She is going to run forever

Molly Mary O'Brien

She has a unisuit made of a fabric of heat- and cold-sensitive polymers. The suit makes her look like a sea creature who has found land, a primordial beast in shimmery green. It withstands triple-digit temperatures and negative temperatures and illuminates in the dark, so when she runs on the sides of highways at night, cars can easily see her, a bright swamp thing in motion.

She has a tent that fits in the palm of her hand but folds out into a residence the size of a Manhattan apartment. She has a little illuminated screen strapped to her forearm, and she uses it to read books at night to tire out her mind before sleep, and to check her mileage for the day, and her health stats, such as her blood pressure and pulse. She sleeps soundly, knows the fabric of the tent is strong enough to withstand the force of man and beast. She also sleeps soundly because she’s been running all day.

She has a little tube of cream to rub on her muscles that immediately reinvigorates them. The cream has a minty tingle to it and provides relief as soon as it hits her skin, extinguishing pain the way a pair of damp fingertips merge to extinguish a match. She has muscles that are lean and defined, like a hand-carved musical instrument, or like muscles belonging to another kind of being that grew up roaming a steppe or a desert.

She takes nutrient supplement pills and injects hydration-replacement liquids. She can swallow pills without water.

She worked for the company that invented the gadgets and the fabrics and the creams and the pills and the liquids. She was an early HR employee, managing the benefits of bright-minded men, administering their 401(k) plans, explaining to them how to file insurance claims for their therapists and chiropractors and dermatologists, upholding policies, withstanding conflict, finding solutions. She was paid miserably but the owners plied her at the outset with a fat slice of stock. She hit the jackpot, but a jackpot takes a minute to hit, and she worked at the company for fifteen years. She sat at a desk nine and a half hours a day for fifteen years, and then they sold the company, and now she doesn’t have to sit.

She moves through the world on a path that would seem impossible, but is in fact as frictionless as a waterslide. She did not invent the future she currently runs within, but she assisted the men who did. She runs and she she tells herself that she is creating her own destiny, forging her own future. She thinks to herself that she in a way is responsible for the conditions that let her live without a home, or a family, or a job, or the need to stop. She’s going to run forever and the gadgets are just accessories. She’s going to run forever because of what they put in her skin and bones and blood. And she is grateful.

Molly Mary O’Brien is a writer from Vermont, living in Brooklyn. She’s had work published in PANK, Paper Darts and more, and writes customized stories for people at Dedication Magazine.