06:28AM. Jinx wakes two minutes before the alarm and seven minutes before the sun. He slow to awareness — dazed, languidly, then all at once. His bones creak. He yawns. Still, he rises to greet the day, shoulders squared and jaw locked as if headed for battle. As ever, his eyebrows furrow and the corners of his lips pinch into something unpleasant.

His face does the same now — as he’s reeling from a long day past and a long day ahead.

Exhausted, he tips his chin to the side, tickling the tips of his fingers against the stubble forming there. He shrugs, attempts to rest his head on the buff of his shoulder. Fails but tries nonetheless, eyes growing heavy and impossible to hold open. He stretches his form, a long line of lithe muscle extending to meet the day.

He tilts his head back then, eyes closed, waiting.

The alarm starts, Hello, Jinx. The time is 06:30AM. Agenda for today: routine check up. Meet your medical proctor (Doctor Hanna) today at 11:45AM. Examination will conclude at 12:30PM. At approximately 12:45PM, you return home at Clement Square, where you will then report to your local Collection Center. Daily samples of hair and semen will be collected in return for food packages. Lunch is from 1:30PM to 1:55PM. On the menu today: tuna. At approximately 2:00PM, you will report to work at Al’s Repair Shop. Five-minute breaks are scheduled at 4:05PM and 9:10PM. Your work day ends at approximately 11:00PM. You will then return home and power off.

Remember: Order, efficiency, and obedience.

Sighing, he pushes himself up, removes his wires, and powers on for the day.

my name is chei — i like speculative fiction, compound sentences, and art journalism. i tweet @ cosmicblackgirl

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