art by Justine McGreevy
by Timothy Moore
Seven minutes until the numbers unveiled.
Danny slouched on a park bench and let the cold sleet sting his face. Tears tickled down the creases of his nose, and he tasted the salt on his lips. He knew he should be stronger; he knew he should be a lot of things.
Danny had always been a good kid, and he believed he grew into a good man. He always treated his girlfriends with respect and dignity; he always adored them. Megan was the latest to leave. That was four days ago.
All his friends knew it was coming--literally. He rubbed his arms and tried not to think about it anymore, tried not to let them see. The nano-sensors in his brain registered serotonin levels; the electrodes recorded his heart rate and muscle tension. Everything uploaded instantly, and streamed free to the world.
Five minutes till the numbers.
Danny rose from the icy bench and shuffled down the sidewalk. He thought of Megan, and how she seemed to love him at first. She said he was the most wonderful man she had ever known. She said her other boyfriends never really loved her--some even abused her. Now she was with Jason, who embraced the hedonistic lifestyle that others craved, apparently--last night his feed got sixteen million hits.
And Danny had to see it, had to feel it, and experience it. Danny's emotions were too tuned into Megan, and therefore couldn't stop the feed. His nano-sensors streamed Megan and Jason's entire night together--the party, the drugs, the sex. He had pounded his fist into his temples until they throbbed and bruised like dented apples, but the feed wouldn't shut off. Emotions downloaded like memories into his brain. He had gotten aroused from it, and tasted the churning nausea in his throat, simultaneously. He felt destroyed and imprisoned, and the world felt it with him, before laughing and changing the channel.