The Window™ - A short story.
And that was the most mystifying thing about The Window™, even once manufacturers admitted defeat, and revealed the unforeseen consequences, those that were used to having them, didn’t want to give them up! Despite all the media hostility and investor backlash, their stocks crashing and all the competitive tech chatter, surprisingly few people asked for the promised refunds and reinstallation of their old, ordinary windows.
Sales stilted for a while, sure, but then, bafflingly, the numbers started to creep back up.
The early gasps of relieved shock and the angry grasping at blame, soon simmered to milder murmurings of gossipy judgment at ladies luncheons, and then quietly became overlooked and eventually entirely unmentioned, as if the whole incident had never happened.
This unspoken agreement, to allow each other to live in this framed perspective — without any correction or defiance — helped people become more and more buried and deluded.
The Window™ allows you to see the world as you want to perceive it. That’s the simple premise. You connect it to your innerweb™ chip, and through your algorithms, search history and hormone and endorphin detection technology, The Window™ will edit the world to your point of preference. So you would no longer see your neighbors unkept garden, no longer hear their snotty nosed brat, or even note the gloom of February weather (though you would be notified when dressing of the outfit you would require).
The president himself was the one to ignite the technology, announcing to the world he was "the most technologically advanced President to ever have reigned".
The term “reign” was rebuked on the coasts for a bit, but that was quickly muted by the RealNews™ teams on the ground, and before you knew it, The Window™ was back-ordered. People were getting their entire homes and offices fitted out!
And then they developed The Mirror™, and the company just blew up, receiving acclaim as the fastest growing company of all time.
But here's the bit nobody bargained for... sure, those like our almighty Pres’, got to see the world as his own show, celebrated and adored, with cities rising up and thriving before his imagination, and many were buoyed along with him. But then came the wobbles. There were the attacks, as men made advances on unsuspecting females, that through their filtered view point, were giving them the come on. Then it got darker, as people fears started to manifest through their window panes. Their dark skinned neighbor of 23 years was suddenly in Jihad clothing, wielding arms, and shot down by a man he once barbecued with. The cleaner from across the street was reported stealing silverware and electronics, when she was simply hanging out the washing. She was arrested and charged. And the mirrors… that was an unexpected twist. Instead of the bodies they dreamed of, people's insecurities started amplifying, the mirrors adding 5lbs a day, when the real person in front of it was starving away... it quickly became apparent that even more prevalent than what they dreamed of, people were seeing only what they feared, and The Window™ was detecting what truly most governed their thoughts and shaping how they saw the world with those.
The most tragic thing of it all was that people weren't even noticing their loved ones going down a rabbit hole, as everyone was too plugged in to their own limited view point of this newly warped reality.
The only ones that watched it all go down — and suffered the conscious consequences — were those that couldn't afford this coveted lens.
Rebels on the east coast started fighting back, and telling people that what they were seeing was their projected fears and insecurities, not what was real. There were momentary ripples of change, ripples of an awakening. Women were flying to Mexico for retreat weekends in a bunker without any transparent or reflective surfaces, and slowly (and expensively) reintroduced to their "honest, vulnerable and beautiful selves"... but then they would leave and return to their homes and twisted realities, and quote the talk without living the walk. The wouldn’t give up their mirrors.
This was the real shocker.
People were as addicted to their fearful, self sabotaging, self loathing selves as they were to their self worshipping and applause seeking sides! Who knew?
When I heard that the company had announced they were developing glasses with the same technology, I shared a laugh whilst serving three of my suited regulars that prop up the bar on weekday nights.
"what on earth next!" one announced
"Oh my God, this is truly ridiculous! What is the world coming to?!!"
"What, there weren't enough law suits the first time round" they all joked.
And as they smirked and eye rolled, then uncomfortably reached for their drinks, I found myself wondering if they were all users. Then I read that night that the new product had "sold out" in pre-orders before the first run even begun?!
That's the beauty of being poor I guess, it's kept me humble, kept me “in touch”. The owners of the bar are fitting The Mirrors™ in the bathrooms next week. I'll have to focus on my knob when going to piss I suppose. Until everyone has the glasses I guess — then I can probably waz in the sink behind the bar! It will be fun actually to see how many people even notice me do that. Ha. Should I trademark “The Bottom of the Glass”, as surely that’s next…?
Short story by Jayne Moore
— This was a piece I wrote as part of an exercise given by Gotham Writing School here in New York. We were simply given the words “The Window” and told to run with it in any direction we wanted, with only those two words to go on, and see where the hell our imagination took us. I wrote this in early 2017, so it’s obviously heavily influenced by the environment and ridiculousness of the current President Donald Trump’s behavior and just how absurd the whole “fake news” situation was and still is.
It may confuse you that I write as a man here, I can’t really explain how or why that happens, but sometimes that is just the character that channels through me. I sometimes dream as a man, some find that strange, perhaps it’s because I grew up around boys, perhaps I have been men in my past lives, but more importantly than that is just how much I enjoy stepping entirely in to someone else shoes to make a point, and letting them do the work from there on. I think it is a gift to be able to empathize and understand others and something we as humans should always be working on. We can only ever walk in our shoes, but if we can take the time to mentally stand in another’s, we will only ever be better for it, kinder, more patient, more understanding… and those are three things this world is in desperate need of.
Thank you for reading my short!