Lately this feeling or maybe its a thought whats the difference great another thing to think about add it to the list. Hard. To feel. Sure about anything its in the CUPBOARD. NEXT TO THE MOUTHWASH. Can she not hear me why cant she hear me DID YOU FIND IT?

This thought-feeling or whatever cant quite grasp it yet but has something to do with ITS IN THE CUPBOARD is she messing with me? The CUPBOARD, next to the MOUTHWASH shes messing with me NO, HONEY, SORRY, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE THIS THING? SURE I CAN PACK THE LUNCHES TODAY why cant she just pack the lunches today why do you have to do everything? Allison needs her CLARINET TODAY OK just WAIT A MINUTE OK TRYING to use THE THING. From THE COMPANY, YES.

OK, is this even working says its working doesnt feel like it. Plug this in here and that thing goes there supposed to see a flashing green light and nothing HUH OK maybe the other port. This kind of thing never. The first completely hands-free, direct interface for such and such oh duh youre a dum-dum thats why. Its not even on. Wheres the switch is that it this PIECE OF CRAP doesnt even

[flicks switch]

Welcome to SubText

Please wait while we sync with your subconscious.


>> SubText

>> 7:22 am


> Oh shit its working? Its working you just thought that and thats the thing you thought there it is, on the screen WHOA hmm thats a weird font you hate that font you didnt even realize you hated that font until you saw that you hated that font. Now you can see yourself realizing that in real time how much you hate that font which makes you sort of hate it less? Thats how your brain works you dont care about what you think but sometimes you do care but only if you know what you think and this way you see what you think about something and no way. Yes way. No way. But you do. But did you? You dont know. This is weird this is scary this is weird and a little scary.

> Maybe you should change the interface so you dont have to read your thoughts unless you want to

> Drop-down menu. Options. View thought feed.


Only When Refreshed


> Only When Refreshed. So you have CRAP


>> SubText

>> 7:55 am


> Youre always late youre not good enough theyre going to fire you everyone hates you. Theyre going to fire you because everyone hates you and because everyone hates you after youre fired theyre going to have a party. A hate party to celebrate their collective shared passion of having hate for you. Youre even more late now theyre probably all at work already talking about you having coffee and talking about you and flirting with each other over coffee and sipping coffee while savoring the taste in their mouths the taste of hate for you.

Charles Yu


> You know what who cares who cares if youre late youre underpaid. Youre like 20 percent underpaid this is you time you should take off your pants and just lie here until you feel like getting back up go ahead, take em off. That was the garage door the garage door means Grace and kids off to school youre alone you can take the pants off and see what happens from there youre going to die. Were all going to die someday. Wait a minute this is self-sabotage thats what youre doing. Now you really are going to be late youre going to get fired youre going to get fired the day you were planning to quit.

> Todays the day what are you doing youre supposed to quit today? Youre going to die someday. Take off your pants. Go to work. Quit your job. Youll crash and burn. No you wont.

> Maybe you shouldnt be thinking about all this what if this stuff is discoverable? What if employers have a right to see this stuff? SubText is still in beta oh shit oh shit oh shit you cant scrub it. Its probably going directly to someone in product dev whos mining the data you idiot. You moron. Wait no maybe its OK maybe they cant use this against you all kinds of ethical and legal reasons. Calm down youre a lawyer youre not a very good one but hey.

>> SubText

>> 8:01 am


> Coffee tastes good you appreciate the opportunity blah blah blah you are so grateful for the opportunity been such a tremendous growth experience coffee so good.

> They never appreciated you also they might be a little bit racist youre probably a little bit racist no youre not yes you are but way less racist than they are youre definitely sexist.

> Even though you dont want to be you shouldnt look at her that way dont do it its traffic its dangerous coffee tastes good even bad coffee is good. Youre a cheater. Youve always been a cheater. Youre not a good person. Youre going to mess it up. Pop-Tart would be good with this Pop-Tarts are so good.


> To-do list

> Review new slides for branding and internal messaging.

> Approve customer service scripts.

> Stop checking out other women so much.


> Thats bad

Thats not really that bad

In the grand scheme

> Come on dude

Work sleep eat die

> Stop. Stop.

This is not helpful


>> SubText

>> 8:37 am


> Dont think and drive dangerous try the radio classical admit it: You have no idea you dont know anything about classical music or jazz oh come on who are you trying to impress? Jazz. As if just NPR OK NPR fighting continues for another day, with insurgents intensifying attacks on an already ravaged part of the city. What fighting where over there thats far admit youre never going over there youre not going to learn that second language if you just had more time you could learn that second language you could be a better oh here is an email Meeting Request: 4:30 All-Hands. All-hands at end of day. Hmm. You figure you know what that means. And now, look: Google Alert. Rumors, swirling. As they do. Your company on the block. Fighting continues for another day, with insurgents intensifying attacks on an already ravaged part of the city. The news on a loop or is it maybe this is another day another ravaged city turn off the radio silence is terrifying admit it youre terrified no dont. Push it back down down into the pit of your stomach let it stay there where it lives.

