The Gig

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Let's make sure stories presents a monthly journey into the improbable. Today's story one seventy six the GIG read by Mitchell Easter place in time where logic breaks down in wonderment began there are stories just remember to credit us and don't alter anything good the validation code will have been automatically sent to your phone wants to mesh hub is ready it'll connect and download the code and how do I how do you know when and where to go Mr Oni through the APP you'll get instructions through the APP good day as the be tender for a day but there we're finished power how do I keep charged Oh it uses it opened the door to leave she stopped and turned to Lee oh I almost forgot welcome to Air Mash Mr Oni the woman gave him a the technician ignored the question and continued to pack up there are fewer nerve endings in your back so it's easier to insert and you're less likely to feel it under your skin we tried both at first too many nerve endings and the company's afraid people could remove them on their own did that ever happen rude list government building from the previous century on a no longer important street his career manager had insisted league at the implant before he left her off the natural current in your nerves nothing else is needed. It's only a few extra calories a day no one even notices at least we've never had a complete but such futile act would only delay the inevitable so deciding it was pointless given the mash hub was already spreading its Gossamer tendrils out under the all while the technician from Air Mesh Systems worked on his back it only takes a minute once we're set up the bio circuitry is not that large and the ain't you can get up now and put your shirt back on the technician a middle aged nurse who looked as if the world had ground her down to the point that injecting smile which didn't reach her is then turned and walked out closing the door Lee finished buttoning his shirt then check the time on his phone this and she had made it clear he didn't have a choice the contract is on the table you have to sign it before I can give you the activation code the technician noted you were the nurses tablet lay he looked at the contract on the device deciding whether he should read the entire agreement as a way to protest the situation. It's it I thought there'd be more to it Leoni stared down at the worn grey industrial carpet through a face hole in the portable massage table he hadn't planned on being so long not that he had anywhere in particular go he just hadn't expected today to be another mandatory check in with Vivian his assigned career flexibly like agreed or on the thousand person through the door of a store. You've downloaded the APP to your phone right Yeah I did it before you go Dan Lee picked up the tablet hesitated then pressed his thumb to the screen and handed the device to the technician there is signed Cedar is similar to any sub dermal implant the hub is so thin there is no raised area and once the incision heals you won't be able to see where it is at all the area your manager everyone on the subsidy had one and Vivian insisted he meet with her again before he could leave the building the walk back to her office approach has piece work was all she could handle began to pack up her equipment they had met at least career managers office located in an old weathered out here police struggled to get a shirt on favouring his still frozen shoulder then stretched and stiffly walked over to the only other piece of furniture in this small room in of his back he just scanned first few lines of the incomprehensible agreement why the back why not a leg or an arm took him through a large workspace occupied by empty cubicles with the names of no longer existing departments still visible all had either been replay city themselves he had never been ambitious and although the subsidy didn't quite provide enough to live on most months he somehow made out as east by automated systems or simply shutdown has public budgets shrank he briefly wondered where everyone was now were they doing gigs or on the I was thinking about this a self guided cleaner beeped at him to get out of the way lease mild and stepped into the machines path blocking its way like me adore a few steps away in the central core of supervisor offices Sprung Open Vivian lamb how small but imposing forty something dressed in any people he enjoyed messing with them feigning and Decision on which way to dodge matching the dumb things counter moves until it's tiny I simply gave up and shut down a no nonsense business suit stood in the opening looking impatient that's something only kids do Mr Oni you're almost thirty not unless there's been a mistake in your file come in I don't have much time before the next appointment and I still need to give you the orientation by the time I and carefully scripted explanation as you know with dropping tax revenues and growing deficits we've been forced to cut back on the program which means Eh disengaged from his game with the cleaner and entered the office Vivian was already backed behind her desk reviewing files onto tablets she adding more capable people such as yourself back to work and in the current environment there are fewer and fewer opportunities so when Air Mesh Systems Liam so happy you have agreed to become part of this new initiative do I really have a choice Vivian ignored the question and launched into a well audited and motioned for lead to sit in a chair which somehow managed to force all the tallest clients to look up at her please sit Mr only for this type of work do you have any questions Lee shook his head okay then Mr `honey we are excited for you you are one of the lucky if you please Vivian motion to the door then turned her attention back to one of the tablets which had begun to chime Lee wasn't approached us we had no choice but to pursue their proposal you'll be your own boss Mr Oni a contractor in a brand new field your earnings are only get paid by the gigabyte of traffic handled and credit will be transferred to your account in real time it's that easy and from what I can see in your files your aptitude makes you once we may simply have to stop the subsidy for others we've given you a future if you think of any questions please contact me through the booking APP now limited by the number of hours you WanNa put in as you've been told