Hopeless young, and old – Friday’s 500

“You see Harrington,” Botchkin clears his throat, “the difference nowadays is that the oppressors (he extends his wrinkled index fingers like a prinking gymnast and moves them together to simulate a set of shotgun barrels, crosshair’d on Harrington), these little faux plastic cubicle walls, those emails in your Outlook, the inflated tax bracket for your overtime hours… the oppressors are invisible and unidentifiable and are chipping away at your mind (the gun goes down and he knock knock’s on his own frontal cortex). Throughout history, the overlords used to only be able to enslave the body… that’s all they had because the dream was too big, the mind of man was too mystical, the gods to everpresent. But now, now the sun has been fragmented into a thousand parts, and out of those parts, for whatever reason, very few of them are able to see through the blur of their own rays. It’s much more dangerous now because once Big Brother erases the great vision, blanks out the dream, it doesn’t matter what they do to the body. They used to send us into salt mines… now they have us mine for data.” The old man slings his coat over the multi-levered maxi-adjustable chair and seats himself down, removing a pair of worn black gloves. “Don’t stop digging Harrington, but don’t let them take your mind.” Botchkin keeps his back to the boy but continues. “Look over there, the first woman, filing her nails at the corner of Alligator Alley (the rows and rows of cubicles had to be delineated in some manner, and since the corporate meeting rooms each had a multi sequence’d alpha numerical pattern, the CEO at the time, being a naturalist when outdoors and an impotent lover while inside of them, determined it best, along with the help of six HR Analysts with a $5,000 budget, that animal alliteration would be best for office morale). Either she’s filing or looking at the phone dashboard for her reflection, but take a good look at her. Genevieve Pinsky. Now you know how to spot the people who no longer posses their own volition. You know what volition means Harrington?” The boy seizes up in his chair and thinks to talk but moves his fingers to type instead. “Of course you know what volition is. They said you’re a state graduate, smart kid, engineering. That’s all I know about you, I don’t presume to know anything more, at least until I get to know you, but I’ll assume you’ve still in possession of your mind until you start spreading nail polish and checking your hair in your computer monitors.” Botchkin laughs and Harrington continues typing. Then the young man glances over the stunted wall.

“Hey, that sounds great and all, but, uhh, do you mind if I put my headphones on. I have a lot I need to get done this afternoon.” It is Harrington’s second day, and Botchkin’s twelfth year. Botchkin offers no response and begins attending to the needs of his own keyboard, pit patting away, back from another lunch ending another conversation with another green tyro who was sure to end up face down in the gutter of Penguin Parkway.

Another casualty in the war.


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