It is 6.34 am and optimal sleep  has been reached.

“You are awake now!” a digital voice commands without

humanity. And I am rolled to the edge

of the cradled bed. “Your safety is our

priority,” it claims.


But I know. On this day, that

my humanity is my downfall.

My downfall is being human.


Mechanically showered,

washing away the yellow stink

of the night-time, I am dressed

and put on my feet. Cold grabbing steel

at my elbow as I shuffle forward

on arthritic feet, forwards onto the



And sat in a seat, next to a woman

in polyester and wool,

who smiles generously. “Do you

remember the girls who used to do

this? Those bitches!” she confides.

“They cared only about earning enough

to get high!”


Chest heaving with smoker’s joy, I crane around

my stiffened neck and slowly, I can focus on her.

“At least they were human!” I reply but she laughs,

a wobbly gurgle in her throat.

“Only just,” she said.


As the drawer in my chair swishes open,

my day’s high arrives. A rainbow

of pills which I put in my mouth, one by one.

Swilling them round, I let them melt, remembering

the dark silk of chocolate. Then that soulless voice in my chair,

“Please swallow pill 102!”


There are no secrets, here.




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