So this story is a bit on an experiment for me. It’s in the first person, which is something I don’t do very often when writing fiction. The other thing is that this story is actually based off a movie called Visioneers. The premise of dreams and exploding, and the Jeffers Corporation all come from the movie. It’s on Netflix Instant Watch right now, I recommend it. Plus it stars Zach Galifinakis, so that’s a bonus.
I am a terrorist. Or a violent dissenter. A Crazy. The Enemy. It changes depending on the talking head that night on the network news.
I am all of these things because I have dreams. Not dreams in the “When I grow up…” sense, but dreams as in when I am asleep. No healthy people have had dreams in something like 15 years.
That’s the first symptom, dreams. Once you start having them it means that at some point in the very near future you are going to explode. Literally. Like, your head blows up like a bunch of TNT. The collateral damage has killed many, with millions of dollars of property damage. And I could go off at any time. That is why I am all of these things.
No one knows exactly why people are exploding. Nor do they know why those who explode begin to suffer from dreams. The only thing that is certain is that the two are somehow connected. The leading theory is that the explosions are caused by a build up of stress and overall negative emotion.
And I certainly fit that description. Once I started having dreams I went to therapy sessions. He told me to start writing my thoughts down as a way to release my negativity in small, safe bursts. He said to just write about my life. He told me this a few months ago, but hey, better late than never right?
The Jeffers Corporation is probably the source of most of my negative emotion. It’s where I work. Mr. Jeffers subscribes to the philosophy in which “Mindless productivity = happiness.”
I am a level 3 Visioneer. It is my job to read document after document and then fill out a form stating that I have read them. That’s it. I am not to correct, the documents nor am I allowed to critique in any way. Just read them.
About five months ago, all of the employees received a memo from Mr. Jeffers telling us that Daniel Smith, a Visioneer down in level 2 had exploded. There was to be a small memorial service for him in the cafeteria that day. I didn’t attend. I had never met Daniel Smith. That was the first time I had heard of anyone exploding.
But reports started coming in the next day. It was 16 people, I think, that exploded. It was explained that they were “suffering from dreams.”
About a week later I had my first dream. At first I had them only occasionally, but they became more frequent as time passed. Now I dream every night. It’s always the same. I picture myself as George Washing as I/he prepares to and then crosses the Delaware.
So I went to the doctor, who told me that the medical community had no preventative measure for exploding. It was then that I was referred to therapy sessions. They had me going twice a week to get my stress in check. All the while reports were coming in night after night of more people exploding:
“A man in NYC exploded in the subway today, killing 5 and injuring 11.” “A woman in Tulsa exploded when the grocery store was out of her brand of deodorant, injures 7.”
The therapy sessions were going nowhere. My symptoms started getting worse. Dreams aren’t the only symptom. Overeating and impotence have been known to manifest as explosions become imminent. Since my first dream, I’ve gained 15 pounds. As for impotence, well, let’s just say I haven’t had so much as morning wood for a month.
At the Jeffers Corporation the explosions started to become a serious problem. Each day we were given memos listing the employees who had exploded the previous day. We were all given these teddy bears that we were required to hug if we felt at all stressed or negative in any way. The bears squeaked when you hugged them.
I’ll never forget the look on John’s face when the bears were handed to us. John worked at the desk facing mine. It was a look of ultimate despair, like he wanted to cray, physically trying to cry but couldn’t, which made him want to cry more. John gave the bear one squeeze, then exploded. I was thrown into the wall.
Those bears were just the first step made by the Jeffers Corporation to quell people’s negative emotions. It escalated quickly. The Jeffers owned media outlets began to report that those who were exploding were trying to disrupt the country. We sought to destroy everything. We became terrorists.
And that’s when the crackdown began, when the “T” word was finally used. The “attacks” reached the 100,000 mark when the government (on behalf of the Jeffers Corporation) began the official policy on those exhibiting symptoms of explosion.
The Jeffers Corporation made the Inhibitors, which were installed on people with symptoms. They prevented any negative emotions from rising in the wearer and replaced them with happy thoughts. Many people had Inhibitors installed voluntarily. Others went into hiding. People were told to report “suspects” to the authorities for Forced Inhibition.
I did not go and get and Inhibitor placed on me. Frankly, I find the things disturbing. You see more and more people wearing them everyday; at work, on the street, at McDonalds, in the grocery store. You see them anywhere there used to be a sense of discontent. It has been replaced with content, but a false content. At least when there was discontent you get a sense that someone is alive, on the inside. That they can feel, sometimes strongly, that they have hopes. That they have dreams. Dreams of a better existence, something better than this vapid 9 to 5, mindlessly productive life that I live.
That inner life is now replaced with an empty smile and dead eyes.
Luckily when the government required all therapists to disclose those with symptoms to the authorities, mine had already exploded. But it’s just a matter of time before they find me. Mr. Jeffers required all his employees to take an evaluation last week. It was designed to flush out any dissenters from hiding. I failed it, I know I did. I didn’t even take the test, I drew a picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware. I don’t know why I didn’t just take it, why I didn’t lie. I guess I just don’t want to anymore.
I haven’t been to work since. I locked myself up at home and just decided to write. I have a reason to now, I didn’t when I was first told to. Back then I thought my life was meaningless, now I know it for a fact. But that doesn’t matter. For better or worse, it’s my life and I shouldn’t be forced to change it. I’ve been filled with negative emotion and stress all my life. It’s who I am! At least I can feel something right now, even if it is just stress, depression and rage. It’s better than nothing, right? And I feel other things too, like passion. It makes me human, for better or worse. And now I hear a pounding at the door. It’s the police. They’ve come for me. Funny, I was afraid of exploding, but hearing that knocking, and knowing what comes next…exploding doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
What a nice day.