Image by Christine Renney
I once had the chip, the Anti-Bad. I was a petty criminal and a repeat offender and so was deemed suitable. Someone who couldn’t help but help himself. They made me an offer and I didn’t refuse. What choice did I have? The prospect of a prison sentence, of yet another chunk of my life, diced and cubed behind bars, was unbearable and so I chose the chip.
I didn’t read the small print but simply signed all of the documents and allowed them to insert the chip into the back of my head, low down and just above the neck, in a place where even now I still have a little hair left, and no-one can see the scar or would ever know that it had once been there.
I didn’t really believe the chip would work. If it did I was convinced that I could beat it or would be able to cope with the pain and discomfort, to manage it. The worst case scenario was that I would have to toe the line for a couple of years, go straight as it were. I was arrogant, cocky, they were the suckers and I was the one in control. How bad could it be? A few headaches and a little nausea but at least I would be out in the world and not locked up in a prison cell.
It was minor operation and relatively painless, performed at a private clinic. I was in and out in a matter of hours. I had to report in once a week but other than that I was set free, allowed to go wherever and do whatever I wanted. They informed me that I wouldn’t feel any effects from the chip, that it wouldn’t start working for at least twenty four hours.
As I walked away from the clinic my head was spinning. I was in a state of confused elation. I hadn’t expected this free time. It was a gift, a whole twenty four hours in which I really could do just as I pleased. My first thought was that I would go out that night and do a little breaking and entering. No, I would do a lot of breaking and entering, as many properties as I could manage, for as long as I was able. But of course I would have to wait until it was dark, until the early hours and this would mean wasting most of the time or at least half of it. All of the day light hours squandered. No, what I needed to do was to purchase a gun. I had a little cash hidden away in my room. I would steal a car and set off on a spree, robbing convenience stores and twenty four hour service stations, moving quickly and helping myself from the cash registers. I would build up the kitty, my nest egg. And whilst chipped, I would make use of these spoils and live in the lap of luxury.
But what if the chip did work and I wasn’t able to spend the money I hadn’t acquired honestly? I needed to settle and to clear my head.
I wandered into town and eventually I found myself sitting in the corner of a quiet café. I was annoyed with myself. I should have read all of those documents and if I had I would have been aware of this and I could have made preparations and planned something, something big, something swift and lucrative, a bank job perhaps.
And then suddenly I felt the pain in my head. It was searing, excruciating and although it had arrived suddenly no matter how hard I tried it didn’t dissipate, it didn’t lessen. And through the pain I became aware that the counter girls were staring across at me and, holding my head, I continued to howl