“What are your goals today?”
It was the female without an accent asking. Accents and the apparent sexes their voices displayed were the only way of identifying the daily taskmasters. Identifying was a weak expression, as they remained nameless and without form.
He scratched and swallowed. He needed to get up and drink water but also pee. Was that ironic? No, coincident.
Goals. “I want to get up and pee.” That would get him no points but they didn’t remonstrate him. Still, sharp past responses made him moderate his approach.
“Write, of course,” he said.
“You always do that,” she said.
Did he imagine that she sighed? “Still counts,” he said.
Silence answered. They weren’t pleased.
He said, “Wash, vacuum, and gas the cars.”
A male overseer said, “Good,” with boredom as thick as flies on shit.
“Finish reading a book.”
“Oh.” The female. “What book?”
“Donna Leon, The Waters of Eternal Youth”.
“Very good.” Happiness seemed to shower him. “That’s a good goal. Good luck.”
He was released. Opening his eyes, he sat up. Of all that he’d said, what would most count was reading the book. That was his number one priority. He was hungry and needed enough points to get a decent meal. He sensed that if he failed to read the book, they’d punish him.
Draining his bladder in the water closet, he snorted and chortled. His mind was a strange overseer.