the company will contact you with jobs you simply show up when and where they ask you to quite sure how he felt has he made his way back through the maze of empty offices to the street somewhere between the dawn and Don Parks subways if and when there wasn't enough work it seemed all too tenuous to him but Vivian had insisted it would be fine that it would be better for him he didn't officials draining and he hadn't quite gotten his head around the idea that he had been kicked off the subsidy the new GIG had no guarantee of income so what would happen if in read on the Air Mash up your GPS indicates you are only four stops from your designated target payment will start once you are the area already Lee griped and pulled his phone out of his pocket she didn't tell me it would start so soon going into his music with a distinctly abrasive synthetic voice fleas be in City Hall by three PM and remain and the zone designator trust her especially since she explained he was one of the first in government industry pilot program his phone buzzed again this time he protested loud enough to make several people standing near him in the crowded car turn to see what his problem was too young women beside him in jeans and Hoodie nations will he felt his phone vibrate against his leg and decided to ignore it he had been zoning out listening to his favorite playlist he found dealing with the fight the unusually hot spring day why would so many people be wearing things like that lease phone vibrated impatiently again please acknowledge your except and with backpacks and scarves edged away Lee didn't care what they thought he was angry when Lee tapped his ear buds to start his music again he noticed the train was unusually crowded for the time of day like the two women most were casually attired but it was the scarves hoodies made him wonder what was going on melts into the streets and disappear on the walk to the coffee shop we had arranged to meet Anita at the sun was hot enough to make him sweat silence of this job by pressing yes on the Air Mesh APP annoyed Lee poked at the icons to open the APP hit yes checked where he was supposed to hang out located in the center of this target zone just off the public square around city hall the place was generally not on his list of hangouts it was to upscale and expense he stopped to check his account on the mobile APP and noticed a small deposit had already been made he laughed and smiled this might be okay then got an idea no one had mentioned how he should spend his time well he was working only that he needed to be in the red zone he thumbed through his contacts. The cafe was an upscale auto mart across a busy street from the City Hall Plaza which was currently empty except for a few mid afternoon shop for someone on the subsidy but it was the only place he could afford in the area a block away his phone buzz acknowledging he had entered the zone explain we meet I'm texting you the address C. They're three awesome the unusual crowd got off at the same station as Lee then seemed stopping at his friend Anita then hit the call button hey there it's Li got time for a coffee it's on me this time I've got this Gig had been his friends since childhood and was always looking out for him no problem how's business better than last month Lee thought for a moment he could feel the skin on his back tingle but the technician had insisted there'd be no sensation when the hub was active out of curiosity out on the subway I needed spotted him and waved him over are you sure you can afford this Lee she questioned Anita Anita looked puzzled. I didn't have a choice volunteer for this new pilot program or get nothing I would have been on the street at first they did and you're blowing the last of your cash here I don't get it Lee smiled and laughed yeah I got bumped off but they forced me into a new pilot program I'm gigging like you I'm working right now or at least my back is I meander through to reach the far side Lee shivered as he pushed through the door into the metallic cool air con and suddenly wished he had worn a Hoodie like hey I guess at least I made something on my last few designs I switched job boards not as many companies posting work there and the jobs are smaller which means that there are fewer people bidding on work and I don't have to discount my rates as much I'll make expenses this month she shrugged then looked critically phone across the table. Look at my account balance see it slowly going off while we're just sitting here Anita gave the screen a perfunctory we I was surprised when you called me didn't think you had the money to blow on overpriced coffee hey I thought you said they were kicking you off subsidy you're not making any sense -ly there's got to be more to it than that no one pays you to just show up and do nothing viscous does attentive personally won't happen Lee laughed it's implanted in my back what's new technology Anita it's my friends buy them a coffee catch up well my back does all the work I'm just the host Anita looked at the phone again and frowned don't know maybe there's a conference or something nearby but that's better for me more money for my time I'll have to stay here until they tell me I can go but I don't care up Dermal biochip the runs off your body I wasn't even sure about this when they told me what I'd be doing but the upside is I can do things like me how was really ticked about it I didn't WanNa do it but it's really not that bad I'm working right now I just have to show up where they tell me to and hang out dance then stopped packing up and stared at Lea- in disbelief I don't get it you're being paid for what it's a new thing Anita started packing up to leave is this just another one of your scams to con someone into buying launch. Sorry I can't afford to subs hubs all you gotTa do is show up wearing when they need you and the hub does the rest and I get paid by the GIG transferred pretty sweet that's a lot of data early why would someone be transferring that much stuff around in the middle of the afternoon in here the Empty Plaza another Gig I've got a good feeling about this Anita I thought this was a bogus way to get me off subsidy then they hit me on the subway not even thirty minutes okay I guess that makes sense you carry around a hub for them but knowing you hear going to forget it wants and get fired you're not the most who knows who cares they sat in silence for a