I've Invented a Machine that Shows You How You Will Die

We're going to slide this wire into your frontal lobe, easy peasy, and after a few moments we'll start to turn the machine up. How does the wire get in there? A needle, dear - a very sharp, long needle with that wire threading through it as thin and strong as spider’s silk. The needle is so sharp you won't even feel a thing. Well, maybe a little pinch.

There's a minimum of blood, since your brain doesn't bleed. Did you know that? Oh, it's full of blood alright, but it won't come pouring out. The brain is greedy, and precious. You'll be fine.

The temporal lobe? Ha ha, yes, I have heard that one before.

You're going to experience some vertigo, maybe a little nausea, and then it'll start to come in. Have you ever had one of those dreams where you couldn't move? It's going to feel like that. Mild paralysis is normal as the day is long. All you have to do is remain calm and let it happen.


Just like in a dream, you can't be hurt, and you can't die. As far as your body is concerned, this is a particularly vivid hallucination. We can give you a mild sedative if your heart beat gets too rapid. Only a mild one though, as any more and we’ll ruin the process. We need you alert and oriented times four. Well, we needs parts of you alert and oriented. Don’t worry about which parts. You just relax.

Did I mention we can record your whole session? Video is free, but the audio costs extra. Most people elect it, however, so they'll remember.


What? Oh, I must have forgotten to mention that before we had you all ready to go. Silly me, I’m so sorry. You'll see how you’ll die, for certain, but you won't remember. It's like trying to recall the name of someone you met a long time ago, or a word that was on the tip of your tongue.

A small number of patients may experience what we call “lateral induced nightphasia.” When that word is on the tip of your tongue, a dozen other unhelpful almost words clog your brain, don’t they? Isn’t that the worst? Unfortunately, when the thing that’s being blocked is a crystal clear picture of how you’ll die, the thing that clouds your mind are several unpleasant almost scenarios.

Nightmares? No, nightphasia. It’s easy to make that mistake.

My theory is that the brain immediately blocks the memory from being stored. "Pre-traumatic stress" is the term I use. One of our technicians thinks it's tied into quantum mechanics. We do have an unusual number of glitches in our recording equipment, but we've started to use redundant units to make sure we capture your...moment, shall we say? I like that, moment. I should get that to marketing, they'll love it.

No, I haven’t had the procedure done. Employees are strictly forbidden from using the machine on ourselves. It's a sacrifice, but we make do. Now, I know what you're thinking, and you're right. "How can they tell me pudding's good when they haven't even tried it?" That's easy enough - our clients love us!


All walks of life, all nationalities, all ages; what we do isn’t strictly forbidden by any sect or philosophy, so that isn’t a barrier. In fact, we got a letter about an eight year old girl whose parents brought her in only last month. They’re incredibly religious, and had tried everything else to help the poor thing. They say she's doing better at school and home. She’s even made some friends! Can you imagine a better recommendation?

Well, looks like everything's ready. Shall we begin?

Eager! I like that. Things will start to feel warm now. Good, good.  Like a bath you've just drawn. Sink down into it, and breathe like we taught you. Don't fight it. In, in, out. In, in, out. Shh, you must remain quiet. But yes, it is like Lamaze breathing. And you are giving birth, of a sort. Shh, sink down, down.

Down.

Dowln.

Ownolown.

...

Are you there?

Can you hear me?

Good. That was a wonderful session, and we only had problems with cameras 5, 7, and 11, those old stinkers. We had to give you a mild dose of an anxiolytic, but that's normal. Just fine. It's on the house, no charge. How long? We turned the machine off two hours ago. Yes, it’s common for it to feel like only a few minutes. Missing time is normal.

Did you talk? Did you ever! Patients rarely say so much. You're one of the lucky ones!

We'll have the tape ready for you in a few moments. Don't worry, our translators are very good. Yes, you did. You kept mostly to English, but there was a fair amount of Serbian, Russian, and even a smattering of Inuit. Panglossia is one of the side effects of the process, but it's harmless. Completely harmless. We have a chart we can show you, if you'd like. Sometimes there's a little gibberish, or static, but that's all. We've learned how to adjust the machine.

You're welcome to stay in the chair as long as you'd like. When you're ready, you can take your video home or watch it here. We have lovely viewing rooms. We also have some small snacks, if you'd like. Brain food, ha ha. No? That's okay. Most people find themselves peckish, but most isn't all. It's all perfectly normal. It's a very individual process.

Now? Of course! By the time we reach the theater, the video will be streaming. I can watch it with you, if you'd prefer. It's a rerun for me, so I know what's coming. But soon, so will you! And forever. Just think about that.

Honestly, I wonder how we managed before now.