Memories, Lost and Found

The lost art of customer service and personal memories

“I’d like to report a missing memory.” The lady in the service department looked at me, bored, like this wasn't the first time she had someone with this complaint.

“Are you sure? When was the last time you thought about that memory? How do you know you actually lost it here?”

What an absurd yet strangely reasonable question. How do I know I lost the memory here? In fact, can I be sure of the memory in the first place?

I looked down at the kid holding my hand.

And I don’t know him.

He keeps calling me, dad.

The young lady held out a wand and beckoned me to give her my phone. She pointed the wand at the phone and several digital holoforms are projected into the air.

“I’m going to need you to fill out these claim forms. What you lost, when you lost it, what your memory engram markers are for this missing memory.”

“Assuming I do all of this, what happens next?”

“We clear “Virtual World’s” cache at the end of every month. Stray memories are collected and tagged. We do our best to return every stray memory in a timely fashion.”

I was besides myself with rage. “What do you mean, you do your best? What happens when it isn’t your best?”

She looked over my shoulder at the line of people forming behind me. “Sir, memory degradation is generally very slow. If you lost a memory in the theme park, it will likely be found and returned to you with as little degradation as possible.”

She popped her gum as she closed my account pending my paperwork. She muttered under her breath while doing so. “To be honest, most people are only losing memories they don’t need or want. This sounds like a personal issue.”

I looked down at the five year old squeezing my hand. Exasperated I pick up my phone and turn away from the counter.

“Do you know where we live?” He nodded.

My phone linked to my neural network and tried to compensate for the associate losses, marking the locations in my memory stacks for comparison.

“Okay, kid. But I’m driving. What’s your name? It might be a while, don’t want to be saying, hey you, for the next month. Tell me, how do I feel about your mother?”

Memories, Lost and Found © Thaddeus Howze 2017, All Rights Reserved

A writing prompt inspired by this news article:

Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon. But one of the best ways to show you care is to share this story.