Mr. Camp’s Nightly Ritual

Jeremy stood in the wash of dull light offered by his fridge. He didn’t know what he wanted, he rarely did. There was no hankering. Jeremy had been hanker-less for some time. There was only a deep sense of dissatisfaction that bloated his belly. Still, Jeremy stood with his left arm propping open the fridge door, head angled from his shoulders vulture-like, staring into the depths of his fridge, hoping for anything to appeal to him.  His check down of the available food is pointless, he already knows what he’s gonna eat.  Still, might as well put on a good show. Micro waved falafels are shit, but having it in the fridge presents him as international.  He hadn’t liked the lentil thingy the first time, but he hated to waste, at least right away.  Jeremy played through the scenarios of what it would take to reheat the pad thai, or to assemble the fish tacos from Wednesday.  There wasn’t enough milk for cereal, thanks to the three bowls he ate for dinner.  An egg salad sandwich sounded good, but that meant boiling eggs, which he didn’t have the energy for.  Jeremy’s labored exhale seemed to say “I got a side stitch from switching sides of the couch for Christ’s sake.”   Since all other options had been exhausted, there really wasn’t anything left to do but eat one of the Heath bars. He reached his hand into the Costco size box, the sheer number of bars as intoxicating as chest full of lesbians promising a tickle fight.  Jeremy froze the image of tickling lesbians and admonished himself, they can probably read my thoughts, fuck me, I sound like a douche.

Jeremy hadn’t even got the delicious English toffee to his lips when he was startled into a “what the fuck?”  The Luxuria profiling Agent had been standing there the whole time.  Jeremy’s Heath bar had flown from his hands and landed in the forbidding crevasse that was the space between his fridge and the wall. Jeremy pinned his head against the wall and reached his arm into the crevasse, into roach territory, the candy bar was by all rights theirs now.  As Jeremy felt around blindly for the lost meal he scolded the Luxuria agent, “why can’t you guys give some warning that you’re lurking around? You scared the”…Jeremy’s interest in admonishment vanished as his finger grazed across the Heath bar. Eureka! The roaches could suck it! The dark sugary treasure was once again in his hands. Jeremy sat against the wall, a bit winded from holding his breath and stretching his arm out, it felt a lot like a yoga class really.  He deserved a snack after all that.

The Profiling Agent looked down at Jeremy without judgment. That was there thing, no judgment, no opinions, just unbiased recording and gathering of facts.  Yet the cool, nonjudgmental stare of the agent burrowed into Jeremy’s mind and snatched out all of his guilt and laid it right on the floor for both of them to look at.  “OK. I eat more chocolate than I reported. I didn’t want to seem like a fat ass all right, Jeremy confessed. “Mr. Camp, we have gone over this already. Everything I observe is confidential.  Lying to an Advocate or behaving in any manner alien to your regular patterns of behavior will result in a false positive. Three failed matches and you will have to wait a year before you can apply for another personality reconnaissance. Not to mention the cost to yourself”. Ashamed, Jeremy offered apologies. “You needn’t apologize to me Mr. Camp. I am your Advocate and have taken an oath to help you. To do that you must be yourself”. It was too much for Jeremy, “It’s too embarrassing to be me. I mean, I jerk off every night just to unwind. How am I supposed to be myself when I do shit like that?” Jeremy snapped at the Advocate. The Advocate assured Jeremy that his honest confession would go a long way in building an accurate profile. Jeremy’s response was an explosion, “But I don’t want that to be accurate about me.  And I sure as fuck don’t want it to be the reason I get hooked up with somebody.” Jeremy pleaded with the Advocate, “I need to be get at least an 80% likability score. All my friends that are happy are 80’s or higher. How do I do that?” The Advocate’s response was soft, almost empathetic, “you must be yourself, Mr. Camp”. Jeremy was defeated, “but I don’t want to be myself. I want to be an 80.” he said. In the silence Jeremy found a small bit of resolve and scolded the Advocate, “you’re my Advocate so advocate me into a fucking 80!”.

Now the Advocate leveraged a bit of humanity to secure the deal. “Mr. Camp, not long ago in our society the divorce rate had reached over fifty percent.  You were more likely to fail at marriage than succeed. Couples grew apart for myriad reasons. Worse, they were never right for each other and yet spent years ignoring their instincts.  We changed that.  No one need ever again wake up to realize they have been in a nine-year one-night stand.  After our time together Luxuria will know who you truly are, and be able to match you to the person with whom are best suited.  Can you see how that would be of benefit to you Mr. Camp?”

“Yes”. Jeremy was completely sold, again.  Man, these guys are good.  Jeremy, the picture of compliance asked, “What should we do now?”  The bit of humanity from the moment before was gone. The advocate was once again a human recorder.

“Do what you would normally do Mr. Camp.” Jeremy’s fuck it was inaudible under his heavy sigh, clearly heard however was, “well, I’m tired, so I guess I should jerk-off and go to sleep”.

The advocate nodded and Mr. Camp concluded his night per usual.


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