A golden voiced narrator blared from the TV set.
“Be stronger, fitter, smarter and happier with a Sporty Fit. Simply strap one on your wrists and don’t forget to register all your detailed information and you are on your way to health and happiness. The Sporty Fit is sleek and cool looking. Wear it on your wrist and it will tell you everything. Steps in a day, calories burned, how hard you worked out, how you slept and your horoscope. Don’t be left out, don’t be one of those tired and lazy saps who don’t have a Sporty Fit. Everyone Wants a Sporty Fit and soon the whole world will have one. Get your Sporty Fit today!”
“You know those things are just some government plot for mind control” Dave said with a laugh. “Yeah they get everyone with one of those on their wrists and then boom someone throws a switch somewhere and then we are all robots.”
“Yeah that’s what I am just a government clone dude, oh please give me a break.” Thomas held up his shimmery silver grey wrist band with three small colored lights that flashed sporadically when he moved. Green, blue and red.
“See it’s working. This thing is awesome it tracks all my movements and records everything. All my steps, my heart beat, lung capacity, calories burned. It even records how I sleep during the night and gives me suggestions for better sleep. You are just jealous because you know you are one of those “lazy saps” that the guy was talking about. And how about the last time you warned me about the big asteroid that was going to hit the earth. That day came and went and here we are still.”
Both Dave and Thomas sat on the new overstuffed couch feet on a low slick glass coffee table facing the new 62 inch curved TV monitor. A commentator was droning on about some sports event they were not really watching.
Dave grabbed his brown glassed long necked half empty beer, took a swig and laughed.
“Ok man, but when they try and take over the world with those things just remember I warned you. But then how could you remember because they will have control of your brain.”
“Ah come on man…Can we just watch the game. And who the hell are ‘they’ anyway?
“Oh you know ‘them’ that secret society that’s been screwing up the world since the beginning of time.”
Dave was a stocky husky police detective who started out on the beat 25 years ago. He was a good detective and had received honors for solving some of the most difficult cases in the city. His hobby was studying and reading up on conspiracy theories everything from the Yeti to Paul McCartney is dead.
“Ah yeah right. The Masons or the Illuminati or maybe the Boy Scouts. Woo!” Thomas spoke mockingly.
“Ok Tommy boy, but again don’t say I didn’t warn ya!” Dave held his beer just under his lip for a minute, he could smell the warm flat smell of alcohol and hops. He took one last swig of the beer and popped up from the overstuffed couch. He rubbed his salt and pepper curly hair. “Well Mr. Sporty Fit I gotta get my ass home before Jen gets back. Still gotta fix that leaky kitchen faucet”. Thanks for the beer. Tell Megan ‘Hey’.”
“I will if the government hasn’t invaded my brain before she gets home.” Thomas held up his Sporty Fit strapped tightly on his wrist. He shook it and green blue and red the lights flashed. “Then you my best friend since first grade, a decorated war hero and police officer… I will be counting on you to come and save me from “them”.
Dave laughed as he headed for the door. “I got you man”. Out the door in his car and then he was gone.
The golden voiced pitch man was back again flowing from the TV speakers and filling the room like a river of sound.
Everyone wants a Sporty Fit. Have you got yours yet? Be the best you can be as the Sporty Fit tracks your every move and monitors your brain waves while you sleep. Have a better love life, become smarter and be the strongest you can be. The Sporty Fit talks to your phone, computer, tablet, any device you have. It monitors your whole life. Don’t be left out get your Sporty Fit today. Strap it on and don’t forget to register to activate all the life altering benefits. Remember Everyone wants a Sporty Fit.
Thomas smiled and then laughed and thought “Yeah everyone wants one except that loser Dave”
He shut off the TV and headed upstairs to his new master bedroom in his new house with all new furniture.
