She holds her I.D. before a scanner and the door unlocks.
‘Welcome back to Dimension Industries, Marjorie Fields. The director has a meeting scheduled for all personnel from the customer care department. It begins approximately at 8:00 am,’’ says a feminine Interactive Voice Response.
“Thank you Clarice. Have a good day.”
‘Same to you Ms. Fields.’
Marjorie crosses the lobby as holograms depict Anya, the first reborn, in diverse adverts. ‘Death no longer exists. Cryonic technology has allowed us to resurrect those from the past. And now, we revive those of the present. Please visit our website or call for-’
She enters the office to leave her bag before attending the meeting. She arrives just as Frederick Ghast arises.
“Welcome everyone! There’s good news for the 10th anniversary of our Reborn Series. It’s demand has increased by 40% this year. It’s all thanks to your devotion and hard work!”
Applause ensues. He continues as it dies down.
“Now the bad news. There will be overtime. This means longer sessions and work hours. We’ve proceeded with hiring new customer service reps but until then, these conditions are mandatory; you’ll be compensated. Any concerns?”
Murmurs scuttle throughout but no one objects. The extra salaries are highly desired. “Alright! Now that that's outta the way, let's discuss other matters...”
After the meeting, Marjorie sits at her desk, dons a headset and logs into her account. The date shows August 21, 5019. The time is 12: 30pm. A session prepares itself while information emerges:
Name: Beatrice Simmons
Family: Husband (John-calls him sweetie), Children (Alicia-16, Devin-9-calls him Dev)...
Area: California (local)
It outlines further details and exhibits illustrations for all individuals.
The session commences on a second monitor. The image of a window appears from a first person perspective: the view is horizontal. It shifts to an upright position and soon the view is in motion, exploring the room until reaching a wardrobe. Hands extend to unlock it and sift through the clothing items.
“Mom!” The vision turns to the right showing Devin grinning excitedly in the hallway. “Hurry up and come downstairs. Dad made pancakes for lunch!”
‘Be right there Dev,’ Beatrice answers. After a few minutes the field of vision travels outside the room and down a flight of stairs. In the kitchen/dining room, both children are seated while John flips a pancake in a pan. He takes it to the table and drops it on to a stack.
“You’re up.” He walks over and leans in. A text erupts on the information screen: kissed on the lips.
‘Sweetie...not in front of the kids.’
“Alright alright. Go sit. I’ll get your drink.”
Alicia smiles widely as Beatrice pulls out a chair. “Mom, remember Jeremy from school? I finally...”
The system scanned through various logs before discovering the word Jeremy. Marjorie quickly skimmed through it.
“...right? Mom? Did you hear me?”
‘Yes of course. Jeremy your crush. I wouldn’t forget my daughter’s first love.’
Alicia blushes. “Well I did what you said and started hanging out with him more. Then he asked me out.”
‘That’s my girl. When’s the date?’
“Oh. It happened already. Last month. Couldn’t tell you cuz you were...umm.”
John casts a consternated glance toward Alicia which terminates the conversation. He sits and places a mug in front of Beatrice. It’s filled with a red substance.
“Can we eat now?! I’m hungry!” exclaims Devin.
Alicia and John laugh at his eagerness and began eating.
Marjorie uses this time to peruse the documents on the main screen.
Died: January 2, 5019 (Car Accident)
Resurrected: August 16, 5019
Delivered: Beatrice Simmons and two cases of Blood bags on August 20, 5019, 8pm.
Payment: Starting costs paid.
Request for payment installment plan: Granted. Insurance in the green.
“Mommy, why aren’t you eating?” Devin questioned. “You didn’t eat yesterday too.” Marjorie adjusts the headset and observes the scene on the monitor.
John sets down his coffee and stares into it, evidently inhaling. He looks at Devin. “Listen kiddo, mom has been...away.”
“I know. You said she had a work trip.”
“And during that ‘trip,' mom had to ‘rest’ for a long time.”
“Did she get sick?”
“Well... in a way yes. She was ‘sick,' but she’s better now. The doctor prescribed a special drink for her. It’ll keep mom healthy from now on. Okay Dev?”
“Oh like me! I only drink mom’s chicken noodle soup when I’m sick. Other stuff makes me throw up. Feel better mommy.” He continues eating.
John and Alicia smile. ‘Beatrice smiles.'
Six hours later, Beatrice opts for a shower. Marjorie relinquishes her session to Susie: another customer care worker seated next to her. Both women have worked at the company for over ten years.
“It’s movie night so not much talking later on. But Devin's spontaneous. Stay on your toes Susie.”
Marjorie familiarizes herself with a new session.
Sleep Ends in 5 mins 45secs.
Name: Nel Howsen
Area: London (3am)
Family: Wife (Jess- buttercup), Children (Tess-14, Velma-12, Tod- 15)
Plans: Camping. Wake up early to pack and travel to avoid traffic.
“Marj.” Susie begins.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Ever feel guilty?”
Marjorie pauses her reading to listen.
“These people believe we’ve achieved the impossible. They don’t realize that it’s machines camouflaging as their loved ones. Or that it’s us speaking for ‘em using those voice modifications. They think the packs are giving blood to their system and helping with circulation: when in truth it’s a chemical maintaining the machine’s functions. Sometimes, when I act as someone, and REALLY look into their family’s eyes… I...I-I can see how much they love ‘em. And how much they trust the company, and,” Susie wipes her eyes, “...and I hate myself for it. Does that ever happen to you?”
Marjorie contemplates while tapping her heel on the ground. “We aren’t the inventors: just customer care. We’re not guilty of anything. Quit overthinking and get back to work Susie.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Acacia Johnson is a Big Dreamer. Many tales are envisioned by her and she has decided to share them with others for the first time. She hopes that persons will find enjoyment when reading, and may also relate to the situations that the characters encounter. Currently she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org