New Story Concept: Happy Place (working title)

“Would you say that you are generally unhappy?”

Sean frowned at the question. “That’s why I’m here,” he said, refusing to look at the proctor.

“In general, are you more unhappy in the morning or in the evening?”

“Both, I guess.”

“Would you say that your unhappiness in the morning and in the evening is prompted by external stimuli or internal?”

Sean rolled his eyes. It was no wonder these consultations were administered by androids now. All the human proctors probably shot themselves after just looking at the questions. “External,” he said. “I get aggravated really easily by stupid people.”

“Thank you for providing addiitonal information regarding your unhappiness. I will be sure to note that in your record.”

“I don’t have time for this,” Sean heaved himself off the sterile white couch and headed for the door. “I’m out of here.”

“Okay, I will save your records for a future consultation. Be sure to see the receptionist to schedule another–” The android proctor’s words hit the inside of door as it slid closed behind Sean.

He kept his head down as he waded through the crowded waiting room. It was a caucophony of what GrinTech would label “unwanted emotions.” First and returning consults wore every face from rage to despair to just plain empty. One post-op emerged from Installation, an old man who had likely seen too many wars to keep track of. His face was blank at first, but as he drew nearer an elderly woman stood up with an expectant look on her face. The man paused for a second, then sprouted the biggest smile of his life. The woman ran into an embrace, deceptively fast for her age, and the couple kissed like young people on a beach.

“People really will do anything to be happy,” he said to himself as he left the cage of unwanted emotions behind.

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