Relations: McEmpire (online version)
Laura Bramble 
Laura Bramble trudged over to the myster. Her back ached powerfully.
She inserted $1,500 into the shiny, new Pfizer myster. It was a small
price to pay for the ability to keep working. She had come to love
the look of the beautiful blue logo that took her pain away and woke
her up again for a short while. She had about 17 hours left to work
and then she could finally go home and sleep.
She started back to work checking her wrist messenger as she shuffled
along. The messenger was very limited in terms of the messages it could
convey. There were two graphical windows side by side that could
display only pictures and graphics. She had known how to read in her
youth but there was no more need, and something in all of the pain
medication she was taking seemed to be making her brain atrophy. As she
gazed down at the AOL logo emblazoned in between the two picture windows
she was reluctantly grateful for its simplicity.
The first message had a picture of a sneaker in the message window
and a Nike logo in the sender window. It was spam, a junk mail message
from Nike. It reminded her how much her feet hurt and for a moment she
thought wistfully about how good a new pair of Nike sneakers would make
her feet feel. The second message was from Ford and the pictorial
message reminded her that there was a new Spider model available for
kids. She enjoyed the junk mail messages but she became anxious about
the need to rush back to work. She flipped through 7 more junk mail
messages very quickly, desiring each product as she went. She flipped
the next button again and this time in the message window there was a
McRonald's logo and in the sender window there was a picture of her
daughter Mary's chubby little face. She smiled. After work she would
take Mary to McRonald's.
Somewhere in the deep recesses of her brain was an altruistic sense
of joy that would come from pleasing her daughter. But very much at
the forefront of her thoughts was the Quad-burger she was going to
consume herself. She might even decide to get two if she could afford
it. Something about going to McRonald's reminded her of her youth.
Her father had taken her there when it was still called McDonald's
and it had other characters besides Ronald McRonald. There was a
purple thing and a thing with a big black hat. She tried to remember
but it was so hard. It seemed like those were happier times but that
didn't make any sense. The world was obviously better now.
She stopped trying to recall because getting lost in thought like
that would get her fired. She rushed through her last three junk mail
messages and switched off the messenger. It had cost her $90 to check
her messages; her supervisor was glowering at her menacingly; but all
she could think of was that tomorrow morning after work she would sink
her teeth into that burger and life would be so wonderful while she
Her back already hurt again as she went back to work. She lifted Mrs.
McNeeley onto her side and winced as her back protested. Mrs. McNeeley
shrieked at her as the rush of cold air hit her naked backside. Laura
ignored her protestations and swabbed the feces from her with an even
colder damp rag. She watched the time clock on the bed's digital readout
hoping the time bar would move faster. She strained to maintain Mrs.
McNeeley's massive girth with one arm while she swabbed and wiped with
the other. The time bar finally hit full and Laura released her. Mrs.
McNeeley came crashing back down onto her back with a thud. She started
crying. All of the patients in the LovinCare Corp facility had their own
way of protesting their treatment. Mrs. McNeeley was a crier. "You
shouldn't treat me that way!" she bawled. "My son used to be the
President! The President of the United States of America!"
Laura ignored her and moved on. Mrs. McNeeley made that same
declaration every time it was time for her cleaning. In some part of her
brain it sounded plausible. She did feel like she remembered a president
named McNeeley, but she couldn't figure out where she would remember him
from. Robert J. Minton was the president. And he had been the president
before the reorganization and ever since. There had been presidents back
before 1WG when there were still countries, And she had lived in the
country called the United States. But as nearly as she could figure there
had been three Presidents of the United States: Ronald W. Reagan, George
W. Bush and the other one. Why could she never remember his name? She
cursed her failing memory as she began to lift and scrub the next obese
mountain of flesh. Ms. Bradford squinted hard and farted loudly as Laura
wiped her. She had been saving it up and wished she had another to unleash
against the callous treatment of the young LovinCare worker.
Laura couldn't understand the resentment of the large old ladies. She
figured that they should be happy that their families were Relations class
and they could thus afford to keep them in a LovinCare facility. Laura was
obese herself and she knew that as a member of the laboring class she would
simply die when she became unable to care for herself. She cursed herself
for how much her mind was wandering and placing her job in jeopardy. She
tried to concentrate on her work.
As she resumed scrubbing the mounds of flesh she began to fixate on the
McRonald's Quad burger she would have at some point in the future. She
didn't mind this thought as it didn't distract her so much from her work.
Then suddenly the name that had eluded her popped back into her brain. The
other president of the United States had been Sean J. Hannigan. She tried
to form a mental association between Hannigan and the Hannity Housing
complex where she lived since the two names sounded similar. She didn't
want to forget the names of the presidents. It was important to remember.