Kids Are Like Sponges
A brusque Slavic voice ricocheted off the brick alley walls around the corner, and my level two high school Spanish was not helping me decipher any of it. My socks were soddened by the blood running down the front of my jeans. As I surveyed the empty sunset-lit block, my breaths came in jagged bursts. I didn’t recognize this part of town. My body was still shaking with the shock of what happened at the police station. It’s not every day you see a man in a black suit and Ray-Bans shoot two cops while you are mid-conversation with them.
“Run!” That’s all I had heard. I didn’t know if it was my own voice or Sam’s. She had been next to me during the shooting. It was her blood running down the front of my jeans.
I caught my breath and looked down at my phone. The GPS read You have arrived. I double-checked that the address I punched in while running matched the one that had come from the unknown phone number, which seemed more area code than number. I had ignored the texts at first. I had been busy climbing the unnecessarily copious number of steps leading to the police station. And I think I was finally convincing Sam to sell me her memory of the time she walked in on me mid-wipe at the movie theater’s unisex bathroom. If I had known that morally ethical inclusivity came at the cost of your best friend catching you in a frog squat with dropped trow, I would have thought twice about signing that petition clipboard.
They tell you to only sell your memories if prescribed by a licensed Memorist. Bunch of horse shit. Before everyone’s uncle owned one, Memor-link boxes were exclusive to Memorists’ clinics. That’s back when my trauma-laden shell of an aunt decided to visit one. She had been prescribed to sell her traumatic childhood memories. What they didn’t tell her was that even though the memories disappeared, the emotions stayed. And rope is much cheaper than you think. I didn’t have any trauma. What I did have was a memory of a certain popular senator guiding two blindfolded toddlers into an SUV during my alleyway pee break last week. After talking over what I saw with Sam, she had eventually convinced me to go to the police station.
I ventured down the narrow alley and found a blindfolded kid with a short buzz-cut connected to a Memor-link box. Beside him, a bald, pale man in a tracksuit grunted, “Do now. No more trouble.” He had a way with words.
Feeling resigned and chicken shit, I took the connecting pair of Memor-link wires, peeled the Giver-Tabs, and suctioned them onto my temples. I closed my eyes and brought the memory into focus. The box beeped. Then I heard hair clippers.