Wowee, it's been a while since I posted here. At work, we've organized a little #writers-retreat Slack room where some of us have been posting our work and writing challenges. This week, I posted a writing challenge for everyone. Some of you might be familiar with Chuck Wendig and his Flash Fiction Friday challenges. I did this one a few years ago, hit that shuffle button on your favorite music player/app and whatever song you land on is the title for your story. So, I did that again today and got "Re: Your Brains" by Jonathan Coulton. So, here goes!
I sat down at my desk and saw a memo on it and picked it up. I chuckled a bit as I saw the memo was titled, “Re: Your Brains” like that old Jonathan Coulton song. Man, my dad loved that song. It did seem like a strange title for a memo, though. Then, as I read the memo, I had the weirdest sense of deja vu. I felt like I had read this same memo before, though I didn’t know how that could be possible.
I glanced across the aisle to where my coworker Kyle was sitting. He saw me looking and smiled and waved. I saw a piece of paper sitting on his desk that I assumed was the same memo, but it didn't seem as if he'd read it. If he had, he would probably have been as freaked out as I was. It was a weird memo to say the least. Well, maybe he wouldn’t freak out. Kyle was nice, but a little vapid. I’m actually not sure how he got a job at a think tank. Now that I think about it, it was probably nepotism. To be honest, I didn’t know Kyle that well. I awkwardly waved back to him.
As I’ve hinted at, I work at a think tank for one of the biggest neurological research hospitals. You see and hear some weird stuff at these types of companies. For example, just last week, a headless chicken ran down the aisle between Kyle and my cubes. There are still blood stains on the carpet from where the neurologist tackled the chicken right outside of my cube. They're replacing the carpet next week. I don’t know what happened to the chicken afterwards.
Even at a neurological think tank, you don't ever expect to get a memo titled, "Re: Your Brains" and even if you did, you wouldn’t expect to have it tell you that your company has been given legal rights over your brains when you die. The memo was unclear as to what claims the company had to the other parts of your body, but it was hard to focus on that bit at the moment.
How does a company get legal claims on someone's brain matter you might ask? Well, being a neurological research think tank, the researchers need a lot of brains to study, both alive and dead. I've done some of the studies, the living ones obviously. They pay you a bit extra and all you really have to do is wear ridiculous contraptions on your head while they ask you all sorts of random, off the wall questions. It’s kind of boring, but the extra money is nice. I used it to lease a new car. It’s blue, I think. That’s funny, I can’t seem to remember what color my car is. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s blue. Or maybe green? Anyway, I had to get a hard top because they were out of convertibles, but it’s only a two year lease, so I’ll get a convertible when the lease runs out.
I'm getting off track, sorry. The point is, they need lots of brains and supplies are limited, especially for dead brains. Apparently not everyone wants people to experiment on their brains after they die. I know that I wouldn’t want that. Sure, harvest my organs to save some lives and whatnot, but my brain is not going into some lab when I die. Who knows what kind of inhumane experiments these scientists have concocted.
So, supplies were an issue and when some lawyers for the company found that out, they thought it would be a slam dunk to get the government to award the company the employees’ brains for use in their experiments after they die. Apparently, some numbskulls in the government thought that anyone working for a "think tank" ought to have known that having their brains harvested when they die was a known risk when taking the job. I can tell you that I never had that thought cross my mind when I took the job. Given a few months and probably millions of dollars, it's now codified into law. Representative government at work, folks.
Anyway, back to the deja vu for a minute. I have the feeling that this has definitely happened before, but I don't know how that's possible since the law was just passed last week. It was last week, right? Yeah, it was last week, the law passed on the same day that I bought my red car, September 18th, 2034.
I idly glanced at the calendar on my computer and saw that it said November 11th, 2037. That is weird because the memo in my hand dated September 25th, 2034. How could it have been three years since the law was passed? No, my computer must be wrong somehow. I got a two year lease on my orange car and it’s sitting out there in the parking lot right now, I just drove it into work this morning. I remember because I had to have the top up because it was raining pretty hard. I can barely see the windows from my cube, but I do see that the sun is shining. I thought it was supposed to rain all day.
I shrugged to myself as I glanced over to Kyle again and saw that his smile was empty and hollow and he seemed to sit as still as a statue. Then I saw that the blood on the carpet from the headless chicken was gone. Something about this whole situation was off. I dropped the memo on the ground as I jumped out of my chair to go over to his cube to shake him out of his stupor. Just as I was about to leave my cube, I heard a terrible grinding sound.
I looked up to the ceiling and watched with horror and amazement as it began to slowly melt towards me. I screamed and the world lost focus for a moment, and then…
I sat down at my desk and saw a memo on it and picked it up. I chuckled a bit as I saw the memo was titled, “Re: Your Brains” like that old Jonathan Coulton song. Man, my mom loved that song. It did seem like a strange title for a memo, though. Then, as I read the memo, I had the weirdest sense of deja vu.