>> SubText

>> 10:14 am


> Ping Ooh, thats a good little spurt of serotonin. INCOMING MESSAGEe you have to pee look at it.

> Its her.

> Drinks tonight?

> Are you really seeing this did you just will that to happen? Of all the people in the company the one youve been imagining drinks with oh, hey oh hi oh, funny running into you here. And then, just like that. Ping Oh that feels good maybe this is going to be a good day maybe this is going to be the best day of all time maybe this is how it starts and it just keeps going on from here up and up and up because why? Because why not? Why not you, why not now?

>> SubText

>> 10:16 am


> Not because of her no, not that youre not really going to do anything of course of course not. Shes young too young a little too cool for you. Its more like youre married you idiot you love your wife this is harmless this is everything. Youre dumb. Youre human. Youre dumb. You have to pee again this is bad you should probably see a urologist about this or there was a commercial for the medicine for this you are now a guy who just has to pee every hour. More rumors bidders circling a couple of strategics some interest from private equity. The hell. Of course. Nothing by accident. Todays the day. Could be getting a nice payday. Options vested. Could also be getting the ax. Why not just wait? Will that feel different? The big jewel of the sale. The companys new SubText product, now believed to be in beta testing.

> SubText: Striving to be the industry thought leader for all your subconscious needs.

> Some of the tech, ethical, legal, and business issues it would raise

> Maria, imagine if you could see a text of your own subconscious the possibilities for monetization, capturing value there

> SubText: We know what you want. Even if you dont.

> What if your feed gets hacked how do you know it hasnt already what if Grace saw this? Or the kids? They would know who their dad is they would know they do already they dont need the feed to know they can see it. Dont you want to be the person they think you are?

>> SubText

>> 17 pm


> Do people have sex in elevators or is that only on cable? What is this song this song is terrible you hate this song also you kind of like this song. Sex. Sex. Sex. This song is making you think about sex. You need to get out of this elevator.

> Mental note: Call IT to see if they can erase history. Sexy sex stuff.

> PING. Incoming message.




> Blah blah blah. The commitment we made. Our mission and values. Driving value for stakeholders. Thats why today.

> Is the day you need to change your life you walk in there dont chicken out dont freak out dont do the thing you always do which is think too much. Youre overthinking. You know you are. Meeting at 4:30. All-hands. In the stadium. This is the big one end of day, all-hands, big room.

> The plan was never to stay this long. Youre better than this youre lucky youre no good youre better than this no youre not. Youre a cheater youre going to mess it up mess what up all of it your job your marriage the kids youre going to hell so you might as well cheat anyway. Cheater. Youre not such a bad guy.

>> SubText

>> 2:02 pm


> Well why not Im a contributing member of society work is work. These are cutting-edge issues whos saying that where did that come from?

> The ultimate frontier not to know what we know privacy from ourselves privacy from knowing too much about ourselves. Actions versus thoughts.

> Ping Ping Ping Emails go deep in the brain. Maybe take off your shoes ah now your socks a little meditation. Maybe go pee. Pee and then meditate then maybe yogurt. Phone. Customer service. Crap. Customer service scripts need legal review now the guys calling for his legal review. Let it go to voicemail. Find an empty office on four and take your laptop up there. On the day you die. If you die. When you die. On the day you die, is this what you wanted to have spent your life doing?

>> SubText

>> 2:19 pm




>Thank you for calling MemoRE, maker of the worlds first cloud storage app for your off-site mental capacity needs. Now with a touchless interface. And coming soon, our newest product, SubText. Your customer service representative will assist you shortly. We appreciate your patience. MemoRE: Your thoughts are our business.


> e is ____________, how can I help you today?

> Help me. Somethings wrong. I need help.

> e, please?

> I dont have a name.

> Great. And in case we get disconnected, can I have the best phone number to reach you at?

> Its in my head. The call is coming from inside my head.

> And what are we thinking today? [Pause for response.] Excellent, we can help you with that.

> I dont think you understand. Something is in there. Someone.

> Im sorry you feel that way. Your feeling has been noted and will be sent to the company. Does that sound helpful?

> That someone is me. I cant get myself out of here.

> Great. Thanks for calling MemoRE.

>> SubText

>> 4:21 pm


> Templates for the subconscious. Problems with the product. Customer service. Hello, yes, my subconscious is betraying me. This is what you went to law school for? Brownies. You smell brownies. SOMEONE IS MAKING POPCORN. WHO EATS POPCORN AT 4:21 IN THE AFTERNOON? WHY IS SOMEONE ALWAYS MAKING POPCORN? Tomorrow is payday. Is this what you went to law school for?

> You used to make fun of people like you actually you still do you just dont realize youre one of the people you make fun of. Its the good-enough-job problem: good enough job that pays well enough but has turned you into someone you dont like all that much.

>> SubText

>> 4:31 pm


> All-hands should have bagels org meetings have bagels so all-hands should have bagels.




