Jamie tried to saunter into the house nonchalantly; his mother was in the kitchen, busy cooking, stirring something.
He opened the fridge and grabbed a can of coke and a hunk of cheese, his face hidden by the door as his mother turned away from the saucepan.
’Good day at school?’ his mother smiled.
Jamie used to hate those words, but now it was a novelty after the various lockdowns and home schooling; they were both glad when schools opened again.
His mother’s smile soon faded when he closed the fridge door.
‘Don’t eat too much, dinner’s nearly… Jamie, your face, what have you done?’
‘Chill Mother, everyone’s having it done…’
‘I don’t care about everyone else, what on earth will your father say?’
‘The swelling will go down in a couple of days… have we got any ibroo… paracetamol?’
‘Oh Jamie, it looks so painful.’
‘They gave us a local anaesthetic… I think it’s wearing off now.’
‘But why, why did you do it, I thought we discussed all this, you know it’s irreversible and how did you get it done without our consent?’
‘Malc knew a place.’
‘I might have guessed he would be involved; you didn’t have to go along with it, you know your father was totally against it.’
‘Like he’s an expert.’
‘He is a doctor.’
‘A gynaecologist, he doesn’t do heads… I’m going up to my room to see if it’s worked.’
‘Perhaps when you look in the mirror you will realise just what you have done…’
In his bedroom Jamie did not bother to look in the mirror but headed straight for the computer. He had soon logged in and found what he was looking for. He let out a whoop of excitement followed by a cry of shock as he realised moving his head was painful. But there it was, his history homework essay already saved as a word document. Jamie’s thoughts had been transmitted from the implant in his temple; his essay ‘written’ as he walked home with Mad Malc after their visit to Malc’s uncle’s clinic.
He peered closer, rubbing his eyes. How did that thought get into his essay. They had been told they would need to concentrate to get the best results. Oh well, his essay would sound quite intelligent if he deleted the banter with Malc and those other thoughts.
Jamie was tired the next morning, what with the grilling by his parents and them insisting on Facetiming with Aunty Surita, the brain surgeon. When he did get to bed he could only lie on one side. There was a bit of blood on the pillow, but when he looked in the mirror the bruising seemed to be the biggest problem. But hey, when he and Malc walked into school everyone was going to be so impressed.
Malc wasn’t at the school gates. Jamie’s phone buzzed, there was a message from Malc.’ Man my head really hurts, I’m staying in bed and how come your essay and everything else inside your idiotic brain has popped up on my phone?’
Jamie put his phone away, another one of Malc’s jokes no doubt.
If he wanted attention he was certainly getting it, even before he got to the hand gel station. His hand wandered to his face and he pulled his mask up higher, but the other kids were more interested in their phones than his face.
As he walked down the corridor everyone was calling out remarks.
‘Jamie Brainbox, we can read your mind.’
The girls were giggling and his form teacher was heading his way, calling out
‘Social distancing everybody… what IS going on? Distance, mask on…’
Alia came and stood loyally in front of Jamie, but her expression as she looked at his face told him he had not succeeded in impressing her.
‘God Jamie, what have you done, you look awful and your thoughts are being sent to everyone you know…’