Sitting in the dark, on a shelf in their cave, Mr and Mrs Smith sighed contentedly. Their faces glowed as they smiled at each other, pleased to be experiencing the same sensual dream together.
They didn’t know it was dark; or that they were in a cave; or sitting, frozen and immobile, on a shelf. They hadn’t actually done anything with their bodies for some twenty years, not even sex. It was all substituted for them and transmitted to the terminals sunk deep within their medulla oblongata. They saw and heard and felt, of course; every experience you could imagine was available at the flick of a thought. Their atrophied limbs had no need to move; they still felt that they were moving, sensing heat and cold, every touch and lick, every smell and taste, all transmitted direct to their brains.
“Shall we watch the News, dear?” asked Mr Smith.
“OK. But there’s a documentary about the old animals that used to roam Africa, that I want to watch later,” Mrs Smith replied. “You know, the one with that old fuddy-duddy who seems to get up so close.”
“Sure. He’s very good! But what about some adventures with Jacqueline after?” he suggested.
“Adventures!” she giggled. “You’re just an old reprobate! But I like them too!”
They settled down, their rigid, crystallised heads glowing with satisfaction and anticipation. Their flickering faces pulsed gently in the dark, slight changes of expression registering on their stiff features at some funny line, thrilling experience, profound thought, or emotional memory.
After a few minutes of rather depressing world news – more floods in China, landslides in Peru, burning jungle in the Amazonian Basin – they flicked to more local news. The Royal Family were still prospering, attending irrelevant events, dressed in their finery, with all the pomp and circumstance the people so enjoyed. Kate’s grand-daughter, a lovely virginal-looking girl, was training to be an air-hostess – not that there were many planes these days; it was a privileged position with “The Founder”! There was still soreness about The Great Abdication, but somehow the lesser Royals had rallied round to keep the firm intact.
There were a few items about some celebrities who had either won awards, disgraced themselves, or died, and then disgraced themselves again. There was no political news, of course, like in the old days. Politics was just not necessary anymore. All decisions were taken instantly, democratically, or so the people thought, by the constant referendums buzzing through their heads, and implemented with cool efficiency by the Oodles Corporation.
There was a strange item about some disturbances down in London, that deserted city that most people had forgotten about. Mr and Mrs Smith switched over, bored out of their minds, and turned to more spectacular and stimulating channels and programs.