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The Finest Print Money can Buy

Jeff Dupuis | Hong Rui Choo

The camera, the one built into the street light, sees you. By the time you step over that crack and the blackened circle that was once chewing gum cemented to the concrete, it’ll know who you are. Facial recognition software measures the distance between your eyes, gauging the specific shade of brown; it’s identified that scar on your chin from when you were a kid and you tripped going up the steps of a slide at the McDonald’s PlayPlace. That camera is connected to the system, and the system knows you.

It’s twelve-oh-two. That’s the undisputed time in your region; all the clocks agree with the system. Maybe you want shawarma? No, it’s twelve-oh-three, you definitely want shawarma. It’s three minutes after twelve, on a Thursday, you’re passing the subway station where you first kissed that Lebanese girl, the one with whom you just couldn’t get it to work, the one who introduced you to shawarma. You always crave shawarma when you see those sliding doors and the collector booth inside. The system knows.

Your iPhoneX beeps, vibrating gently. Check it, you have a message. The message reads: Shawarma? The logo for The Shawarma Shack is at the bottom next to the “Yes” tab. The screen changes when you tap the yes tab. There is a box, place your thumb within it and hold it there. This is to make you feel better, to let you feel safe about your payment. The system already knows it’s you, twenty-seven points of biometric data and GPS confirmed it while you read your message. The thumb print scan is for your peace of mind—identity theft has gone the way of the dodo, the passenger pigeon and the polar bear.

The system knows you, and it trusts you. Your credit-trust score is exemplary. Your order has been placed, thank you for your patronage.

You can almost smell that shawarma. As the delivery drone comes into sight, soaring above the city, weaving between skyscrapers, you can practically taste it. The drone slows, the kangaroo pouch along the belly of the aircraft splits open into a Y-shape, like a Caesarian section. Your shawarma drops out, wrapped in a membrane that’s grown like moss, a tiny parachute that doubles as a napkin slows its descent.

The shawarma is warm, heat radiating soothingly through the bio-packaging. Your mouth is watering, take that first bite. Another satisfied customer. That’s what it says, on the Shawarma Shack website, next to the picture of you, with your arms around two “dancers” and a beer in each hand. Remember? The one from your resort vacation that you drunkenly put up on Facebook? The one that you keep forgetting to take down so several people don’t see it for several different reasons? You must have known this would happen. It’s part of your user agreement, written clearly in a cluster of other stipulations in the finest print money can buy.

About Jeff Dupuis

Jeff Dupuis writes poetry and short fiction, and reviews non-fiction and how-to books. His work has been published in Bare Hands Poetry Journal, The Acta Victoriana, Blood Lotus Journal, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, blogTO and the Healthy Ninja. In his off-hours Jeff likes to train in the martial arts, or if nothing else, watch straight-to-DVD martial arts movies. Jeff Dupuis lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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