even hit the pillow. My hands squeezing tight the plastic tube in my pocket; as my Dad made his undignified exit, I made my mind up there and then that I would choose my own way out when the time came.
That was quite a few years ago and it still makes me cry when I recall the look in his eyes as he slipped the slim transparent tube into my palm. My dear old Dad. Well, he wasn’t much of a dad really – too interested in his next drink to care about my Mum or me. He might have been a piss-head, but he’s much better out of it. Some people were critical of euthen when it was finally legalised; it had been going on quietly for years, (doctors accidentally over-prescribing) but still there was some resistance. But it is now universally accepted as the best way. We wouldn’t make an animal suffer, so why should we make ourselves die in agony. No, whichever way you look at it my Dad was better off out of it, and maybe I will be too.
I am not sure I will have the guts to take them though; it is a lot easier to say than to do. And you never self-administer, there is always a doctor there to hand you the beaker of water. Maybe I should just revert to plan B and stop all of this nonsense right now. What the hell do I think I have achieved by it anyway? Maybe best to give up these stupid ideas and just carry on; it isn’t as if my life is that awful really. It just isn’t actually living. I keep feeling there is something, no, everything missing from my existence. That is why I started writing this in the first place; to feel alive. I can remember that feeling as a child that you could be anything you wanted to be, even a bird flying in the sky, if you wanted to. That feeling of being alive and free; that’s what I crave – because no matter which way you cut it, and despite all the tech and healthcare and being ‘looked after’ in our Twenty-First Century Nightmare we definitely are not free.
Maybe it’s just part of growing up, though I’m not even middle-aged yet, I am only fifty-five, for pities’ sake. Can I put up with another forty-three years of working? And it is sure to be longer than that, every few years they seem to be extending both life-expectancy and your working life. Maybe I will never be old enough to retire, though what is retirement? I don’t know anyone who has actually retired. All the people we know are still working and the same strata as us, or just above – Cathy thinks if we mix with higher strata it won’t be long before we too are elevated. So really we have no idea what retirees lives are like, You do see pretty dramas with a few oldies lazing on sunbeds, but they all look ancient, wrinkled and bald, literally on their last set of legs. Work is all there is, it sustains us. Without work we are no longer consumers, and that I am afraid is our main purpose in this life. It’s even worse for anyone born after twenty-thirty as they have their entire cell-history mapped out and can have new bits of themselves grown easily, so they will go on till at least a hundred and fifty – poor buggers. At least for my generation, the last of our kind, they just have to repair us as best they can before euthen-heaven calls us in. Come in Janek Smith, your time is up.
Well, maybe my time really is up after all.
Making a break? How would I do that? Especially as I am being watched all the time; maybe I should start thinking about that, who knows – maybe there really are little communities existing on those Scottish islands, outside of the system somewhere. Maybe I should start thinking of how I can actually escape the system altogether.”