Food For Thought

by Melanie Rees

Outside my lounge room window, two youngsters wearing pimple caps flew down the street on their hover-boards. I didn’t know whether I should be more concerned they didn’t have helmets on or that Neurocom was now targeting kids.

I dimmed the glass on my window, trying to block out any reminder that Neurocom existed, and switched on the television. The theme song for the afternoon news resonated around the living room.

“That means it’s five o’clock. Still another hour of today’s contract to go,” I muttered to myself. I ran my hand over my Neurocom cap feeling the tingling sensation of the bobbly electrodes. Did that tiny zapping mean I was emitting? Surely, not. I had to be thinking about the product to relay thoughts and I wasn’t... Darn. By trying not to think about the caps, I was inevitably thinking about Neurocom. The thought did my head in.

I tried to focus on the show. If I could distract myself, it would help block the caps from my mind. And if I could block them out then I might be able to block out my subliminal thoughts and beat the system. There was no way I was going to think favourably about Neurocom no matter how much they paid me.

The news presenter sat down at his desk and beamed broadly. No, not him too! The tiny bobbly electrodes sticking out of the cap were coloured a stylish metallic blue to match his blue blazer.

“You may have noticed something different, Janet,” said the news reporter.

The camera swung to the weather lady, her beautiful blonde hair adorned by nothing more than a single pink ribbon. She laughed delicately. “Your Neurocom cap’s looking good, Matt.”

Neurocom caps? I laughed. No one called them that in real life. The bobbly electrodes made users look like their head was covered with zits. I ran my fingers over my pimple cap again. Who would wear them in public?

“Can’t wait to get your thoughts on the under-age Neurocom scandal today,” Janet continued.

The camera shot back to a wide-eyed Matt.

I noticed with smug satisfaction that Matt was fidgeting with his paperwork.

“Yes...yes. Thank you, Janet,” stuttered Matt. “So for those of you who want to know what I think about the news subscribe to Matthew McClinksky at Neurocom’s channel six.”

I switched stations and stumbled across an old horror flick. A grim-looking sociopath stared through the bars of a jail. Those were the good old days, when people got into your head figuratively. I settled myself down on the couch just as a Neurocom-feed streamed into my subconscious. I found it hard to explain the sensation to my friends. I imagined tiny people were running rampant in my head speaking.

The leather seat of my new Saab is really comfortable, thought Chen from Shanghai.

Well, lucky Chen. I hoped everyone sensed the sarcasm in my thoughts, but my head wasn’t tingling like it normally did when I was transmitting feeds. If it weren’t part of my contract, I wouldn’t subscribe to any of this tripe.

They want honest thoughts, well here’s an honest thought subscribers, Neurocom is a commercial load of crap suffocating society. Again no tingling sensation.

“Come on, Neurocom,” I said to no one in particular. “That was an honest thought.”

This smoked Barramundi fillet at Renaissance Cafe is just falling apart. It is so tender and moist, thought Macka from Sydney.

My stomach rumbled. Why couldn’t I have secured a contract like that? An occasional free feed and relaying my thoughts on a product that sat well in my guts. My contract was barely enough to afford to pay the rent let alone buy barramundi.

Neurocom doesn’t care about anyone. Are you getting this subscribers? They care about sales, nothing else.

With grumbling stomach, I sauntered to the fridge and perused the shelves. Left over popcorn ? that would help get me in the mood for the movie and block out my thoughts. I filled a bowl, covered it with salt and returned to the couch.

On the television screen, a tall hooded man with a chainsaw hacked though the front door of a cottage. Splinters of wood flew at the screen and a then a child ran screaming from the chainsaw-wielding killer. I hugged a cushion to my chest and snuggled into the couch.

Ease-ol cream makes my arse feel so much better, thought Mad-Cat from unspecified city.

I smiled. They must’ve been paying Mad-Cat a hefty sum to access his thoughts on haemorrhoid products. For a second, a spark of admiration for Neurocom tugged at my subconscious.

No, darn it. “I hate Neurocom streaming. I hate Neurocom streaming.” If I said it loud enough and long enough it might just sway my thoughts. I’d beat the system if it was the last thing I did.

Ahhh! There’s a cockroach in my Monster Burger, thought Zyke from Toronto.

I rolled on the couch in hysterics, clutching my stomach.

For a split second, I saw a splatter of blood erupt from the child on the television, but the image made me laugh harder and my head began to tingle. Even the darkest movie couldn’t block out my thoughts.

I love Neurocom streaming. What would I ever do without it?

Copyright © 2014 Melanie Rees.
First published in our Infinitas Newsletter, May 2014.

This page last updated 13th Feb 2016.