I drag the glasses on my face to enter
the learning room. With each jolt of light
I’m awake again. “How to recognize
a scam” but this lecture must be about
itself. From seven to four I worked
for the bots and their wranglers—they’ll
expect me back at six tonight—and by
seven this morning I’ll have the boys,
off from school, actual building they
must go to except half the year and
meanwhile all the rich with their
“Worlds of Wonder” kids enrolled
in-world year round. The boys’ll have to share
my glasses, they’ll hate the lessons
I selected, and after their mom
strolls back to pick them up and ignore
me, I’ll be dragging more than obsolete
glasses on my face. There’re no notes I
need to take; I’d recognize the scam
anywhere: hidden in plain sight among
the retraining programs, the stimulus proposals,
the “Worlds for Everyone” campaign, and the
being left far behind. Gotta have a ticket
to ride and they’re not printing tickets.
I remember the bulky headsets and how
the commercials were about games.
I remember them dropping in weight
and build and price. I remember buying
my first pair. These pair. Five years ago.
They’re practically free now, if I could
afford free. The boys rush in at
six—their mom’s gotta be to her classes
early today—and all that energy’s
gonna be frustrated and angry
by the time she circles back. All of us
learning. Learning where we were supposed
to be at the beginning and no one
told us. No one told us they thought we
were dragging them down. No one told us
they wouldn’t ever tell us to our face.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 11

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.