The Future’s So Bright

by Theresa Cartier

The future I woke up to looked like every bad science fiction movie I’d ever seen. The buildings were mushroom-shaped towers filled with glossy end tables and egg-shaped chairs. Everything was colored hospital-white, which was hell on depth perception. I learned that the hard way after the cryo people pulled the tubes out of my nose and butthole and made me walk around.

I’d been cryogenically frozen for a thousand years. When I asked why I’d been left in the chamber so long, they looked at me like I’d asked the dumbest question ever. In retrospect, faking a brain tumor to get out of finals probably wasn’t my best idea, but if my parents left me on ice for a millennium just to teach me a lesson, well, that was a dick move on their part.

After I’d thawed, I was assigned a therapist to help me adjust to life in the 30th century. Her name was Doctor K2 dash 9. In addition to having identical bowl haircuts, people in the future used alphanumeric designations instead of names. They also drove flying cars and wore silver body suits with pointy shoulders and knee-high boots.

Anyway, I met with my therapist every day. In the beginning, I had expected that she would get me caught up on the history and culture of the past thousand years, but that didn’t happen. You see, Doctor K2-9 was a Feelingsologist. She felt feelings and talked about feelings. A lot. In the future, this was actually considered a job.

One day, I decided I’d had enough. Every time the doctor asked me how I was feeling, I just shrugged my shoulders and grunted.

Doctor K2-9 pressed her lips together in disapproval. Her white lipstick, eye liner, and mascara made her look like a freakish photo negative. Then her expression softened. “Let’s try something different,” she said.

She approached a panel on the wall. It was filled with buttons that blinked and bleeped in a chaotic sequence. But the doctor simply stood still while a drawer slithered out from the wall. She pulled something out.

“Here.” She handed me a No. 2 pencil and a page of lined notebook paper. In the future, computers were obsolete because everyone was born with a chip in their head. There were no tablets or keyboards to be found.

“I want you to write about your feelings,” said Doctor K2-9.

That did it. I pounded my fist on the glass table. “What kind of messed up future is this?” I shouted. “You shouldn’t care about feelings. You shouldn’t even have them! Like, they should be against the law.”

Doctor K2-9 opened her mouth to reply, but I was just getting started.

“And where are the robot bodies?” I said.

“The what?”

“My consciousness should be uploaded into a robot body! And not some crappy metal thing. I want a synthetic body that is completely identical to a human one.”

“What would be the point of that?” said Doctor K2-9.

“You just. Don’t. Get it.” I tried to get up from the couch, but it was kinda tricky because I hadn’t gotten my space age clothes yet. I was still wearing a hospital gown, and even though a thousand years had passed, no one had thought to re-design the thing so your butt didn’t hang out the back. Mine had gotten stuck to the white pleather couch.

“Do you need help?” asked the doctor.

“No!” With a grunt, I peeled myself off the cushion and stalked over to the wall, where I started randomly punching the buttons. “Which of these opens the door?” I snapped.

“None of them,” said Doctor K2-9. “You just walk up to the door and it opens.”


Doctor K2-9 looked shocked. In the future, nobody swore or yelled or fought. They settled grievances quietly and politely. Then they went to the virtual reality room and committed virtual murder, followed by a virtual orgy.

“This future sucks,” I pouted.

“I’m sorry you’re unhappy,” said Doctor K2-9. “Do you want to return to the past?”

I blinked in surprise. “You can do that?”

“Of course,” she said. “This is the future.”

“Then my answer is yes! Get me out of here.”

“As you wish,” said the doctor. “But once you leave, you can’t come back.”

“I don’t care. Just point me toward nearest time machine and I’ll be on my way.”

I stood in front of the door and it swished open. But before I walked out, I turned and confronted the doctor one last time.

“Just answer me this: what about pure energy?”

The doctor looked puzzled. “What about it?”

“Shouldn’t you have evolved into another life form by now?”

“What kind of life form?”

“You know how it works,” I said impatiently. “You shed your body and transform into a talking beam of light.”

“I’ve considered it,” said Doctor K2-9. “But then I wouldn’t have two vaginas.”

I wasn’t sure I heard that right. “Did you say two–?”

The doctor smiled and nodded.

I stepped away from the door and let it swish shut.

“I may have spoken in haste a moment ago,” I said as I walked back to the couch and sat down next to her. “I think my brain was damaged by the freezing process.”

Doctor K2-9 did not look at all surprised. “So you want to stay in the future, then?”

“Yes,” I said, taking her hand and kissing the white oval fingernails. “I guess you could say the future is looking up.”