“Hello there. I’m Jen. I’m a social worker with A.M.—Animemoria. I’d like to chat with you for a bit if you’re interested.”
A giant bun appears from behind the curtain in the hospital room. Then a thin, smiling face. She’s skinny with a red blouse tucked into her gray, knee-length pencil skirt. She’s holding a normal looking tablet under her arm.
“Are you comfortable right now? Can I get you anything?”
The man in the hospital bed pulls himself up into the Kind Of Sitting But Actually Laying Down position and both he and the bed groan about it a little. He bumps the tray table which knocks an empty glass over onto the TV remote. A picture of a few kids posing at a park falls off of the tray and onto the ground.
“Shit. Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’m comfortable. I’m interested. Glass is empty. Would you mind?”
“Sure sure. Ice?” Jen says with a warm smile. “These your kids? They’re cute.” She picks up the picture and rests it against the TV remote.
“Yeah, ice. Thanks, they’re a little older now. They’re with the wife right now. Probably getting some lunch.”
He spins his ring around his left ring finger, lost in thought. Time is irrelevant when A.M. comes to visit. It’s usually your last real lucid moment before the end. They time it so you don’t give much away after they tell you.
“Okay, so you know why I’m here?”
The man looks up, a little startled. “Sorry, guess I zoned out. Thanks… yeah. Tell me what it all means. The grade right? Like how did my life stack up. That kind of thing.” He glances over at the glass of water on the tray table, picks it up, and takes a sip.
Jen rolls the little Designated Doctors Only Spinny Chair up to the bed and sits down. She has really great posture.
“We don’t really like to refer to it as a grade. We just want to let you know the impact that your life has on the lives of others in the future. We want to encourage you and let you know that your life has meaning. Would you like to know more about how we gather this information?”
The man nods his head and mumbled out “Yeah, yep.”
“So after a person has passed on, we closely track their estate. We monitor the distribution of funds to family and friends from that estate and report on it. We collect pertinent information from publications, social networks, personal websites, and so on. Often times, spouses and children will provide additional information to us directly. As you know, all companies are required to file a report on their employees when they discontinue work with the company. An additional report is filled from the company that the individual was working for just before their passing. Any questions so far?”
“No that makes sense.”
“We monitor this data for 50 years after the person’s passing, and then we analyze each feed for relevant information. A report is made and then a social worker, such as myself, will visit the deceased at their most able moment before their passing to communicate the information that has been gathered. It is quite comprehensive and 99 percent accurate. Verified by 3rd party auditors every three years.”
She pulls out her tablet, and looks directly at it for a moment. The screen softly lights up. With one hand on either side, she holds the tablet over his arm band to scan it. His records are immediately displayed on her screen.
Her nose and lips scrunch up a little and her eyebrows furrow. She looks confused.
“Well, it looks. Hmm, it looks like I’m having a little issue with my device right now. Let me just… OK, it looks like they’re saying it’s fine. I just checked in. Sorry.”
She lets out a big sigh, and waits a long time. Collecting her thoughts. Then she gently puts the tablet down on the tray and looks him dead in the eye.
“We have no record of your impact.”