It Seemed About A Hundred Years Ago

Barlo loved that smell. Feeckoh Plus Bowel Treatment, with “attenuated donor E.coli”. He sprinkled a bit more of the green powder on his insect muesli. “Oh My, Yipes” he said aloud, poured on the distilled water, and caught some of the Neuro-News as it came in.

It was HIS moment. Just nineteen, he had finally landed a full day contract with the Neuro Channel. He was to interview the last Baby Boomer alive on earth. 135 years old! “Oh My, Yipes” he said again. What a lucky break. Barlo had never heard of Baby Boomers. He had tried to look it up in Neuro-Pedia, but got bored after reading three lines. He didn’t care. It was a full day contract.

Two hours later he was knocking on the door of the Self-Care Cell. Jules was just behind him, adjusting her Cam and Energy Modules. She had worked with the Neuro Channel for a couple of years, got the job straight out of school, and had kept up with the latest techno advances in Neuro Image Transmission. Barlo lifted his arm to knock again as the door opened. “Hello?” said Barlo, and moved forwards slowly. Jules followed, still adjusting the Cam. Barlo could not recognize the music that played, but thought it sounded vaguely religious.

“You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you

You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you

You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, oh Lord, I warn you

And please excuse me while I hide away”

“Hello…is…” and then Barlo spotted the figure at the end of the Cell, in bed. Jack was awake, immobile. Jack’s eyes drifted slowly between the two. Barlo found it difficult to look at the wizened, cachectic figure in the bed, with wandering rheumy eyes, but he loved the faint smell. Yes, he thought, it was Feeckoh Plus Bowel Treatment. “Oh My, Yipes” he said under his breath, as he pressed his wrist Thought Activator and transmitted the first live comments on air by thinking “It’s a privilege to be in Jack’s company, the oldest Baby Boomer still alive. It’s nice to know his long health is due to a Feeckoh product” He released the wrist button and thought “that’ll get me a sponsorship”.

Jack’s eyes settled on Jules. The only sound was the music. Barlo noticed the infusion. He read the label and remembered that his grandmother was on Amyloid Plaque Binding Gold too. It helped her remember things. “G’Day love” Jack’s crackling, barely audible voice startled Barlo. “What’s yer name”. She smiled. “Julia. Everyone calls me Jules”. Barlo pressed the Wrist Thought Activator and beamed “Wowie, Jack has the ancient Aussie accent, remember folks, how you learned about that in school!”

Jack looked at her closely. He could hardly move, but his brain was going a hundred miles an hour as the Amyloid Gold seeped into his veins. She was gorgeous, and reminded him of his first girlfriend, when he was fifteen. It was 1963, but he remembered each moment… “To what do you attribute your old age”.  Barlo had practised that question at home, repeatedly, in front of the mirror. “…I mean, your long life” Jack’s eyes reluctantly moved back to Barlo. He hesitated enough to make it seem thoughtful, and replied “The Rolling Stones”.

Barlo couldn’t contain his excitement. He pressed his wrist really hard. “Zowie Wowie, Jack admits his long life is due to the Rolling Stone Therapeutic Massage Service, and folks, I can recommend them too…” He went on for a while, sewing up another sponsor. Barlo then asked Jack “Who does your treatment at RS, Jade? Michael? Fortuna? Which Stones do you really like on your back. Peruvian? Antarctic? Lebanese?”

Jack looked at Jules, and, after a struggle, managed a wink. He drifted off to sleep.

 “Now if you see me drinkin’ bad red wine

Don’t worry ’bout this man that you love

Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?”

When Jack woke, his guests had left. The music had stopped. The Cell Nurse had ceased the infusion. He thought of Jules. And his old girlfriend. As he slowly looked down, he noticed something in his right hand. With some difficulty, he recognized a sort of photograph. Technically, it was a Super Pro Pic Hard Copy. Jack groaned. He did not want to see himself. He never looked in the mirror these days. Those infusions gave him a perfect mind, but he hated his body. He was going to drop the photo on the floor, and then remembered that Jules was the one taking pics. He owed it to her. He slowly brought it up to his face. He looked at it a long time.

She had photographed the antique vinyl record cover that he had framed 65 years ago. It was hanging on the wall. And there, above Mick’s head, on the photo, Jules had drawn a heart.

Jack kept staring at the photo. After a while, he reached for the MultiControl with his left hand.  He hit the replay button, smiled, and slowly closed his eyes.

“Went out walkin’ through the wood the other day

And the world was a carpet laid before me

The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange

And it seemed about a hundred years ago


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