When human minds were connected to machines, not everyone was able to afford living as a humanoid robot surrogate. Most people had to operate school buses, canneries, bottle sorters, all from the comfort of their homes (while plugged into the USB 8.0 augment jack at the tops of their spines). It took some training to figure out how to operate a body wholly unlike their usual forms, but people adapted, when they needed the work. And after the Work for All bill passed due to overpopulation and skyrocketing unemployment rates, traditionally automated work became human-run. For better or worse.
James worked as a series of vending machines attached to a gym chain. His mind could operate eighty at once–a hundred if pushed–and he was proud of his job. He provided bottle after bottle of sanitized water to thirsty gymgoers, proud that he was helping them get in shape. He also enjoyed watching them walk up to him–all eighty of him, with his eighty camera-eyes–while their chests rose and fell, sweat beading on their skin, dabbing themselves with towels. And when he chewed up their coins and spit out their bottles, he watched them suck at his offering, their heads thrown back, sweat-damp hair matted, their necks bobbing with each gulp.
Only at gyms could you find real human people, sweating real sweat, drinking actual liquid. These were the remaining few who did not live their entire lives in surrogate robotic bodies from the safety of their tiny apartments. They were real. They were authentic. Flesh, heavy breathing, heartbeats. They who weren’t afraid of death. Surrogates could be replaced. They couldn’t.
His parents always said he was wasting his life working the vending machines. He disagreed.
Day 239’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Gym bag,” “Human minds transferred to mundane machines,” and, “Vending machine.”
What a wacky dystopia I’ve created.