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  • Writer's pictureSarah Gibbs Underhill

1974 Me Predicts 2024 Me

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

[I wrote this when given the High School English assignment of imagining myself in 50 years. It was published in “Literary Cavalcade” of May 1975 after winning a Scholastic Award for Creative Writing. ]

Salt in a Wound

A Traumatic Morning in My Life, 2024 AD, age 65.

My turbogenerated life plan morning -rise melody buzzer woke me up at 8:30 with a tinny rattle which was, I automatically assumed, the present number one hit song of the entire E.W.H.U.S. I pushed my stamina-lever and felt a flow of energy from the maximum morning allowance of alpha-amphetamine entering my veins from the perma-syringe in my arm, which was hooked into the dispenser inside my comfort capsule. Invigorated, I pressed the door button and stepped out of the padded capsule and into my chem-shower, my foot automatically activating it and sending down a rain of warm, greenish antiseptic solution.

Three minutes later, after stepping into the dry-air chamber and putting on a polynylon kaftan, I glided back the sliding doors and sat down in my dining cubicle. I put a container of imitation egg substitute (tasting just as good as *real* egg substitute, the package assured me) into the oven slot and moved to pop open a cup of vitamin enriched algal plant juice.

The brittle plastic lid cracked and slashed my finger. My wounded hand dripped blood onto stainless steel.

I stared at the crimson drops, and then, panicking, lurched out of my reclining chair and pushed the EMERGENCY and MEDICAL buttons on my closest videophone. Almost instantly, the screen lit up and a figure dressed in white appeared. It was not evident whether it was male or female; it stood behind a counter on which were spread a series of first-aid kits; it stared at me. I suddenly realized that I had no wig on, and that my shaved head must look ridiculous, but my wigs were all in their locker on the other side of the room.

“Yes?” The figure’s lips moved and its voice crackled over the audio. Mutely, I held up my finger. The figure automatically picked up one of the kits. “This will be sent to your dwelling immediately. Apply Solution A. Wipe with sanitary towel. Apply Solutions B and Triple A. Encase area in plastic protecta-shield for three days. Spray with Amina-salve once daily.” And with a buzz and a click, the vision was gone and my screen was blank.

Well. Help was on the way now. I went back to my breakfast. The blood had disappeared from the machine surfaces thanks to the automatic vanishing cleaning unit. I took out my morning dosage of a dozen pills, swallowing them down with my plant juice, and shoveled the egg substitute into my mouth with a little sanispatula. The kit should be arriving any second now. I hooked my perma-syringe into the tincture of cannabis tube to calm my nerves, and waited.

I waited two minutes. A long time. Still there was no rattle in the chute, no welcome sound of the delivery buzzer. Wringing my finger, I pawed wildly in my pill bin, finally finding a salt capsule. Didn’t we used to do that? Something I vaguely remembered…putting salt on a wound. Wasn’t that supposed to help? With trembling fingers, I emptied the capsule onto my cut. It immediately throbbed with a fresh spurt of pain. I cringed and tears came to my eyes. Shaking some of the salt off of my finger and stumbling back to the videophone, I pushed the two buttons again. I waited about forty-five seconds, but nothing happened. I stood there clutching my burning finger and staring at the empty screen.

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