Erica Friedman
4 min readApr 28, 2020

by Erica Friedman

Sammy came out of the lab, shoulders hunched over.

“Failed again?” I asked over my shoulder from inside the clean washroom, as I ran the nanosoap over my fingers, with painstaking precision. We’d taken to dying our hands green first before washing, so we were absolutely sure every last inch of skin had been covered. I was using a fiber brush on my cuticles, now, just another 5 minutes or so before I’d be cleared to head out for my monthly leave. I had a pile of deliveries coming in. The service told me that I’d get fruit this time, although I had no idea what kind.

I hadn’t seen fruit in a while, so this was pretty exciting.

“I don’t get it, Mar,” Sam said, “I just don’t get it.

I shared Sam’s confusion. We’d been running the simulations for years and the answer seemed perfectly clear. But once out of the computer and into the lab….

I stepped under the black light and waiting to be scanned. “No infection.” There was a pause. “All clear.”

The light went out and I stepped out of the chamber, heading towards the changing room. I looked over my shoulder at Sammy, shoulders still slumped, lack of sleep visible in every wrinkle of the lab coat as they tossed it into the bin.

“Get some sleep Sam,” I waved, but didn’t wait for a reaction.

I’d come to hate my days off.

The lab was boring, grinding work, long hours, but it was safe. I was clean and fed…



Erica Friedman

Speaker, Writer, Information Pro, geek marketing, LGBTQ manga tastemaker, culture junkie, essayist.