George awoke and muttered, “Life is a journey.”

He sighed, and turned to his side and pulled the blanket over his head, trying to hide from the cameras he knew where watching. His foot itched. He listens to his thoughts, but his mind’s thoughts were useless. The Guardians, they knew. How did they he was going on a journey to find “forgotten lands where empires had turned back to sand?”

He imagined he pulled off the blanket and whispered with exaggerated lips “Life is a journey.” No with more exaggeration: Life I S a Jourrr-kneeeee!!!!!” Thrilled with the imaginary rebellion, George’s thoughts returned to the question of the Guardians. How did they know?

He scratched his foot. He was a ‘scratcher.’ That’s what his mother told him. George preferred the burning sensations of open flesh to an annoying itch. When his mother scolded him, he had a ready-made excuse, “I itch in my sleep. I wake-up and find myself scratching. I’m a night-time scratcher, can’t help it.”

The room was cozy. The warm browns and yellows relaxed him. George was hungry. His thoughts of Guardians were replaced with thoughts of food. What do I want? Spaghetti noodles with red sauce. And some meatballs. A cold glass of water too.

George sat up in the bed and said, “I would like to eat!” The food replicator responded, “What would you like to eat, George?” “Spaghetti noodles with extra red sauce and meatballs. No peppers in the red sauce – add oregano, basil, black pepper, onion. And absolutely no garlic. I’m a vampire.” The food replicator repeated his food order, and added, “do you wish anything to drink, George?” “Cold water, please, no ice.” The food replicator added, “George, would you like to know how many times you have ordered this meal?” “More than 2000 times?” “No, you have ordered the meal 1204 times.” “Your food will be ready in 4 minutes.” “May I have chocolate chip for dessert?” “George, your parents have restricted your access to desserts. I need approval of both parents before I accept your order.”

As the long four-minutes began, George remembered two things: the first. I am in the rehabilitation center, again. The second was more of a reminder, they are watching. He reminded himself, they are always watching, it doesn’t matter whether I’m trying to break the circle or sleeping in my bed at home.

Everyone forgot they were being watched. It was like living with a talkative sister or near a humming generator, you got used to it.