- I managed to get all my posts done this year!
- I also entered WriteClub 2020. 🤞
- I worked on my writing.
- I entered a flash fiction contest (tied for second).
- I celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary – we even opened the wine we were saving.
- I fell behind on journaling.
- I didn't keep up with my commenting.
- I'm behind on email replies.
- I've had several arguments on Facebook with people who... don't share my belief in the seriousness of the pandemic.
|Our special drink to celebrate our anniversary.|
|Look what I spotted on an old episode of Desperate Housewives. A to Z Yellow Pages.|
Biolidics, a company from Singapore, has a rapid test for the virus! Video: facebook.com/nasdaily
Wear a mask! Support the United States Postal Service! 📬 Follow Alton Brown's Quarantine Quitchen on YouTube because he, his wife, and their two dogs are adorable! 💑🐶🐕
That's the prompt and this is my entry (this was before I saw the show Upload). (Trigger warnings: current pandemic, LGBTQIA+)
Welcome to Third Life _ _ _
"You just pick your name and password to get started. Think to type," the sales representative says as she rearranges my bedside table.
"Right. But this isn't a regular website."
"The instructions are all on the screen. At any time, say 'exit' and an option to quit will appear."
"What happens if I quit?"
She gnaws on her lip before answering. "I've never seen that happen. But you are free to leave any time."
"Why did you pause?"
"Because I'm in the world. I had to cancel and close my box after saying the word. Any other questions you have are answered in the program," she says as she leaves.
I probably shouldn't do this. But she looked so real! I could smell her, and it wasn't a cleaning product scent, but perfume. Her skin felt real to my touch. That's what skin still feels like, right? Anyone who comes in here hides behind a biohazard suit, as do I. She didn’t need to.
I click the FAQ.
Do I have to use my real name?
— No! In Third Life you can be your most true self, whoever you feel that is. Upgrades and changes for your avatar are purchasable. Usernames are permanent but in-game IDs can be altered for a fee.
I type a username and password. I've seen Avatar and the Matrix movies. And I played SecondLife for years. I know this isn't much different. Except those were movies and a game. This is real life.
Real life? I think that ended back in Nineteen or Twenty. Reality tumbled into a portal dimension of country-sized fires, quakes, sickness, and building-sized asteroids.
The screen starts with an avatar that looks like me. Or, at least, the me that was. Back when smiles weren't hidden behind masks. Hair that was cut and styled: what a memory!
This biohazard suit is like my closet. I dared not come out of it before. I've pretended to be Cis to survive. But the avatars that live in the world are without violence. I can be my real self now.
I scroll through base avatars until I find what I want. There. The body that reflects who I feel I look like.
Hours have passed by the time I've perfected making my avatar. I step out into the world for the first time as my true self.
What will happen to my birth body? They say the avatar never dies. But my birth body was about to expire. I survived the first two virus waves, but won't survive cardiomyopathy. If I exit, is that suicide?
When my birth body dies the biohazard suit, my closet, will be discarded. So I'm out. There's no going back. I'm going to have to live as my true self among the remaining thirty-million survivors. Is that a silver lining, or a tinfoil one?