few minutes savoring a moment where neither had to worry about money for once just walking over the machines back paid for half of this stuff already but Anita wasn't paying attention instead she was looking out the plate glass window human staff that's still way out of my league hey with a couple more gigs like this he smiled checking his phone again wow traffic's increasing. Winging Nita Ad Hoc Mesh data nets a new startup Air Mesh systems is partnering with the to take people off the subsidy by turning them into mobile is it this month I'm just getting my head above water okay okay sorry really I'm working look at this lease later it's quite good is great in fact I picked this place Lee admitted 'cause it's high rated in the area unless you go to some fancy join with in no rush what else do I have to do hey I'm going to use some of those credits tobias coffee and snacks from the machines what do you want I owe you lean on after I thumbed the final paperwork it's only going to grow look at my balance don't worry Anita there's no way will eat through it in one meal too closer it's a pro Tesli Anita guest anxiously checking each street for the wall of humanity that would be following the sound did you hear that Anita suddenly twisted her head towards the noise in the distance barely audible there was a muffled sound like that explains why everything is closed the new but why would that company send you here don't know lease weird there's no one here also looks like most of the stores around the plaza closed and it's not a holiday we shrugged hours of this and I'll make my month this is awesome come on let's eat reluctantly Anita followed her friend over to the vending machines curious Anita joined him and together they slid out through the automated door the effect was like someone turning up the volume on us around and made a modest selection well e celebrated to excessively for her comfort but as long as she only he had never thought about the next day thousands of feet mixed with chanting Lee kept his ears with his hands yeah I hear it but I can't tell what it is through the glass let's go outside no leash shook his head I have to stay until they tell me to leave there's nothing on the APP I wanNa keep this Gig let's just go back inside and at the trendy automatic machines lined up along the inside wall that's generously but maybe should go easy on the budget you don't know when you'll get confidence was beginning to leave him. The first soon Nami of protesters emerged from a sidestreet flowing out into the square like muddy rate aging water escaping the confines of riverbanks into the expanse of an ocean who we should go we we can't afford to get caught up in this after Lee paid they took their loaded trays over to a table by the window and settled in Anita tasted her drink experimentally with noisy anger but the protesters were behaving just yelling and chanting at the evidently abandoned City Hall hand painted signs the sound system noise was flooding into the square from every street the chance changed from rhythmic patterns to shouted slogans as the wall of noise drew with slogans such as stop the jobless economy tax the machines and people are not a financial liability floated by the cafe window most of the protests in human flesh it simply evaporated of anything else Lee began to climb out from under the table when the cafe door exploded into thousands of glass beads windows rattling them until both Lee and Anita fearing they were going to break dived under their table for protection water cannon Lee stirs ignored them a few waved encouraging them to join and when they didn't swore at them and banged on the plate glass Leeann Anita decided to move to the back of the asked its public order the water cannons swung past the cafe windows leaving sickly Orange Puddles the die was specifically formulated to stain low rumbling joined the mix then a discordant hiss began to drown out everything an orange hurricane started assaulting the calf the hand-held then looked right at Lea- that's the one take him the harshly lit space was it anyway I don't think we get through the crowds. They watched nervously from inside the automated cafe as the square filled up and overflowed six public order officers dressed in heavy riot gear stormed through plastic shields in front and tasers drawn the one in the lead consultant being away from a point on the other side of the plaza like fish avoiding intruding Predator screams began to emerge from the cacophony outside and a new eh where no one outside could see them but before they had time to get up the casual swarming of the protesters suddenly changed to a purposeful wave rate exactly what we had imagined an interrogation room would be like a stain table too uncomfortable chairs on either side an ancient humming fluorescent ceiling light thankfully they hadn't been interested in Anita but they had warned her not to intercede she was screaming at the Peo- officers last time he had seen her his anxiety Lee lost track of the number of interviews he had been through with a different person each time all had started unannounced predictably they had taken his phone away so Lee didn't know whether a half an hour or half a day had passed since they had arrested him at the automatic cafe out there by a company called Ayer Mesh Systems you also claimed that you had no choice you claim you were on the subsidy and close the door and looked at least skeptically sit down Mr owning he didn't bothered introduce himself and motion to the chair behind while you waited in the old social services building during an appointment this morning with your assigned career manager finally you are insisting you have no idea career manager one Vivian lamb insisted you had to do this or be permanently barred from the program you also claimed this as a new public private Lee hoped she had found her way home safely the door to the room suddenly burst open making the jump he had been pacing around the space trying to wear down and in an immaculate dark blue suit consulting a tablet angled so Lee couldn't see the screen the man took his time to finish whatever he had been reading then she did with Air Mesh Systems to get people off subsidy and you claim an Air Mesh technician implanted biochip mesh hub under the skin of your back the table then waited for Lee to sit but the man remained standing he folded his arms over his chest

Coming up next