Chapter 4 - Francine - Three Weeks Ago


I’m staring at the wall again. I can’t help but look around once I notice.

The pills, photograph, and newspaper are still on the table next to my ample leather couch. There’s nothing else.

Just crown molding, hardwood floors, my two pieces of furniture.

The paper isn’t really needed anymore with modern implants, but I like to read it still. Reminds me of my youth.

I look down at the stains on my tailored dress. Maybe I’ll wash them tomorrow.

A notification appears hovering in the corner of my vision.

Answer, I think.

A projection of my assistant appears in the ample space in the middle of the room.

“Ma’am, the appointments in the company have been made as you requested.  Your daily involvement in the company’s operations is no longer required...What are we going to do now?”

I glance over at the paper. It’s folded over to an advertisement.

Incrementum.  Build Anything, Be Anyone.

“Have you heard of Incrementum, Dan? The new immersive role playing game that’s become so popular?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I need you to prepare research material on role playing games.  I want to know all about how they are played, the different methodologies, strategies, terminology, everything.  I want an executive summary of Incrementum specifically. Purchase the latest VR units for each of us, get us accounts. I will ruminate on your findings and decide how we will begin. That is all, send me it when you are ready.”

“Yes, Ma’am!” I see Dan’s face perk up, know he’s encouraged to get any instructions. I’m not sure if it’s worry over his job or for me.

Dan’s image disappears.

Taking on this project is painful. Everything is painful. Staring at the wall and trying to think about nothing is my least painful option. But he wouldn’t have wanted that.

Furthermore, I can’t abide laziness.

I stare at the wall again.


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