Posted: November 20, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

“Brinks speaking.” A man’s voice answers almost immediately.

“Hey, Dad, you got a second?” I ask. A bus flies by in the instant there would have been a response. The roar of the diesel engine is all I can hear for a second. “Dad?”

“Yes. I’m here. What?”

“What do you know about physicals?”

“I know you need to stop calling me when you’re walking down the street.”

“Dad, c’mon.” He sighs heavily. It sounds like static in my ear.

“I know a little. I know that the non-invasive prostate exam they keep promising is bullshit.” I laugh. “Sure, it’s funny now. Wait til you have to start getting checked, then tell me how funny it is.”

“You’re probably right.”

“Son, do you know how long I’ve waited for you to say that?” My dad’s not really the sentimental type.

“You weren’t waiting. You just tell me you’re right,” I reply. “All the time.” He doesn’t reply. He never does when I catch him like this. “Anyway, the physical.”

“Right. Listen, we gotta make this fast. What’s wrong with you?”

“I got a clean bill of health.”

“What’d it cost you?”

“They paid me. The ad said it was a survey of some sort.”

“Sure it was. If you aren’t being sold something, you’re the product.”

“Yeah, you’ve said that before. Everyone says that.” I sigh. This isn’t really helping. I stop walking for a second and get my bearings. The doctor said to get food. I also need to get something to fix my broken door frame. I start heading for the nearby superstore with the floating smiley face in its advertisements. “Listen, Dad, there was something weird about that examination but I haven’t had one in a long time.”

“Did they take blood?”

“No. She stabbed me with the lancet, but she stuck the thing right into a scanner of some kind.”

“So they checked your DNA then.”

“She. I guess. Is that typical now?”

“What do you think?” I’m guessing that means no, a DNA scan isn’t typical. Dad asks another question. “What else did she do?”

“Took vitals. Listened to me breathe. Grabbed my equipment while I coughed. We went through a crazy-long list of possible allergies.”

“Did they inject you with anything?”

“No. I’m supposed to go to this other address tomorrow.”

“Ash, I have to go, but you listen. This thing you’re getting into sounds like a scam, so don’t do it. And when you ignore me and go in anyway, you ask a lot of fucking questions. A lot.”

“Alright, Dad,” I sigh. He’s right again, of course. There’s more going on here than a medical survey and I’m going in anyway.

“Seriously, kid. Be careful. Gotta go.”

“Bye, Dad.” I end the call. I’m just about to the store anyway.

I know I reposted some from last time. The lesson here is that I shouldn’t break halfway through a conversation the way I did. There wasn’t much left, and I planned on skipping the part where Asher goes to Walmart. No one likes to go there, so reading about it wouldn’t be that much fun. I know I missed a chance to mock the “People of Walmart” in Asher’s voice, but hopefully there’s enough comedic value in the rest of his life that you’ll forgive me.

I know I said that I’d eventually be creating a personal page to separate my messy reality from my messy creative stuff. I did that, and just failed to tell anyone.

  1. Seriously digging this prologue section of the story. Also, an unsolicited piece of design advice: In the Wikipedia age, red links look like broken links. I strongly recommend using a different color for your links.

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