Thomas was a young strong man in his late 30’s who had climbed the corporate ladder of economics. He was the model kid, the model student who became the model employee. He was the guy that other guys hated in secret, but liked in public because they wanted to be cool and perfect like him too. He worked out at the gym daily, ate the perfect diet, drove a spotless Audi and also owned a retro Porsche restored perfectly and kept spotlessly clean. He wore dry-cleaned white shirts and perfectly pressed dress pants and sport coats and always had excellently knotted ties. His slightly greying dark hair was always cut impeccably and combed superbly. That was his life everything had to be perfect and he was always looking at the latest technology to help achieve absolute perfection. As soon as he heard about the Sporty Fit he was the first to get one and used and wore it proudly at the office. He had recently been promoted to President of the World Bank Center.
He slipped into his silk pajamas while listening to Eric Clapton on the wireless Bluetooth stereo.
It’s late in the evening, she’s wondering what clothes to wear She puts on her make-up and brushes her long blonde hair
Then he saw the flash of headlights through the curtain and heard the familiar mechanical purr of Megan’s Mercedes Benz, there’s the slight hum of the auto-garage door and the low thud of it closing. Then the double ‘BEEP’ of the car lock. He listened as the door from the garage to the house closed and he heard her delicate footsteps heading up the stairs.
“How was the game?” Megan asked with a voice that sent a buzz down his back.
“Ah, it was a game. I don’t even know who won, Dave cut out before it was over. He said ‘Hey’ by the way. How was the bridal shower and how’s Jen? Dave was worried he was going to be on her shit-list because he had something that had to be fixed, oh yeah it was the faucet in the kitchen. He was talking conspiracy theories again.”
Megan moved across the room like a beautiful shadow in the dim light. She wore an exquisite one piece laced dress with straps that hung flawlessly around her silky tan shoulders. She bent half way toward Thomas and kissed him briefly and softly on the lips. Then straightening she shook her head.
“What was it this time? Aliens in the White House?”
“He was hassling me about my Sporty Fit. Said it was just a tool for the government to take over our minds. What a dumbass!” Thomas reached for her and held her close feeling her perfect body and smelling the priceless perfume she wore. She was his perfect love. The model wife who would give him perfect kids.
She laughed an intoxicating laugh and cried out “How does he come up with these things” She held up her right wrist and waved…green, blue and red lights flashed through the darkness of the room. “Look the government is taking over my brain, Ooh!” Megan laughed again hysterically.
Thomas pulled her down on the bed the lights of both their Sporty Fits began to flash passionately and did so for the next 30 minutes as they burned calories and achieved their daily fit goal. 3 a.m. Somewhere in an unknown location in a sleek secretive looking building there are lights flashing around the clock from a multitude of machines. There are millions of buttons. An anonymous hand reached in the darkness and pushed one of the buttons.
Megan and Thomas were both in a deep sleep next to each other under the perfectly expensive silk sheets. Thomas was sleeping fitfully, tossing and turning violently. All at once His eyes flew open and he sat up in the bed like a corpse that had forgotten it was dead. His eyes were wide but un-moving, no blinking just in a frozen stare. He got up and dressed in his black sweats and grabbed a black canvas bag from the closet. Like a stealthy burglar he was down the stairs and in the car and gone. Megan didn’t move a muscle and just kept on sleeping.
Thomas pulled in the parking lot of the World Bank Center. In a fast nervous pace he headed to the door using his security key he swiped it in the key reader. There was a swoosh and a click and a green light on the door as he pushed his way through. He then walked to the main computer room and put his thumb on the reader a digital voice spoke his name. “Thomas Baines. Approved for entry”.
Another swoosh and click the door opened and he was in the main computer room of the World Bank Center. This was the place where accounts could be accessed, where anyone’s money could be transferred or manipulated anywhere in the world. He mechanically walked and sat at a terminal and began typing in access codes. Then he began to access large international accounts with billions of dollars and was transferring them to another mysterious account. Security cameras had seen him and the two guards on duty were alerted by a non-stop buzzing alarm. Both had been sleeping at the back station where they couldn’t be seen. Like two big bumbling dogs they tried to shake off the slumber. Bobby Jakes was just a young kid trying to make his way through school and working this night job. The other guy was in his late 50’s Jimmy Justice but everyone called him JJ.
“Shit, what’s he doing here now?” JJ said with a sleepy slur.
