by Jocelyn Lieder
“I’m blue, if I was green I would die, if I was green I would die!”
“Stop! Rebs! It’s ‘da-ba-di-da-ba-di’. The “green” thing is a myth.”
“I’ll bet you a million dollars it’s ‘green’”
“I hate you.”
“One milllllllion dollars goooes to meeeeeee!”
Rebecca jumped on her mattress and kept singing about her deathly allergy to green because why not? It was raining out and Jesse and Rebecca’s Mirrors were sitting in a fourth year Mythology lecture and the two roommates were at home instead.
Rebecca glanced through her Mirror’s eyes. “It’s that a substitute professor.” She showed Jesse. “Uhhg, that guy talks so slow. My Mirror upload tonight is going to take forever.” And then, “it’s hilarious that we enrolled in the same class and now neither of us go.”
“That just means we have a date with the television.” Jesse shooed Rebecca into the living room.
“Oooooook.” Said Rebecca, channeling her inner Eeyore.
They lay on the tired sofa in their shared living room with panelled walls the colour of sunset. Every day it was the same – Jesse laying on the right side, Rebecca sitting on the left.
Rebecca’s viewscreen popped with a notification – “Walking to bathroom, want to watch?”
She shook her head in revulsion.
“Ok, how do you shut this up? It synthesized that I love walking and now I get a notification every time it takes a walk longer than two minutes. But, like, why would I want to watch her walk to the bathroom?”
Jesse mumbled in response, tucked her feet under the blanket, grabbing the controller and scrolled through Netflix. Rebecca had only got her Mirror a month ago on Jesse’s insistence. Now it was costing her over $2000 a month and it didn’t even work that well – half the time the Mirror had trouble uploading daily highlights to Rebecca. And when it synthesized behavioral information from Rebecca, it always came out distorted – for some reason, the Mirror had synthesized that Rebecca loved Ceviche and board games which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“Jesse, help. How do you find the settings on this thing?”
Rebecca tapped her viewscreen as if the device responded differently to frustration.
Jesse kicked her, “Dude, whatever, do it later.”
“No, now. It’s going to keep annoying me. I can get to the menu but from there I forget how to…”
Rebecca watched her Mirror standing still in the bathroom, “Why isn’t she moving?”
Jesse couldn’t put her finger on it, but a dull anxiety had crept into her mind. It was the same loopy feeling she’d get when she worried she might have left the oven on. Jesse threw off the couch blanket and went to the bedroom to look for her viewscreen.
“Oh my god! Jesse – my Mirror is like, broken. She’s gone back in the stall.”
Jesse found herself throwing loose clothes and scarfs around her bedroom room. The anxiety was turning into concern. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong.
“Jesse, when you come back bring my phone. I’ve got to call technical support and threaten to return this fucking thing because…”
Jesse found her viewscreen. She put in her PIN and her fingerprint and when the screen showed what her Mirror was doing, her heartrate jumped.
“HELLO? Ms. Mirror, aka piece of shit, this is Rebecca calling, can you please sort yourself out?”
Jesse flailed her fingers on her viewscreen, trying to stop her Mirror, but if there had been a moment for intervention, it had passed. Jesse’s Mirror was on a track and Jesse was too late for redirection.
Oh god, what did it synthesize? What the fuck did it take from me?
“Maybe I’ll leave the Mirror in there until the janitor finds me?”
Jesse was watching her screen, mouth agape. Her Mirror entered the bathroom, and tapped the stall door of Rebecca’s Mirror.
“Speak of the devil.”
But it wasn’t a janitor, it was reality that was knocking. Rebecca’s viewscreen showed Jesse’s Mirror opening the stall door, hair obstructing her face, head tilted.
Jesse welled with tears, her face red, her head shaking. Her instinct was to run to the bedroom and lock herself in there until forever.
“I… I don’t know Reb… I don’t know how… This is a bug or something.”
Jesse’s Model 147X grabbed her counterpart’s hair, bent down and fused the two pairs of silicon lips together. Sounds of transferring synthetic spit filled both of their viewscreen’s speakers.
“Jesse, why would you…” Rebecca was distant, retreating.
Jesse’s Mirror released the hair and dully stepped back, detached to the rejection from Rebecca.
Jesse held her hands up in defense and repeated —
“Reb, it’s a bug. I swear… I… I don’t know how it synthesized this.”
Jocelyn Lieder lives in Vancouver where she is finishing a Masters in 20th century Egyptian literature. After years of writing for her pleasure, she is inviting the world to read her work. Jocelyn lives with her partner and two cats, Iris and Ra.
Image credit: The359 via Flickr, all creative commons. Image is of a public bathroom with a large rectangular mirror on the wall and baby blue tiles. The image of the bathroom is reflected many times within the mirror.