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A is for Apple

They monetize your eyes. A vision of the near present. Dystopian flash fiction.

By Addison AlderPublished 9 months ago 3 min read
4
Images by Midjourney

Casey lifts Jonah out of his cot and walks him to the window. Billboards illuminate their faces in Facebook blue and Coca-Cola red.

'Look Jonah, can you see the funny pictures?'

He looks uncertainly at his mother's hand. His baby blues haven't developed long distance vision yet.

'Can you say Meta? Me-ta-ta-ta?'

Jonah giggles and tugs at Casey's collar.

'That's mommy's shirt. It's Abercrombie & Fitch. A-ber-crom--' Jonah starts to cry. 'Oh puddums, I don't think you're ready for that yet.'

'Moooommmm!' Her tweenager Marco has been watching adverts on the fridge door since he got home from school. 'That's sixty. Isn't that enough?'

'Hey keep your eyes on the screen, buster. It won't track if the camera can't see your eyes.'

The boy scowls back at the tiny lens. Since he turned 12, he's monetizable.

'Sorry baby,' Casey consoles him. 'But we just a need a few more. Another ten or twenty, then we can all eat together. You're doing great.'

She puts her hand on his shoulder. He shrugs and pivots back to the video screen. His eyes flash green as the machine confirms that he is ready and receptive.

The baby is wailing now. Casey jiggles him on her hip, but tears keep spilling down his fat cheeks. He's not eaten properly in days. Baby food is expensive; the good puree is 150 views a jar. Casey turns away from Marco, back towards the window, and pulls out a nipple for the baby.

Her Vision VR headset is lying on the shelf. She might as well jack in, get a few more credits flowing. Besides, if she doesn't watch it regularly, she'll be paying it off for a decade. With her free hand, she slips the headset on.

The telenovela she'd been watching resumes automatically. A beautiful couple argue in their Poggenpohl branded kitchen set.

'Carsten! Please forgive me!'

'Abigail, I'm leaving and I'm taking the Tesla. And I'm not stopping for 800 miles with my new MegaWatt power pack.'

The image stutters to a halt as the distraught Abigail holds her hands to her Lululemon sweatband. A notification pops up:

Data tariff exceeded. Use rapid top-up?

'The fridge has frozen!' complains Marco. 'The ads have stopped!'

'Sorry hon...' Then she tells her headset: 'Yes, rapid top-up.'

An advertisement begins inside the screen:

'XiaoMi LifeWise is the new AI assistant tailored to you! The better it knows you, the better it helps you. LifeWise would like to know the name of your first boyfriend.'

'Oh jesus...' Casey casts her mind back.

'Your first boyfriend was Jesus. Is this correct?'

'No! It was... Donald.'

'Donald. Confirmed. What was the first brand of alcohol you consumed?'

'Probably Pabst.'

'Is that Pabst Blue Ribbon Original lager beer?'

'Yes.'

'And at what age did you first have sexual intercourse?'

Casey sighs, closing her eyes--

'Please keep your eyes open at all times.'

Personal data is worth more, Casey reminds herself.

'15. I was 15 years old.'

The notification turns green: 'You have 50 view credits.'

She pulls the VR device off her head, hoists her bra up, and tugs at the fridge door handle. It opens.

'Yes!!' says Marco, grabbing a Papa John's Homeslice and a 2-liter Dr Pepper off the shelf. He punches buttons on the mini-oven and shoves the pizza inside.

'You're in charge tonight, huh?' Casey tousles her son's hair. 'My big working man.'

She lowers Jonah back into his cot and slips the Vision over his head. A video starts and Jonah is enthralled by two hand puppets reciting the alphabet:

'A is for Apple, B is for Best Buy, C is for CostCo...'

Satire
4

About the Creator

Addison Alder

Writer of Wrongs. Discontent Creator. Weird tales to enthral and appal.

All original fiction. No reviews, no listicles. 👋🏻 Handwrought in London, UK 🇬🇧

Buy my eBooks on GODLESS and Amazon ☠️

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Comments (2)

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  • Susanna Kiernan9 months ago

    After our chat about social media last night I was thinking about how it sometimes make me feel like I'm being brainwashed because of all the advertisements so this is very aptly timed. I like how you combined all the different threads of data and consumerism issues to create this very dystopian but unnervingly realistic world. You gave me anxiety, well done.

  • Eerily prescient. Sometimes it feels like this already.

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