The Working People

Entry by: jaguar

10th March 2017
You sit there in your recliner chair and demand: ‘Explain yourself!’

Why should I? I haven’t broken your snowflakes in a blizzard rules. I know them off by heart. You have no right to haul me in here. You know you can’t ask to worm your way inside my mind. We gained that right only a few months ago but every one of us knows about it. The working people being offered that tiny scrap of dignity because the demand took the leisure people by surprise.

My birth parent said there used to be a caste in India known as the untouchables and she reckoned we were the same thing in this nation that keeps changing its name. Is it the English Kingdom now – just us, Calais and Northern Ireland? No one tells us directly. We’re still grease on the pavement rather than living, breathing beings.

I guess I’m lucky I had a birth parent to tell me those bitter truths. These days functionals, like me, are bred in laboratories. The same laboratories that decommissioned my birth parent when the muscle rigidity set in. It’s not worth maintaining the working people after a certain age, not cost effective because they do less and less and need more and more serotonin.

I don't feel like something that could be bred in a laboratory. A little mist on the glass of time. A nothing at all but the trouble is no one turned my self-seeking down. No one said you don’t matter to anyone else so you must align with this world and not matter to yourself. I’m so angry my blood has separated into red bombs. Look at me you ignorant, powerful idiot! Look before I ram your stupidity into your small, bigoted skull.

But I won’t do it physically. I’ve learnt your Achilles heel. Maintenance support I’m called, smiley Sarah. You all choose me from your many options. I sort your staff without a hint of criticism. I tell you which have reached the end of their productive lives. I help you order new ones, advise you on their technical features and whether they're value for money. I make you grow so dependent on me. It’s no great deal to share your passwords, your numbers. What does it matter – I’m almost a machine?

Except I remember being human. I was at the beginning. Being human meant choices, however black or white or narrowed. You can still do x or y. The humans chose to cut the amount of time and money they spent on our maintenance. It had consequences; it meant I made a calibration error. It’s been months since the working people received strong enough doses of serotonin to keep them content.

They have a new symptom to replace the lifelong diarrhea and muscle shakes – muttering. They are coagulating in groups in corridors, muttering at each other about how unhappy they are. Finally even you leisure people noticed. You rechecked the levels I check hourly and discovered what I already know – the working people are no longer happy.

‘Explain yourself!’ You bark at me as if an increase in volume will get a different response. You hold the screen with the serotonin levels so close to my eyes I have to lean back to focus on it. A long flat line.
‘It’s stable.’
‘At the wrong level!’

You are so stupid I can see the thoughts wade their way through your mind. Can you decommission me? Yes but I know too much, you don't have a working person who could replace me. You're remembering my advice to go for the cheaper models, the less capable ones. Could I have done that deliberately? Your eyes narrow but your pupils remain enormous like mine used to be. The slang term for us was Big Eyes, it was the quick way of telling whether a person was working or leisure class. Have you noticed that mine have narrowed down to pinpricks?

I try to reassure you. ‘My brain hasn’t been scanned this year. I thought that was the correct level. Is it possible my calibration mode is incorrectly set? I had that accident, remember? I wasn’t checked afterwards.’

You frown at the mention of my accident. You know I should have been checked. ‘Well I can’t believe you’d do it deliberately. Make yourself and your kind unhappy? Why on earth would you do that?’

I want to tell you so badly I have to force my lips together so no words escape. In the old days happiness was the unattainable target for my kind. It was a rare commodity, something we glimpsed and lost throughout our lives. So your leader decided that the only way to keep the masses compliant and functional was to make them happy. You supplemented our diet with serotonin, gave us just enough resources to survive, made us focus on our baser emotions until we were dancing around like idiots.

We don’t dance for very long. When our original body parts wear out they are replaced with metal and plastic. It’s the nerves that do for us in the end. They stop hearing the messages from our brains, our muscles are so clogged with drugs they stop responding. Then you leisure people send us to the factories and get a new model. You like a bit of novelty, you look forward to replacing us.

We all like a bit of novelty. That’s why I turned the serotonin down for us and up for your kind. Have you stopped noticing what's happening around you, stopped working towards a better future for you and your descendants? You've woken up a bit too late. We’ve had enough of happiness, we no longer value it. What the working people crave now is anger so I'm spreading it around.