26 January 2023
The year is 3066. Having exhausted the supply of physically observable body parts for which to sell relief-from-shame serum, Unilever pioneers the first ads for bedazzled stomach lining and colon bleach.
“Are your organs ugly?”, they read.
Meanwhile, Philanthropist trillionaire badboy Tringus B. Pamplemousse is sipping nectar extracted from a philosopher’s stone, the formula for which he has patented.
His serfs are graciously allowed to lick the residue from his dirty wineglasses in exchange for good behavior. Dissidents and unionizers are vented directly into the atmosphere without trial.
In an op-ed for the Martian Times, which he also owns, he opines, “No one wants to work anymore.”
Elsewhere, a man named Mulch exchanges his plasma for company scrip. After the royalty payment owed to his parents for use of their intellectual property, he is left with just enough for a calzone, which he quarters and distributes evenly with his friends back at the encampment in the shadow of a completely vacant four story house.
They sleep soundly and relocate in the morning before Mars PD can round them up. The Unhoused Hunger Games (sponsored by Nabisco) begin next week.
Beverly passes a street performance on the way to her third job, and her hearing aid is disabled for 24 hours due to a breach of the Terms of Service. Her social credit account receives a copyright strike for participating in unauthorized music sharing.
Later that week, Mulch and his found family gleefully prod a wad of grey goo they found in the city water supply, dumped from beneath the autonomous iPhone factory.
They cut their calzones into fifths from now on, sharing them with the throbbing goo ball, too. It consumes them greedily, and it is growing.
They decide to name their new pet “Todd”, and they are happy.
On the other side of the city, Kori the intern tearfully confides in their Human Resources Team Lead that their CEO has made inappropriate advances toward them. It’s beginning to affect their ability to hit their quotas as a ChatGPT assisted gig economy therapist.
“I want you to know that we take these situations very seriously”, says the HR man, who then deploys the trap door under their seat.
Mars PD finally catches up to Mulch.
The department’s budget has recently been tripled, with funding reallocated after deprecating most social services. They’re excited to try out their new toys: self-driving taser dogs they bought from Boston Dynamics, which use facial recognition to identify the disenfranchised from the inherent sadness of their expressions.
They leisurely cruise behind Mulch as he flees, ignoring several urgent calls from dispatch and stopping only to shoot a real dog.
Several miles and thousands of volts later, the chase has drained Mulch of strength and all hope seems lost.
The officers browse social media and take selfies while kneeling on him. When they finally get bored, they leave him handcuffed on the pavement for a just a moment. As they’re buckling the seatbelts around their robo dogs (prisoners traditionally ride on the roof), a strange sloshing can be heard echoing through the overpass. They try for a moment to locate the source of the noise.
One of the officers looks up and screams. A great big ball of grey goo falls from the support beams, engulfing them both along with their Tesla. There is a sizzling sound, and then nothing, only the slow crawl and occasional, impatient horn of cars trapped in 18 lanes of rush hour traffic above.
When Mulch finally awakens, he finds Todd gurgling happily next to a shoe.
Todd is a good boy.