posted on Feb, 7 2012 @ 05:58 PM
“There’s another one Jed. Look at him. I don’t think he’s living.” Joe steps out of his truck and walks toward the man on the side of the
road. Jed following closely behind. Both of them just stand there and stare for a moment.
“Yep, can’t even move his eyelid.” Jed starts laughing loudly, holding his belly and smacking his knee at the same time. “He ain’t never
gonna make it back to the truck you know. What you gonna do with him, Joe?”
“I think he’s fakin’. You know those people don’t like to get taken back to the compound, Jed. They be all like “born this way, die this
way” mumbo jumbo they talkin’ like that. I think we should be devisin’ a plan to see if he’s fakin’ or not.” Joe wraps his pudgy hand
around his beard and starts to pull at it like his daddy used to do. He never understood why his daddy used to do it. But he figured that maybe it
would help him think about what to do with this guy. Or maybe just buy him some time until Jed thought of something to do. Either way, he knew that
eventually, the solution would present itself, even if it took awhile.
“Ya know, I member when we were kids and we wanted to see if old whiskey was alive, member Joe? We used to poke him with a stick and if he moved, we
knew he was still livin. Ya think we autta try pokin’ him with a stick?” Jed picks up a stick and starts jabbing it in the air as if to prove a
point. “Used to work on Whiskey, member?”
Joe wasn’t sure if that was what they were supposed to do. He knew that him and his brother were supposed to bring these fellas back to the compound
to make them better, but was never told exactly what the proper way to do so was. And he wasn’t so sure that poking a man with a stick and making
him hurt even worse was a good way to get the job done.
His brother always looked up to him and did what he said. So Joe was especially careful when it came to making decisions like these. He didn’t want
his brother to think less of him if he made the wrong one. Jeb was all he had. So, he did what his daddy used to do when things weren’t quite clear
at first. He changed the subject.
“I don’t know why these guys didn’t just get fixed like the rest of us. The gov’ment said they would make us better, and they did make us
better. Every year they improved on us. First it was the shots, then it was those small robots they put in us, what did they call them, nanobots? And
then it was that microchip thingy they added….Member when they put that thing in daddy so’s we could know where he was all the time? That was the
best thing ever! When he got lost cuz of his sickness, we never had to go out huntin’ for him. We just turned on the tracker thing and it told us
where he was. Now who wouldn’t wanna know where everyone was all the time?”
“I know, and it kept us from getting whippins too, cuz we always knew where daddy was and never got caught doing bad things. We got way less
whippins than we shoulda.” Jeb rubbed his butt for a minute, thinking about all the whippins he actually had gotten.
“I don’t know why they didn’t just get fixed either, Joe. The Gov’ment said they were gonna make us all better. That was even that
president’s slogan awhile back,member Joe? Trust us, we gonna make it all better. And they did! Member when you got that new arm, Joe? The one that
helped you lift really heavy things? It helped you do your job better. The things were so heavy to lift. But with your one arm, you lifted them like
they was nothing! Member Joe?” Jed starts making chopping movements with his arm, as if chopping had anything to do with the dock loading job Joe
held 25 years ago.
“And remember when they fixed my eye joe? It was done for and they gave me that new shiny one. With all the “zoom in, zoom out” stuff like that
camera that Aunt Betty had while back. And then they put those zappers on everyone cuz they wanted to make sure everyone was doin there fair share.
That was the best thing ever. Cept for when people started getting zapped cuz they were slackin. That was funny though, when Billy decided to sit down
and he got zapped for it… ewww-ee! I almost crapped my pants when I saw that one.” Jed grabbed his sides and bent over with laughter. He had
almost forgotten about Billy getting zapped and how funny it was.
“Just like you said Joe, every year we get better, every year…. Dr. Mitchell said I was gonna be first in line to get that thing in my brain, the
one that is spose to make me think better. He said that this year they was gonna let me be first, and if it worked, than I was gonna be
the..um..prototype for everyone else. I was so happy to hear that. He said that if it worked, next year everyone would have one. But I was gonna be
first. What you think about that Joe?”
Joe had had enough by this time. He wasn’t too certain that he liked the idea about Jeb being the first at anything. What did Doctor Mitchell mean
by “if it worked?” And he wasn’t exactly sure what the word prototype meant. He’d have to ask Billy when they got back to the compound. But
for now, he was in a sour mood and just wanted to be done with this whole conversation. For some reason, this talk with Jeb made him feel uneasy.
Maybe it was the fact that Jeb was getting a new brain, or maybe it was the fact that people were getting zapped. Joe didn’t know what was wrong.
But, somewhere way back in his head, there was a spark of fear that came over him. Somehow, he knew that things were not as they were supposed to be.
And he was scared that maybe he hadn’t taken care of Jeb as well as he should have.
Joe looked down at the man on the ground. This guy was definitely 100 percent human. Then he looked at himself. He had had so many parts and pieces
added to him, he didn’t really know what he was. More metal than skin, more machine than man. And next year is when everyone would get their brain
part, if things worked out with his brother. Would there be anything human left of him after that?
He couldn’t think anymore. It was starting to hurt and everything was getting all mixed up in his head.
“Poke him with the stick, Jeb. Hurry up too, lest we get zapped for taking too long”
Jeb happily grabs the stick he previously had and starts to poke at the man on the ground over and over again. Circling and jabbing and yelling at
“Shoulda got all those new parts, shoulda let’em make you be better. Shoulda got all those new parts, shoulda let’em make you be better”