This is a repost from a Tumblr series that I called “My perfect dad.” I’m preserving these older stories and continuing to write new ones available on this site first.

I always wanted to work for ThinkCorp because of their flashy slogan: New and Different Every Day. They weren’t kidding. No two days were alike, and I loved it that way.  

Occasionally, I’d get an assignment that lasted a week or two, but ThinkCorp only put me on those out of necessity. My demographic profile and skills inventory were much better suited to single-day projects. Heh, or so I was told. 

I used to get anxious about what each day’s project would be. When I first started, I would stay up late so I could be at my workstation at 3:14 a.m. precisely, when new ThinkCorp assignments were pushed out to the field. After about six months on the job, once I’d gotten the hang of things and received positive feedback on my projects, that changed. I started to enjoy the uncertainty and the surprise of receiving my instructions each morning. 

Today, like every day, I woke up before my alarm and saw a new set of freshly printed clothes sitting on my printer. Next to it was my workstation, where ThinkCorp’s logo, an old-style incandescent light bulb, rotated slowly on the screen. I swung my legs over and bounded out of bed, eager to see what the day had in store for me.  

I always liked to look at the clothes before I read the assignment. I thought it was fun to try to guess what ThinkCorp had lined up for me to do. I was almost always wrong, but occasionally I managed to guess correctly, or at least something similar. Today’s clothes were surprisingly basic, though: just a white T-shirt and a pair of navy blue shorts. I was stumped; this generic outfit could be for anything.  

I lifted the clothes off the printer deck and unfolded them. DAD was printed in block letters on the left breast of the T-shirt. I sat down at my workstation and leaned forward so the security lockout could scan my retina. There would be no guessing on this project; I needed to read the brief. 

Employee 11807060 – Single-Day Project – Subcontracted to Synaptica, Ltd.  

I was excited. Synaptica projects were rare, but the pay was insanely good. I quickly scrolled through the confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements and imprinted my signature at the bottom of each, and then I got dressed.  

Synaptica assignments were top secret. They didn’t even trust you to read the instructions; they just installed them directly into your head. It had taken me months to complete the training and background clearance to be approved for Synaptica assignments. The first time I completed one, I was disappointed that I couldn’t remember anything about it afterward, but the deposit into my bank account the next morning more than made up for a little memory loss.  

The shirt and shorts were snug against my body, and the DAD printed over my left pec made me feel silly, but I was already thinking about how I would spend the extra money I earned today. I sat back down at my workstation and clipped the uplink node behind my right ear, agreed to Synaptica’s terms and conditions, and waited for the instructions to arrive. 

The first few seconds of the uplink were always a confusing mess of data, and I didn’t bother trying to make sense of it because I wouldn’t remember any of it, anyway. After a minute or so of data noise, I realized my face itched, and when I reached up to scratch it, I felt a full beard across my cheeks, jaw, and chin.  

“Whoa,” I said, in a voice I didn’t recognize. I felt a thought forming in my head that I knew didn’t belong to me, and I had an irresistible urge to say it out loud. The thought pressed against my mind, almost forcing me to vocalize it. 

“Hair goes nothing.”  

I laughed at my own joke and then leaned back in my chair and scratched my belly while I waited for the uplink to finish.  


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