“Drip on?” Abnesti said over the P.A.
“What’s in it?” I said.
“Hilarious,” he said.
“Acknowledge,” I said.
Abnesti used his remote. My MobiPak™ whirred. Soon the Interior Garden looked really nice. Everything seemed super-clear.
I said out loud, as I was supposed to, what I was feeling.
“Garden looks nice,” I said. “Super-clear.”
Abnesti said, “Jeff, how about we pep up those language centers?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Drip on?” he said.
“Acknowledge,” I said.
He added some Verbaluce™ to the drip, and soon I was feeling the same things but saying them better. The garden still looked nice. It was like the bushes were so tight-seeming and the sun made everything stand out? It was like any moment you expected some Victorians to wander in with their cups of tea. It was as if the garden had become a sort of embodiment of the domestic dreams forever intrinsic to human consciousness. It was as if I could suddenly discern, in this contemporary vignette, the ancient corollary through which Plato and some of his contemporaries might have strolled; to wit, I was sensing the eternal in the ephemeral.
I sat, pleasantly engaged in these thoughts, until the Verbaluce™ began to wane. At which point the garden just looked nice again. It was something about the bushes and whatnot? It made you just want to lay out there and catch rays and think your happy thoughts. If you get what I mean.
Then whatever else was in the drip wore off, and I didn’t feel much about the garden one way or the other. My mouth was dry, though, and my gut had that post-Verbaluce™ feel to it.
“What’s going to be cool about that one?” Abnesti said. “Is, say a guy has to stay up late guarding a perimeter. Or is at school waiting for his kid and gets bored. But there’s some nature nearby? Or say a park ranger has to work a double shift?”
“That will be cool,” I said.
“That’s ED763,” he said. “We’re thinking of calling it NatuGlide. Or maybe ErthAdmire.”
“Those are both good,” I said.
“Thanks for your help, Jeff,” he said.
Which was what he always said.
“Only a million years to go,” I said.
Which was what I always said.
Then he said, “Exit the Interior Garden now, Jeff, head over to Small Workroom 2.”
This reads like what would have happened if Harlan Ellison had lived long enough to be asked to guest-write for the next season of Black Mirror. Go read the entire beautiful, creepy, thing.