A few hours ago, I stood outside of the man’s front door and visualized him sleeping lazily as drool dribbled down his cheek. He had been dead set on taking several long drags of a cigarette right before he shuffled to bed, despite the pack that he had finished smoking two hours earlier. 66-years old, divorced, beat his wife to a pulp in 2023, and a chronic smoker since age 13—like all of the others, this was an easy one to assign.
I wait in anticipation, staring intensely at the computer monitor. Only about thirty people’s blood bars have turned from red to purple. A perfectly healthy person’s bar is red—the color that I dread seeing. Someone with disease or a serious illness has a purple bar.
Among the people whose bars have turned purple are a 46-year-old anorexic woman and a 52-year-old thin, meditative man—both of which I had to outright inject last night under the guise of a bee sting since neither of them would drink anything.
In a matter of a few seconds, another set of 100 bars flash purple. That’s when I know that I’ve done it. In a matter of days, I’ve tracked and assigned to a record amount of people. I’m following in my father’s footsteps as expected–I was taught by the best.
Eager to finish for the day, I type an “A” in the white bar above one of the purple bars. A few selections from the drop down menu appear:
I finish typing “ANEURYSM” quickly and fluidly with fingers like spider legs. I take another look at “Mr. Emphysema”’s blood bar—the sole red one left.
“Come on old man. Drink your morning coffee,” I mumble as I reach for the bottle of water on my computer stand. I’m counting on the fact that he won’t wash the coffee pot out first, else he’ll see the watery, purple liquid that I slipped in there while he slept last night.
I type in the rest of the diagnoses above my assignments’ purple bars: “ANNOREXIA,” “HEART ATTACK,” “ASTHMA ATTACK,” before I hear my phone beep. I blink twice to make sure I’m seeing the message correctly: URGENT.
“Not now, Franco. Not now. Just one away from being done for the day,” I say to myself. But the beep continues and lingers in the air to make sure I can’t ignore it.
If today were Monday—any Monday—Franco’s message wouldn’t have at all alarmed me. But today is Thursday, and much too far away from Monday for Franco to have made a mistake. I am being called in on a special assignment—an honor, particularly since they are usually high-powered people—but they are also an indication that something is seriously wrong, or has the potential of going that route.
Frustrated, I grab my cell phone and head for the door. I glance back at the computer monitor one last time. The last red bar turns purple. I hurry to the computer and type in “EMPHASEMA” above remaining purple bar. I’m finished for the day. The liquid transmitter has entered his body. I watch as a green checkmark appears next to the diagnosis.
“Sweet,” I whisper to no one in particular. I start for the door again with a proud smirk. With any luck, “Mr. Emphysema” and the 139 other assignments for that week should be dead any day now.