Feb 04

Chap. 13 Obliging Little Angels


Steel GobosApollo


Anna presses her hands down the sides of her hips to straighten her gray skirt, which is hidden under a sterile lab coat. Walking down the hall, she passes Gail’s office on her way to the company courtyard.

This afternoon, the white door to Gail’s office is wide open as if she wants to keep an eye on all who pass, as if she knows that every time Anna gets upset she will flee to the courtyard for some fresh air. In spite of her desire to avoid Gail, she retains her commitment to the courtyard. Her only vindication is to treat Gail with indifference as she passes her open door and continues to look straight ahead.

Gail calls after her, but without hearing what she said Anna hollers back, “Yes, I’m aware of the meeting at three thirtyyy!” Anna continues her brisk walk towards the fresh air – this is turning out to be such a bad day that she cannot help but feel that it should be treated with a certain disregard.

Pushing on the gray security doors, they politely swing outwards as she enters the courtyard. A gust of wind catches her gray streaked hair and out of habit she reaches into her pocket for a package of crackers – there are none. The pigeons don’t seem to be paying attention anyway.

She steps out of view and into an alcove surrounded by grass-covered mounds topped with evergreens. The moving cameras always follow any detected motion – away from the cameras though, she still feels watched.

The added feeling of security was comforting, but things are different now – the feeling is more like apprehension. There was a time when she knew that the cameras were there to protect her, but now she has no idea who controls them – that gives ‘them’ a power that she doesn’t entirely trust. It also gives her the feeling of being a foreigner in a research facility that she helped to build.

“Take me away,” she groans feebly yet with a determined eagerness – muttered to no one there. She slowly closes her eyes, stands still, and looking lost in the oversized white lab coat, turns toward the sun, tilts her head back, and lets the sunlight warm her face. She is numbed by the effect this company is having on her.

To the university that she came from she was considered to be one of the most successful researchers they’d ever had – her research may be followed for decades.

She knows this to be true, but now she feels lost and abandoned. Now she stands in the sunlight within a sculptured courtyard looking as vague and surreal as a figure in a Degas, or a Van Gough. Fading with each brushstroke, her integrity, her identity, and her youth, all are dissolving into the background – leaving only her research to remain in the hands of a marketing machine.

A machine that would find more marketability in her death than in her living – as if a coating of ink on glossy paper would create the historical worth needed to give meaning to their collective lives – and ultimately increase the production of these innocent little eggheaded children whom looked as if they were stamped in marble. These obliging little angels that are sold, obliging little angels that behave so well, obliging little angels that process all of our data, and yet all of a sudden they seemed so wrong.

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