On a day just like today, except that it was a Wednesday, a man named Oxo awoke from a nightmare to realize that the nightmare is never fully awoken from. He rolled onto his side, pulled the rough green blanket over his head, and tried to recall what he had been dreaming about.
He recalled vaguely that in his dream the world was filled to the brim with simpering idiots who held high-paying jobs in delicate positions, he recalled that people nattered endlessly to one another on a small glowing box, although all were nattering and none were listening. He recalled that children were popping out of Coke machines into plastic diapers where they were whisked away by people who plopped them in front of another glowing box. The glowing box showed the kids how to be polite; how to do what they are told; taught that difference was good, despite the fact that they were shown the opposite day in and day out.
Oxo recalled that in the dream he was required to go out into the cold every single day, stick his arm into something like a coffee machine to have his precious bodily fluids extracted, bled into a tube which shot up to feed the spindly-legged tall ones upstairs, who sucked the sweet nectar from long grey straws while adjusting the small black nattering rectangles on their ears.
Oxo recalled that one of the only relief from this terror was a large room where people would group together to watch flickering images of cyborgs imitating their own movements. The cyborgs had been like them at some point, but had been, piece-by-piece, dismantled and replaced with polished rice teeth, shiny orange skin, glazed yellow hair, hollow empty eyes, and even less soul. As they walked out of these gatherings small tabloid pamphlets were thrust into their hands to give them intimate details about what the cyborgs ate, drank, slept with, talked about, thought about . . . all with the constant insinuation that the cyborgs are better than you, why can’t you be more like the cyborgs?
Other than the gathering rooms the only relief was a tiny pill which blurred the world and made things seem very far away and dreamy. The pill was very popular with people, and it made people easier to deal with, yet the pill was actually banned. People had to hide in alleys and scratch at doors in the night to gain access to the pill. Oxo knew why, too, he knew that the only way to keep the people pliable was by keeping them afraid, so they kept the pill banned to keep the fear, but also kept the pill easily accessible to keep the people in line.
Oxo let out a long, defeated breath, then pulled himself up to look out the curtains at the world below. The mustard curtains parted revealing the brittle ridiculous world below, and at once Oxo knew; he had not awakened.