30 Mar

Geoff had taken no time at all to settle into the new city.

He was overwhelmed at first, intimidated by its grandeur and of the people who marched around the city smelling of ambition, success and stature. The first day there he crept about the place like an unwanted visitor, but the feeling soon passed and was replaced by a pride he’d never quite experienced. Although a nagging doubt remained.

The teleportation into the City would under normal circumstances have terrified Geoff, but still reeling from grief, the whole experience had almost bypassed him.

He quickly fell in love with his new home and was more than happy hanging about the place, a sensation he never would have dreamt possible during the darker days after the death of his parents. 

Geoff loved his new place of residence so much due to its modest yet spacious size and feel, it felt homely yet modern and it contained everything he needed and more.  The little touches did it for him. The voice activated lights, the voice activated curtains and in fact most things were voice activated including the dish washer, the TV, the washing machine and other items that didn’t require any effort to use manually.

For Geoff, it was a sign he had achieved a level of success never dreamed of.

In his first week he was given a grand tour of the city after an initial day of settling into his apartment. 

His head swam at the sheer size of it as the tour bus swung around the city in ever expanding circles. Geoff gasped and made ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ sounds, he even found himself clapping along with fellow inductees as they took in the magnificent sights and full range of resources, services and entertainment the city offered.

The bus tour was offered to citizens each day for the first week to assist familiarity, and Geoff, so impressed and bowled over with it all took the tour each and every day in order to feel completely at home in the City’s wider parameters.

There was one incident during a stop on one of the bus tours with a chap named Andy, but Geoff who normally would have floundered and been affected by such an incident for some considerable time after, had shrugged it off easily enough.

Back at his apartment he also had a virtual induction pack. Everybody had one and each pack was personalised.

Geoff’s pack focused on all the mod cons his apartment had to offer followed by what was appraised by researchers as Geoff’s personal tastes, and where he could find all the outlets that catered for such preferences. The pack went on to inform him of his job details, where he would work and what his job entailed exactly. That wasn’t too complicated. Geoff would be doing what he’d always been doing, data entry.

Geoff was surprised to learn that he’d be located, in the most prestigious building of them all, ‘HQ.’

Not for the first time that week Geoff was left aghast as the induction pack showed him in detail the magnificence of the HQ building.  The pack informed him he had a choice where he wanted to work within the building. 

This was a big decision for Geoff. He could sit on an open plan floor and work alongside colleagues or have his own space to work within.  The pack made it clear that the choice was entirely Geoff’s, so Geoff had confirmed that he wished to work within his own space.

A part of Geoff wondered what it would be like to work closely with colleagues and pictured forming a social life. Going to parties, outings, joining little social clubs. He came out in a sweat and thought better of it.

Within moments Geoff had received a response to his choice, informing him his own space would be organised. The communication went on to suggest that perhaps Geoff would like to work in the basement area of the building.  The e-mail informed that the Square was aware of Geoff’s tinnitus issue and they had a nice eloquent space in the basement where the main server for all software was stored.  It went on to suggest that the server’s gentle hum could be most helpful in regards to Geoff’s tinnitus and would also allow them to have a reliable person within the vicinity of the server, who could contact maintenance should there be any issues. Not that they expected any.  

For this seemingly easy extra task, Geoff would receive a pay increase. 

Geoff agreed and he was informed that he would start next Monday and would be shown his office space in the basement and be given a work induction day before being left to his own devices.

The pack also went on to inform Geoff that his weekly supply of cannabis and wine would be delivered to his home every Friday as stipulated in his contract, before reminding him of the best places to pick up entertainment, console games and the recommended takeaways that catered for his tastes.

As the pack ran through any and everything Geoff could imagine, his leg bounced up and down excitedly while his face stretched in an expression that could be only be described as sheer ecstasy. His parent’s recent demise only popped into his head when he thought about picking up the phone and ringing them, proudly telling them of his new life.

He yearned for them then but acknowledged to himself that this was a healthy yearning. He was no longer in that pit of self- loathing and all-encompassing sorrow at the loss of his parents.

It was only at this point that Geoff realised he didn’t have a phone as such, there was a phone, but it only dialled within the city. Geoff checked the virtual induction pack menu for telephone details and the pack informed him that any phone devices could not be used for external calls outside of the city, i.e. the rest of the world, due to security risks and the ability of terrorists to trace numbers to a location.

There were similar controls in place for internet access. Any person there could access the internet, but some sites and pages were blocked should they carry an external risk.

Geoff thought no more of it. Who did he have to contact exactly? He had been a loner with no real friends and his new life here had everything he needed.    

When Friday arrived in the first week, his apartment door buzzed at five p.m.  Geoff happily trundled to the door, noting the difference in how he no longer dreaded the door being knocked or the door-bell ringing. He opened his apartment door and was greeted by a smiling courier with a package. “Good evening Mr Smith,” said the cheery courier. A personalised ‘Recreational Basket’ as promised, have a great weekend sir,” he continued as he handed over a neat looking thatched basket with a sliding cover protecting its contents. “Oh, why thank you very much,” Geoff replied as the courier jogged back to his van and waved farewell.

Geoff returned to his perfectly laid out living room, sat down on his sofa and slid back the basket cover. Geoff shook his head in silent amazement as he looked at the contents of the package. Laid out neatly were three bottles of red wine. Geoff lifted them from the basket then almost had a coronary as he spied labelled bags of various cannabis strains with rizla papers attached to each.

That evening Geoff rolled a joint of the softest, most mouth-watering weed he had ever rolled. He sank back into his couch while the cannabis warmed his blood and sent shivers down his spine, as it took his brain on the most delicious of hazy relaxed journeys.  I’m stoned immaculate, he thought, as he laughed and giggled at the way life had taken such a delicious turn.  He stared again at all the little bags of cannabis then picked up the note that was at the bottom of the basket and read it aloud:

Dear Geoff

We hope the contents match your requirements and that you enjoy all that it has to offer.  Should you have any issue with the content, or the amount provided for your weekly consumption, do not hesitate to contact your local community coordinator (contact details can be found within your virtual induction pack). Otherwise, we wish you a fantastic weekend and a productive first week at work.  Here’s to working with you Geoff, we’re proud and excited to have you and we’re certain you’ll love life here!  

Kind Regards

Proactive Square 

Geoff, giddy with joy and weed, fell about his sofa in fits of hysterical laughter.

When Geoff had finally calmed down, and this did take some considerable time, he ordered the best Chinese take away he’d ever eaten, drank from the finest bottle of wine he had ever tasted and voice activated every appliance in the house just because he could, before again bursting into fits of uncontrollable joy filled laughter.

As Friday night tip toed into the early hours of Saturday morning, Geoff put himself to bed, his first double bed.  It was so comfortable that Geoff was sleeping within moments.

While Geoff slept a smile spread across his face from ear to ear as he dreamed the dreams of one who had found his own personal nirvana.

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