almost smiling. His long yellow teeth hanging below his white whiskers made him look like a big buck-toothed cat.
“I won.” He closed his burning eyes and dropped his controller.
Lucille was up. “Magnus, you have violated your schedule – two days in a row. A district representative will visit you later today to discuss these infractions and recommend the best way to remediate. As you are aware, we can adjust your arm unit to remind you more forcefully to stay on schedule.”
“Lucille, I won. I won the R.O.U.S. Grand Prize.” Magnus couldn’t help smiling though he was aware Lucille already knew and couldn’t see him in the usual sense of the word.
“I know that is a big accomplishment, but since you went outside of the prescribed schedule, I’m not sure it will count as a win.”
Magnus started to shiver. He pulled his fluffy robe around his body and tied the belt tighter.
“The game says I won, so I won.” He wanted this to be the truth. He needed it to be.
“You’ll have to leave your apartment to claim your trophy – and the other prize.” Lucille sounded a little snarky. He really disliked her.
“When was the last time you were outside your unit?”
Hester had hugged him hard and opened her mouth to say something, but he couldn’t remember what. Her vehicle evaporated in the haze and then he was drifting down the empty hall holding two sets of keys. “Seventeen years ago.”
“Will you be able to do it? Can you even open the door?”
“I seriously don’t know. I’ll get back to you. It’s time for breakfast.”
He collected his breakfast from the bin and watched the holo-ad. Egg McMuffin again.