“That’s Mr. Baines. Even he isn’t supposed to be here and in THERE at this time of night” Bobby jumped to his feet and started pacing. “What do we do, what do we do?” His voice wavered and cracked like he was back in Jr. High School.
“He’s the president of the whole damn bank. We don’t do nothing” JJ used his feet like two great punctuation marks as he placed them back on the desk. He folded his hands behind his neck and started to close his eyes again.
Bobby’s eyes went wide as quarters and he gasped. “Nobody’s supposed to be in there and our job is to stop anyone who tries”
JJ spoke with his hat down over his eyes. “Well, be my guest kid. Cuz that’s the president of the bank, so I say whatever he is doing in there at 3:30 am in the morning is none of our damn business.”
“We have to go and see. What if this is a test? What if he is doing this just to see if we are doing our jobs huh? Did you think about that?”
JJ jumped up like a drunk in a bar when the last call goes out. “You may have a point kid. Let’s go but be really careful. Something seems as weird as all hell about this”.
They walked as catlike as two clumsy security guards could through the halls. Finally they made it to the entrance of the main computer room. Bobby put his thumb on the reader. The digital voice rang out: “Bobby Jakes approved for entry.” Swoosh, click and they were in.
Thomas sat staring at the terminal surrounded by the dusky blue light of artificial intelligence. His Sporty Fit lights sporadically broke through the dull haze of computer screens Green, blue and red.
“What’s he doing?” JJ whispered.
“He’s hacking accounts, obviously. Man his blood pressure must be really going, just look at his Sporty Fit, flashing like a mother.”
“His Whaaaa” JJ reacted in a snap.
“On his wrist, it measures everything heartbeat, pressure, how many steps and how you sleep, you know that guy on TV who says, ‘Everyone wants a Sporty Fit’.” Bobby did his best imitation of the golden voiced announcer.
“Oh more of that technology bullshit, I don’t need it. When I wake up in the morning I don’t need no damn wristy thing to tell me how I slept. I know by the way I feel and that’s just fine with me. Because coffee cures any problem I may have had with my sleep.” JJ turned toward Thomas.
Bobby grabbed his shirt. “What are you going to do.?”
JJ shrugged his old bony shoulders. “I am going to check in. Like you said let him know we are doing our job.”
“OK but let’s just be careful here, something doesn’t feel right.” Bobby let go of JJ’s collar and the two walked as slow and nonchalant as possible.
“Well hey there Mr. Baines sir.” JJ blurted out with half of a panicked laugh. “Surprised to see you here so early sir.”
Bobby then interjected. “We knew the minute you were in the building, yes sir, but we saw it was you and you were cleared to enter the secure places. But yes sir we just wanted to make sure everything is alright sir.”
Thomas remained motionless and focused like a machine on the computer screen. His fingers moved like jointed metallic spider legs across the key board.
“Sir?” Bobby then raised his voice and his hand instinctively reach for his weapon.
Thomas still made no move but continued trance-like working away on the terminal.
JJ stepped further ahead throwing his voice as if a ventriloquist towards Thomas.
“Sir, you alright? Is something wrong? Well, um I am afraid uh sir we have to ask you to stop what you um are doing and stand away from the terminal sir.”
Bobby’s eyes widened again this time like half dollars. It was getting real now. He knew that no one was allowed on the terminals in the secure room without advance clearance. Not even the newly appointed president of the World Bank Center. But then the president of the bank was the only one who could give clearance. His brain was all muddled up and his spine was tingling cold. He backed up his lead man.
“He’s right Mr. Baines sir. We had no advance clearance from you of um I guess you being here. Uh at this hour I mean sir.”
Thomas was as unresponsive as a rat in a snapped trap.
Bobby gripped harder on his gun as sweat filled the palm of his hand. He looked at JJ and it looked like his eyes were watering, but JJ had already pulled his gun.
JJ blurted again.
“Sir we are going to have to ask that you log out and step away.” Then in a softening tone, he added. “Let’s just move on out to the hallway and we can get this all straightened out.” Now he moved towards Thomas and slowly grabbed onto his shoulder. Baines whirled around without saying a word. His eyes were like frozen terrors locking onto to JJ. He grabbed his wrist with an inhuman strength.
