“Until the year 2039, the streets were lined with what were called telegraph poles,” the voice says dryly, as an image of several thick wooden trunks connected by straight black wires displays on screen.
“Crap!” says the boy as he shifts forward in his seat. All those unsightly wires ruining a perfect, blue sky.
Immediately realizing his mistake, he glances over to the Behaviour Therapist and lowers his head. She gives him a stern look, but no injection. Not this time. He’s glad because he has never liked Calm Aid. It makes his skin feel funny.
The voice continues, more pictures flash on screen. He inspects his chewed fingernails for a moment, considers biting out the dirt underneath, then stares at the white padded wall.
The boy’s Grandmother says in the olden days there were windows at school. He doesn’t believe her. The school has never said anything about that, and besides—schools aren’t places to see anything except for what’s on the National Education Screen. So why the heck would a school be so stupid to have windows?
They’d need truckloads of Calm Aid, he ponders.
Still, he likes to pretend. As he looks at the soft whiteness, he imagines a small square space that lets the light in… a window. A space that makes the outside and inside not so far apart.
He knows it’s just a daydream, but today it makes him feel sad.
To cheer up, he reminds himself that at least he doesn’t live in the pre-2039 days, with all those awful wires.
Denise Mills is a writer from Central West NSW, Australia. You can find her on Twitter