Unplugged

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Unplugged is a short story set in a dystopian future where people completely rely on their phones.

Submitted: August 01, 2016

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Submitted: August 01, 2016

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Monday. I sprung up as my alarm clock went off. I blindly reached for my phone to turn it off. Then, as everyone else did first thing in the morning, I plugged my phone’s cord into the small hole (or outlet, I suppose) in my neck. A loud “ding!” went off in my ears as my phone told me I had a text message.

June: Jeff? You up yet?

It was from my lovely wife, June. I smiled as I looked at her profile picture. It was of a woman with beautiful, short, brown hair and eyes that always seemed to smile. I assumed it was a picture of her. My fingers seemed to be flying as I sent her a reply.

Jeff: Yeah. Gonna head to work in a minute.

June: Okay, love u!

Jeff: Love u

I opened up my “Getting Around! v2” app and patiently waited for it to load. Once it did, I used it to navigate around town and head to work. It showed me exactly where I was, where others were, and everything else around me. The app told me there was a bus right in front of me. I stepped on to the bus and the app showed my little avatar entering the bus. I sat down on a seat and played a game on my phone as I waited for the bus to arrive at my destination.

 

About ten minutes later, my phone told me I had reached my workplace. I was a police officer and my job was to go through others’ text messages to make sure nothing suspicious is going on. I entered the building. Text messages flooded my phone.

Mark: Hey Reed!

Jim: Jeff Reed, how’s it going?

Pam: On time as usual, huh Reed?

As usual, I replied.

Jeff: Hey

Jeff: It’s goin’ good? u?

Jeff: Haha, yup

I opened up the app on my phone titled “Work.” It would show me text messages from someone's conversation and I could either approve, report, or text the person a warning. I’ve never had to report anyone. Okay, first conversation. Jane and Will Henders.

Jane: How’s work going, honey?

Will: Honey, you know you aren’t supposed to text me at work

Jane: I know…:(

Will: THEN STOP DOING IT >:(

Jane:...love u…<3

I started to text the couple each a warning. Jane violated a law and Will used all caps and a mad face in the same sentence.

Jeff: Hey, Jane, do not violate another law, or you WILL be in trouble. And Will, please do not use all caps AND a mad face in the same sentence.

Jane: Srry…

Will: Heh, won’t happen again, Mr. Police Officer!

Okay, next conversation. Lilian Winged and Paul Gilbert.

Lilian: Hi, Paul. It’s me, Lilian from school.

Paul: Yea, Ik, y so much commas & formality?

Lilian: Nevermind that...say, have you ever unplugged yourself?

Paul: Wha? That’s strictly against the law! r u insane????

Lilian: Well, what if there’s more to the world? I want to do things for myself, see and experience things! Not have a stupid app do it for me…

Paul: Im gonna call the cops!

Lilian: Go ahead.

Questioning the most strict law of our society? Report. However, my finger never touched the big red ‘report’ button. Instead I pushed the warning button that let me send messages to anyone in the conversation.

Jeff: Tell me more.

Lilian: Mr. Jeff Reed? Who are you?

Jeff: It doesn’t matter. Lilian Winged, tell me more.

Lilian: But...isn't questioning the society’s laws against the law?

Jeff: Yes, and I’m a police officer. So, tell me more or I’ll report u.

Lilian: ‘You,’ not ‘u.’

Jeff: Fine.

Well, I’ve never actually unplugged, but I heard it’s strange. I heard it’s like an app, but you can do so much more.

Jeff: Is that all?

Lilian: Yeah.

Jeff:...Dang.

I don’t know what came over me. I was extremely conflicted. My brain said “Jeff, you are happy. Don’t give that all up just because you are curious!” But my heart told me “Jeff, you are happy, but you have to make a choice. You can either live blissfully ignorant or live painfully knowledgeable. And I don’t think you want to be ignorant. So, do it.” I knew my heart was wrong. It always was.  

Jeff: I’ll do it.

Oops. I was starting to regret my decision. However, I felt this was something I had to do. This could be my purpose, my reason to live.

Lilian: Then I shall do it, too. I have a secret. Outside of town, there is a giant building. It’s not marked on the map. I’m sending you directions. We’ll met there. Make sure you take a good look at the directions, because once you unplug, there’s no going back. Understand.

Jeff: I understand.

Jeff: Good. I’ll meet you there.

Well Jeff, you sure got yourself in a big mess. I guess there is no going back. But, to be honest, that doesn’t bother me one bit. I mean, I was just like everyone else, I had nothing of value and I had a job anyone can have. I did have a wife, though. However, as I thought about it, I truly knew nothing about her. She was a stranger. A nobody. Nothing. Worthless. Just like everybody else. Heck, if she died, I wouldn’t care. Suddenly, I felt empty. Everything felt empty. June and I’s text messages and heart emojis were empty. They meant nothing. Nothing. “

I pulled the phone cord out of my neck hole after getting a good look at the directions Lilian sent me. I looked around. As I walked to the designated meeting area I felt something. It was an odd sensation. Almost like I was choking. A noise came out of my mouth. Then another one. And another one. I felt like the sad-face emoji and I imagine I looked like it, too. Water rolled down my cheeks as I thought about my empty life and my empty wife. I had as much as everyone else, so why bother having anything at all? I made it to the meeting spot. There stood a girl that looked like an profile picture, only living. Lilian. She had brown hair that flowed with the wind and a simple white dress that seemed to whisper. She held her hands behind her back and smiled as she walked over to me.

“Jeff Reed.” She had a very quiet voice, it was unlike anything I had ever heard.

“Lilian Winged?”

“You made it.” She came closer to me and wrapped her arms around me. That’s when I noticed her hand came very close to the small port-hole in my neck.

 

“Unplugging is against the law.”

I felt myself go limp as the word “ERROR” took over my vision. As I fell limp to the ground, I realized others must have suffered this fate before. I was not the only one. I was just like everyone else. And that was the last thought I ever had.

 


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