Gasping JJ cried out. “Send the damn alarm kid!”
Bobby moved like a young athlete and pushed the button near the door that alerted the police that there was a 211 in progress at the World Bank Center. This would send the police responding to a robbery in progress with their guns ready.
Just as Bobby pushed the button, Thomas Baines reached in his black duffel bag. All at once all lights in the building went out. It was instant blindness. Then the sound of four shots followed the brief white flashes of a gun.
Thomas rolled over in bed as crisp blue morning light filtered perfectly through the window shades. Megan was already up and slipping on an overly expensive slinky gown. He moaned slowly and opened his eyes.
“Hey sleepy head”, Megan made her way around the bed like a sleek jungle cat on the prowl. She bent slowly over and kissed his head. She pulled up fast. “You feel hot and sweaty. You ok? You sleep alright?’
Thomas stretched long and slow and let out another low moan. “I am alright. Really. I am. It’s just…well””
“I had the strangest dream last night. It seemed so real. Oh it’s probably nothing” he pushed a button on his Sporty Fit then slapped his thigh with his other hand. “Well there you go! Sporty says I had one of the best sleeps of the week. So I guess the dream was just some really good REM sleep. So, now that I am rested so well according to Sporty. We can pick up where we left off last night.” He grabbed Megan’s perfectly shaped legs and put his head into her waist and felt the blood of her body pulsating through him.
Megan laughed and pushed away. “Well that might be possible but I have my early appointment at the science research center and you are going to be late for that meeting with Mr. Orwell today.”
“Shit, that’s right. How could I forget? I mean the guy’s only like the chairman of the World Bank board.” Thomas jumped up and grabbed a towel, in minutes he had left the warm sudsy comfort of the shower and was already shaved and straightening his tie in front of the sleek, new vanity mirror.
He ran downstairs and in record time had chugged down a nice healthy smoothie. Then the door rang sounding like a mechanical cathedral bell on a Sunday morning. Thomas opened it and there was Dave standing at the door with his police badge glaring in the new day sun. “Dave, man it’s early for you to be here. Go in grab some coffee if you want but I gotta move. Big meeting with Mr. Orwell this morning.”
Dave stood expressionless on the front porch staring at Thomas. “Before you go running off, have you watched the news this morning?”
“Not now man, no time. I should already be in the car and gone”. Thomas was trying to swing around Dave on the porch steps. Dave stepped in front and blocked him. Emotion filled Dave’s eyes and his voice as he pushed Thomas back in the house.
“We got a call at 3:45 am this morning. Our officer’s responded to a 211 at a business.”
Dave, grabbed with force at Thomas’s wrist turning it and holding the Sporty Fit up in his face. The Sporty Fit flashed a quick green, blue and red. Thomas felt pain shoot up his arm like hot lightning.
“Ouch, man really, come on.” he yelped.
Dave pushed Thomas in front of the television and reached down to hit the power button. In one strong flip he turned Thomas towards the screen.
Now Thomas couldn’t help but see what was in front of his eyes.
There on the TV screen was a picture of the bank. His bank. The World Bank Center. And the building was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of police cars with lights flashing, their colors like a bouncing staccato on the damp dark streets.
There was a ticker headline at the top of the screen.
BREAK IN AT WORLD BANK CENTER TWO SECURITY GUARDS SHOT DEAD
Thomas stood in front of Dave like a frozen duck. Megan walked into the room. Dave tightened his grip on Thomas’s wrist as he reached for handcuffs.
Then the golden voiced announcer could be heard from the television set.
Everyone wants a Sporty Fit…have you got yours yet?
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Just a little fun story with a frightening moral. Have our devices taken over our lives?
I live in the Pacific Northwest. A small community with farms and antique shops. Lots of rivers and lakes and these are some of the themes I like. I am a technical writer by trade so poetry offers me an escape from the more mundane industrial articles I work on day to day. I love music and am a classic rock fanatic. Love good books and stories too.