And Before That?

To [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt

Casey woke up, showered, got dressed, went to work, stopping for a breakfast pastry and a hot drink on the way. Worked for ten hours, with a half-hour break for lunch, went home, cooked dinner, went to sleep.

Nine days out of ten, with a break on the tenth day – and on the tenth day, Casey went to the park, and lay out in the sun, reading a book, enjoying the cacophony of the other 10% of the population taking their day off. The sun was warm, the rain had fallen early in the morning, and the cheap paperback was entertaining, if one Casey had read before.

“Have you ever wondered,” the girl on the next blanket looked a little nonuniform, her hair wild, her tunic trimmed with bright embroidery. Maybe an artist? They had more leeway in such things.

“Wondered?” Casey didn’t wonder.

“What you did before?”

“Before what? Yesterday, I worked. Last week, I came here and read a book. Before that, I worked.”

“And before that?” she prompted, leaning forward, encroaching on Casey’s blanket.

“Before that? The same as…” Casey trailed off. Was life really that boring? Was every day so similar that there really was no memory of the past? “The same as every other ten-day.” But was it?

“You see? I am thirty days into a mural. I will be done in thirty more. But I cannot remember any other mural I’ve ever worked on. And neither can anyone else I talk to. It’s as if we have no history beyond thirty days ago.”

Work, sleep, eat… Casey tried to remember further back, and could not. “That’s impossible.” But was it?

“I think we’re past that stage,” the artist said dryly. “I think now, we should be on to ‘why.’ And, of course… ‘how.'”

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10 thoughts on “And Before That?

  1. Sounds like certain conservatives wet dream of a society… and yes, there are certain questions that are revolutionary in context. That would be 2/3 of them, the other one being ‘who..?’

    • Some conservatives, perhaps. But it is my commenting policy to have a politics-free zone, because I have readers from most sides of the political circle. On the story: yes. It’s a little trope-ic to have it be the artist who noticed, but perhaps her job allows for more thinking time, unlike the 7-to-5 grunts (or however that would translate in decimal time).

      • sorry, yes, that should have been non-political, because it’s not limited to one side or the other. (Huxley for example, was a liberal.) And while it is a bit cliche, it does make sense for the artist to notice in context.

      • Perhaps it’s more that her job has a set span whereas his(?) seems to be the same thing everyday. Also if she’s trying to remember how she handled something before, that could trigger it too.

        • <nod> I was thinking she might be looking at other murals around the city, and possibly recognizing something as similar to her work, but that she couldn’t remember doing. (This assuming that she’s designing her mural(s), and not doing paint-by-numbers propaganda pieces from a standard design.)

  2. Oh my. Yeah, why is a good question. I would assume for productivity and compliance, but who knows. I do find it interesting that Casey can remember a ways back, at least in terms of books. He/she knows that the current book is one that has been read before (though I suppose one could choose to read the same book twice in a month, most people wait longer before rereading).

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