> Work-life balance what does that mean what is Work what is Life what is Balance? This is what youre thinking about? If MemoRE gets swallowed up theyll keep half the lawyers youre definitely in the top half definitely probably if youre not is that so bad? You could be on a beach you can take Grace and the kids tropical drink sand mind-eraser Grace will love you again. She loves you now. Severance one week per year is that the rule you should know you draft the agreements. Turn on SELF-IMPROVEMENT? Huh no thanks you dont need to improve youre just fine as is keep telling yourself that buddy keep it up and see where you end up. LAST TIME: ARE YOU SURE YOU DONT WANT TO TURN ON SELF-IMPROVEMENT?

> Sure, why not, go for it I could go for some improvement. Cant get worse.

>> SubText

>> 4:55 pm


> The CEO is kind of hot.

> SELF-IMPROVER: You can do better!

> The CEO is talking. You should listen.

> You can do better!

> The CEO is a human being with her own mind from which you can learn many things. Stop objectifying her and listen, asshole.

> levers that will drive growth. Human capital

> That means layoffs. Youll be fine Grace will be fine the kids wont go hungry. Youre safe. Safe. You always will be you aimed for the fat part of the green and you hit it and this is why. Youve given up things too you know. Just so you dont forget.

> Drinks tonight drinks tonight stop thinking about it stop right now youre about to learn your professional future and youre thinking about a flirty coworker.

> [Text back] Drinks sounds interesting. If this meeting would ever get started

>s you deserve a little pleasure oh God why would you do that you moron three dots means shes typing what is wrong with you erase delete it erase erase too late.


>e old guy.


>> SubText

>> 5:03 pm


> Check the news fighting continues in a war-torn country. Rescue efforts to locate a child. Oh God oh God just awful dont flick through the photos dont do it during the all-hands.

> [Browse photos]

>e a dad, youve become a crybaby. Commercials songs in the car in the garage just sometimes when Grace and the kids are all asleep and you kiss them and you take the dog for a pee walk and you look at the moon and think of the sleepyheads and you feel gratitude. Genuinely overwhelmed because you dont deserve any of it and now you are flicking through photos and losing it a little here and what is wrong with you you love them. You actually love them.

> Donate there 200 thats a lot of money thats why you work here. Because you can do that sort of thing. Sports. Sports sports sports. Is the CEO still talking about how much this organization means to her she is still talking we get it OK we get it. Whoever sticks around gets options cashed out but also has to clean up the mess. You dont want to clean up these messes. Definitely not messes made by someone else but also.

> Some of these messes are your messes.

> Some of these messes will show everyone what a fraud you are.

> Get out get out now while you can clean exit. On a beach. Grace and the kids. Youre not a lawyer. Youre something else. Youre not good at this. Youre always so hard on yourself. Youre good at something. You are. You just have to remember what.

>> SubText

>> 5:05 pm


> Announcement: Spin-off. SubText will be its own company. Email from your boss. Youre coming with him to SpinCo. And a title bump. Congrats. Lets talk later.

>Email from HR: Welcome to SpinCo. We are proud to offer you the enclosed compensation package for your new position. Blah blah entrusted with the task and responsibility and privilege of carrying this company forward. There will be unprecedented challenges in the months and years ahead. A new frontier in our customer interface. But we believe youre up to the task.

> Incoming message Her again.

> Heard about your promotion. Now we have an excuse to celebrate : )

>> SubText

>> 5:11 pm


> Meeting wrapping up here she comes shes going to ask about drinks. Oh God oh God you should do it you should have sex with her just once do it.

> Or duck away and hide in this bathroom stall okeydoke that works too.

> Call Grace call her now you idiot call her or text her not text. CALL HER.

> Hi sweetie. Just thinking of you. Love you. Was thinkinglets take a trip soon. With the kids, or without. With! OK. All of us. I dont know. No, nothings wrong. Nothings wrong. OK, love you. Spaghetti sounds good. See you tonight.

> Today was a day.

> See you soon.

>> SubText

>> 6:09 pm


> Driving home is nice because you can take off your shoes.


> Things you did today:

> Reviewed customer service script. Checked emails. Flirted with her. Donated $200 to war-torn country.

> Things you did not do today:

> Learn a foreign language. Learn anything about world or US history. Do any good for anyone. Learn how to code. Learn anything about your chosen profession.

> Things you might do tomorrow:

> Quit your job. Finally.

>e you in right field sun in your eyes your brothers glove falling off your hand it was too big and then a deep fly ball and you stuck out your hand and everyone kind of gasped like uh-oh and then you closed your eyes and braced for the worst and then everyone was silent and you opened your eyes waiting for the worst and you looked at the ground and couldnt find the ball and there it was in your glove.

>> SubText

>> 7:00 pm



> Limits of technology.

> The last and maybe most sacred frontier.

> Who we are. What we want. The space between thought and action.

> The space inside of a thought.

> Go home to Grace end of the day see her smiling face. You dont know anything you dont know anything except for this feeling and thats working for now.


> Yes.


Thank you for using SubText.

We know what you want. Do you?

The Fiction Issue

Tales From an Uncertain Future

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