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Good morning, citizen.

Frank blinked awake and sat up. The hard cot he’d been allotted didn’t give when he moved, but it was marginally better than the cool, white floor, which was made of some kind of strange mix between concrete and plastic.

He winced when his bare feet touched the ground, toes curling at the cool shock they’d received. He thought momentarily about slipping on the white socks they had provided him, but the floor was smooth and practically frictionless.

It was safer this way.

I trust you have acquired the adequate amount of rest. It is important for your body to sleep, citizen.

He was a light sleeper out of necessity as much as habit. If the brightening of the lights didn’t jerk him out of whatever fitful bit of sleep he’d managed to drift into, the robotic voice floating through the intercom always did. If you didn’t wake up when you were supposed to, there were all kinds of punishments that the company had to dole out.

He cracked his neck and stretched both of his arms, wincing at the burn as his muscles stretched from his elbow to his shoulder. He did his legs next, trying to stretch away the ache of yesterday’s exercise.

In order to remain content with your situation, you must follow our directives. It is important that you take your pills, citizen.

Already? The intercom usually had more pearls of wisdom for them before this. Frank stretched his legs one last time and walked over to the hole in the wall where his pills always appeared, sitting at the bottom of a small, white cup.

He looked at the pill as he made his way to the hole in the wall where the water always appeared. It was a green one today. If they hadn’t changed the colour-coding yet, that meant he was taking some kind of muscle enhancer, which meant that he was going to be running again.

Fuck. He hated running.

So long as it didn’t give him a rash.

Frank downed the pill and the water in two swift motions and deposited the two cups into the third hole in the wall, which sucked the garbage up, up, up.

Thank you, citizen. Your contribution to our City is greatly appreciated. It is important to contribute to a greater whole. Remember, you are a productive citizen.

Keep smiling and have a wonderful day.