It was lunch-time. Jane sat in a coffee-shop in the High Street, lost in a daydream, “wittering” to all her friends about her recent activities, mainly purchases, and listening to theirs.
“I just bought the most gorgeous pair of shoes!” wittered her friend, Cary. “I could have got them cheaper on-line, but they just sort of sprang out at me as I was passing a shop. They were exactly what I was thinking of!”
“Mmm. Great! Send me a view! Are you wearing them now?” asked Jane.
“Oh, I saw those!” wittered in Mary, who had been listening to their conversation on-line, and admired Cary’s legs as she sent the view of her shoes.
“Don’t miss Fabenham’s half-price shoe sale,” interposed a cheery female voice. “Bargains galore for the month of May!”
“Are you still seeing Dave? You know that guy that you met on Place-Book the other day?” asked Mary of Jane, ignoring the interruption, though it was difficult to know who was wittering whom.
“Oh no! I found out he had sent me a view that was twenty years out of date, the old perv!” exclaimed Jane.
“Send him that one of you naked on the beach, and then tell him to fuck off!” suggested Cary.
“Excuse me ladies!” interrupted a suave-sounding male voice. “Could I interest anyone in a beach holiday in Llandridnod Wells?”
Jane pushed the reject button in her head. She hadn’t realised the sea had got that far. Anyway, who wanted to go to Wales; it was full of Welshmen, living up in the hills like ancients!
She turned her attention instead to her Pottery Class on the Web. She didn’t actually make anything with her hands, but it was fun to mind-control another person doing it and watch as the clay spattered around the room!
On her way back to the Sensory Centre, where she worked supervising the activities of some sensualists in the public gel-Pods, she passed a number of shops and stores. They all seemed to know who she was and greeted her by name, suggesting various commodities, clothes, gadgets, holidays and experiences that she was interested in, or had bought before.
She thought this was very convenient on the whole, as she found things she would never have thought of herself, or had forgotten about. She didn’t feel it was intrusive; on the contrary, it was keeping her safe, informed, and part of the “real” world.
And so the general population carried on with their lives, as normal, subject to the vagaries of the climate, but almost totally controlled by Oodles. They were quite relaxed about it, as it gave them everything they needed. All their desires and wants were in fact controlled by Oodles’ subliminal advertising, and Oodles would then supply their every need, raking in the proceeds.
People were in constant contact with each other, but the content was usually trivia. They experienced all sorts of Substitutes and Virtual Environments, playing games, etc., but it was all pointless indulgence. Of course, the Oodles Corporation made huge profits, which The Founder creamed off and ploughed back into his research for the “Save-Our-Souls” mission, the new nano-chips, DNA engineering, and other weird experiments.