Listening to Sammy Think

2010 March 3
by mockers

The plant life was dead. We punched in at three and out at twelve and for eight hours performed as thoughtless robots operating on static habit alone. The only deviations we knew were our own personal, transient pains and discomforts. We would have welcomed real sickness but received the company newsletter instead. I still don’t feel guilty for what happened.

The raw idea of listening to other people’s thoughts is instantly intriguing and, when actually realized, downright exciting. However, the undeniable innocence of our first “study” only managed to remind us of just how immoral our actions actually were. But, perhaps because of our dulled state of mind, our fuckit glands took over.

We gained access to Sammy’s world through a back door that had been left unlocked for us.  A sympathetic night foreman, named Sahley, recognized our sorry situation and allowed us, without involvement, to use the new equipment for our own selfish entertainment. Immediately life at The Piedmont Surveillance Company switched gears.

Piedmont was testing a very expensive and controversial anti-robbery device that allowed businesses and institutions the privilege of learning a person’s intentions by reading his thoughts, and pumping them into a headset.

As a customer entered an establishment he passed through an invisible beam that instantly read and translated his thoughts into a hum. If a customer hummed like a refrigerator, he was OK. If he hummed like a barber, he was suspect. Piedmont hoped to keep barbers out of all convenience stores by the end of the decade.

Sahley and the Piedmont employees knew that the hum was only a gimmick to prevent an outcry of protest, that minds were being read plain and simple. Sahley also saw a morale problem and production decreasing during his shift. He was a desperate man.

So, Sahley allowed the master beam to be turned on an unsuspecting fifteen year old newspaper carrier in the suburbs on November lst. He allowed the boy’s secret thoughts to be broadcast over the public address system at Piedmont during the night. And it had the desired effect.

Workers rushed to the plant to find out hew Sammy had fared in his latest battle with his parents. They cheered his drunken optimism. They howled at his fear of females. And they grew silent when he was having “alone time.” Production increased and Sahley  received a way-to-go raise.

At night, after work, I would invariably think of Sammy. Not about the lustful fantasies he cooked up or the comical predicaments he always found himself in, but the fact that his privacy was being invaded to a degree that I had never dreamt possible. He was a young man who, sitting across from his buddies at McDonald’s, would think, “Jeez, what an asshole,” just like any normal person does from time to time.  Only Sammy’s passing thoughts were booming out of speakers in a cavernous warehouse across town, and eliciting cheers.

Sammy’s every daydream between the hours of three and twelve became subject to our voyeuristic considerations. But I cannot deny that the sound of the time-clock punching me in became more satisfying than the sound of it punching me out. I felt ashamed, almost un-American.

But a funny thing happened on the way to nirvana — we grew bored. After stamping around in Sammy’s world for three months the repetitiveness of his thoughts began to get tiring. The novelty had worn itself out and a predictable rhythm took its place. We tried turning the beam on others but it just wasn’t fun anymore. A retarded girl offered us temporary solace but after awhile it just became more of the same. I think it was Brenda who first danced.

The beam was on a college professor and the rhythm of her predictable thoughts became intoxicating. Brenda dropped what she was doing and began to dance. She twirled and dipped, and kicked and stepped. She pulled Roy from behind his machine and together they danced to the steady syncopation of human thought. Eventually we all danced, together, within the corrugated walls of The Piedmont Surveillance Company.

Sahley confined the dancing to the break area, but allowed us to continue to listen in the shop. Our lunch hours became visits to the set of some bizarre Un-American Bandstand, with Roy as the host. Workers gyrated to the wild thoughts brought on by anger, and slow danced to self-pity.  Strobes and spot lights were eventually installed and platforms were built for multilevel dancing.

Production rose dramatically, despite the fact that the employees were getting little rest. Morale was at an all-time high. Sahley’s status as a genius rose with Piedmont’s profits. And Roy became a full blown celebrity.

But once again we eventually grew bored. Gimmicks did little to stave off the inevitable fall from grace. Rate-a-thought became popular (“it’s got a good beat and I kind of agree with it”) a but it was too little too late. Again the retarded girl was tapped but there were few jazz fusion fans at The Piedmont Surveillance Company during that time. Roy then started mixing real music in with the more traditional fare, in a last ditch effort to save his show.

Workers began using their breaks in a more conventional manner. They still listened, but few danced. And Roy noticed that they responded better to the records than to the “borrowed” thoughts, so he began playing more records.

Eventually we just bought a radio.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 March 3
    Vicki permalink

    Jeff, you write some strange-ass shit. Keep it coming.

  2. 2010 March 3

    Hey, don’t bogart that joint man!
    That was pretty cool!

  3. 2010 March 3
    Cosgrove permalink

    I never quite know what to expect from, but I am never disappointed. Well, except on the rare occasions when I get on the internet and find no new mockable. I feel quite disappointed then. This was really good and a neat idea. I dig it. I don’t Digg it, though, cus I don’t really know what that is.

  4. 2010 March 3
    Big Bear In OH permalink

    That was really good! Keep it up!

  5. 2010 March 3

    Nicely done my friend. I think yer gonna have to rename the site. Or add a creative writing section.

  6. 2010 March 4
    The Crotch Kid permalink

    Nobody cares about your weird dream last night.

  7. 2010 March 4

    @Crotch – nice call-back.

  8. 2010 March 5
    Juancho permalink

    Crotch Kid is bringing the heat- nice.

    The story made me remember this classic by Vonnegut.

    Allow me to painstakingly say I am not implying anything slanderous towards our friends at Mockable. The stories explore a simiar theme and tone is all.

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