Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Works-in-Progress Wednesday: "Focal Point", Revisited!


8:05 AM
"What Does Your Wake-Up Style Say About You?"

She rubbed her eyes, flailing blindly at the floating wall of text in her vision. The curtains on the east window slowly commenced their transition from opaque to translucent. Sitting up, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stared at her bare knees. They were looking a little bony today. The radio clicked on and an upbeat track from her favorite artist began to play. She landed on the floor, ignoring the flashing display "136 LB 22.6 BMI" by her feet as she staggered toward the bathroom. 

As she brushed her teeth, she stared past the streaming "Neighbor News Feed" embedded in the mirror and caught sight of her dark-rimmed eyes in the reflective surface. 

"How are you feeling today?" Prompted the wall console. Her choices were "Happy; Satisfied; Angry; Anxious; Morose," or "Who the Baal Cares?" She picked "Satisfied" with "Happy" as a secondary. According to her personality type, "A close connection to nature means that you reach peak rejuvenation faster when skies are clear and the sun shines." The closet offered her three options of outfits that suited her apparent mood, the weather, her personality type, and her features, so she picked the one with red skinny jeans, red slip-on shoes, and a pink shirt that said "Hug me I'm a JENA" in white appliqué. Accessory choices offered her pink tiger-eyes on fishhooks or red hearts on posts. She chose the hearts. 

"What Would You Choose For Breakfast?" asked her tablet. There were four photos to choose from: a bowl of cereal, a plate of bacon with a pistol next to it, a blueberry scone and a cup of tea, or coffee and a stack of pancakes swimming in butter and syrup. None of them looked particularly appetizing, but she chose the last one because at least there was coffee. 

"Which Daytime Activity Would You Prefer?"
She rested her elbows on the glass desktop and mused over pictures of supermodels lounging in picturesque reading nooks, athletic men and women grinning as they tromped under a blazing sun over bare rocks in unblemished designer activewear, at smiling juniors gesturing excitedly at browsers in the shopping centers, and elderly couples holding hands as they posed on a park bench. None of these looked particularly appealing today, at this moment, but she picked the image of the shoppers. Maybe The System would let her have some special deals because today was her birthday.
Sure enough, she flipped open her electronic mailbox and watched the advertisements tumble over themselves trying to upload all at once.
 
"SALE!" "BIG SALE!" "BIRTHDAY DISCOUNT!" "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRICIA!" "SAVE 60 CREDITS!" "BOGO!" "TREAT YOURSELF!" 
 
She bit her lip at the series of advertisements specifically geared for the apparent tastes and preferences of Tricia Carson. 
 
She looked at herself in the mirror. Her reflection immediately overlaid itself with a "more desirable" model, complete with the recommended cosmetic adjustments handily labeled. After all, according to the goals and dreams listed on Tricia's personal profile, she was destined for greatness and needed the perfect appearance to go with it. 
 
The trouble was, she couldn't see what she actually looked like with the computer-generated model in the way. She reached to the backside of the "mirror." By twisting her wrist just right, she could flick the power switch with her finger. Instantly, the console powered down, and the display became a somewhat muted but still functional mirror. 
Her pocket buzzed. She rolled her eyes and opened the missive from TechChecker. 
 
A mellow, jovial voice announced, "Hmm, there seems to be a problem with your vanity console."
She rolled her eyes; rather an appropriate name for it. "No, no problems," she responded.
TechChecker persisted. "Would you like me to switch it on remotely?"
She ignored the question and went to open a drawer for a brush—but the console didn't respond. Dumb tech.
"No," she told TechChecker, reaching awkwardly around the screen again. "I've got it."
"All right," said the TechCheck representative. "Have a nice day, Miss Carson, and remember--Peres is The Name To Trust For Instant Gratification And Complete Satisfaction!"
 
She flicked on the screen, and this time when she tapped the drawer it slid open immediately.
 
As she brushed her hair, the mirror flipped through several stunning designs for her face—and as each one loaded, saw her real face for only a few seconds. Maybe she would look better if she started coloring her hair—but what would that hairstyle do for her face? Definitely it looked better on someone with a smaller chin–why couldn't that someone be her? Was it really all that wrong to just agree to some tiny enhancements? I mean, it wasn't like the full-body remodels most people went for, or even the way some of them seemed to change their entire faces as often as the clothing trends switched; just a touch here and there couldn't be as horrendous as her dad's old friends made it out to be.