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The Happiness Restoral Clinic
“One memory removal? That’ll be 2,000 flinders,” the receptionist said, scratching some writing down on her notepad. “Just fill out this paperwork and the doctor will be right with you.”
“Will do,” said Teddy, regretfully pulling out his wallet and a pen. Teddy proceeded to take his seat and answer a variety of uncomfortable questions about his past.
Have you ever been abused? Did you incur a bad relationship or breakup? Was there some sort of terrible accident? Teddy read these words carefully and checked the “NO” box next to each of these questions; he was at the Happiness Restoral Clinic for a completely different reason. All throughout childhood, Teddy had been forgotten. With his parents always working, Teddy was nearly always alone. A quiet kid in a big high school, Teddy went nearly unnoticed throughout his entire four years. Life was just a routine for him, and spontaneity was a thing unknown. Teddy simply just coasted through life as if he were invisible. And in the eight years since graduation, Teddy’s life had not become any more profound.
Teddy checked the “Other” box and filled the description lines with a summary of his life thus far. Thinking back on the sad memory of his lost youth, Teddy shed a tear at the thought that this memory could soon be forgotten and replaced with one much better. After a brief moment, he skimmed the rest of the wordy paperwork and remembered to quickly sign his name on the signature line. He also quickly dated the paperwork 2/15/2078 before returning to his previous daydreaming state of mind.
“Floyd? Mr. Theodore Lee Floyd?” the doctor boomed, walking into the waiting room.
Shaken by the volume of the voice, Teddy was jolted into attention. Shuffling his papers and trying to regain his composure, Teddy adjusted his glasses and scurried into the doctor’s office, noticing the dull, yellow walls. “Nice place you got here, Dr. Lundin,” Teddy exclaimed, somewhat sarcastically, viewing the fake, potted fern in the corner and the peaceful artwork hanging on the wall.
“So, Mr. Floyd, it seems that you have had a sort of rough youth. What memory would you like to insert in place of this?” the doctor asked, as if he had said it hundreds of times.
The thoughts began bubbling like a pot of boiling water inside Teddy’s mind. Contemplating his many options, Teddy tried to think of every possible scenario. What if I had been a former boxing progeny, but I gave up my career to pursue my love of music, and eventually settled into my current job at the local cheese factory? Maybe I was a brilliant mathematician with perfect parents. Many more thoughts poured through Teddy’s mind, until he eventually settled on the most Hollywood scenario he could think of: high school quarterback of the football team, voted most popular by his classmates, and dating the prettiest girl in school.
Although he knew he should be feeling relieved, Teddy had an uneasy feeling, the I’m-about-to-have-the-entire-memory-of-my-youth-removed feeling. Slowly drifting into a state of unconsciousness after taking some pills, he took part in one last remembrance of his soon-to-be-forgotten childhood. A sigh of relief left his mouth, and then Teddy was out cold.
The brightness of the lights was nearly unbearable as Teddy groggily opened his eyes. The walls were still the same pasty yellow, the fern was still resting all alone in the corner, and the painted boat on the wall had not moved, yet something felt entirely different. When Teddy had completely come to, he immediately tried to remember his childhood, but he found nothing. “What's the deal, doc. I can't remember a darn thing.”
“Good, good, Mr. Floyd. We can't just erase your memory and give you a completely new one all at once, as it would be entirely too traumatic, and your brain would become completely overwhelmed. Too much stress of this sort will cause an overload of liquefactive necrosis in all areas of the brain. Basically, your brain will melt. Throughout the upcoming months, bits and pieces of your new childhood will gradually fill your mind. After some time, you will have a completely new youth,” explained Dr. Lundin, writing some notes.
Proceeding to head out relieved but still somewhat disappointed, Teddy drove home. Man, this whole memory thing has really made me tired, Teddy thought to himself. As soon as he returned home, Teddy grabbed his favorite blanket, curled up on the couch, and fell asleep.
Sometime later, Teddy woke up. His feelings seemed oddly familiar, like deja vu. Everything seemed normal, yet something felt oddly different. Glancing around the room, Teddy struggled to notice anything distinctly different. Grabbing a gallon of milk from the fridge and a box of cereal from the cupboard, Teddy poured himself some breakfast. However, upon taking his first bite, Teddy found that the milk had gone sour, even though he thought he had bought it only two days earlier. Confused, Teddy turned on his computer to check the date: 8/16/2078.
Did I really just sleep for half of a year?!? Have I gone completely insane? Thousands of thoughts raced through Teddy's mind, but he could not pinpoint any explanation. Checking the calendar, Teddy noticed that he had an appointment scheduled on the last day he could remember at some placed called the Happiness Restoral Clinic. Unsure of the reason he went to this place, Teddy decided to drive over to see if they could explain why he had slept from February to August.
“Hello, Mr. Floyd. Are you here for your six-month checkup?” a soft voice asked, coming from the direction of the receptionist desk.
“Well, I guess I am,” Teddy replied, figuring a real doctor could offer a better explanation than a mere receptionist. Taking a seat in the waiting room, Teddy waited for a man named Dr. Lundin, whom he did not know.
“Floyd? Mr. Theodore Lee Floyd?” the doctor boomed, walking into the waiting room.
Jolted by the volume of the voice, Teddy was popped up into attention. Standing up in a hurry, Teddy adjusted his glasses and scurried into the doctor’s office, glancing in disgust at the yellow walls. “Nice place you got here, Dr. Lundin,” Teddy stated sarcastically, noticing the calm artwork on the wall and the fake, potted fern in the corner of the office.
This seems all too familiar...but I have absolutely no idea why, Teddy thought, straining to think of anything to trigger his memory.
“So, Mr. Floyd, have you been able to remember anything yet?” the doctor asked.
Teddy wondered if the doctor had been reading his mind. “Actually, I can't remember a thing.”
“OK, that's fairly normal. I've got some big news to tell you now, but you have to promise to listen to me. This news is going to be life changing, but I strongly urge you not to think about it all at once,” the doctor ordered.
Anxiously, Teddy awaited the big news. As he waited, some bits and pieces of his old memory started to flash into his mind. There were pills. I was sitting in this very chair. But why was I here? I can't take it anymore, Teddy thought, and he blurted out, “Tell me, doc, I can handle it!”
“Alright, you might want to sit down for this,” Dr. Lundin suggested, “The old memory of your childhood has been completely erased and replaced with a new one. But don't think of it all at once, I beg you!”
There it is! It all seems so clear now, Teddy thought, but this guy made me sleep for six months, why should I listen to his commands? In an act of defiance, Teddy put all of his mind's effort into remembering his childhood. Spring Valley High School. Quarterback of the football team. Involved parents. Dating Laura McKinney. The perfect life.
A sense of pure joy spread throughout Teddy’s mind. His former childhood no longer existed, and this new youth was absolutely perfect. Teddy began to remember all of the good times, from enjoying parties with his entire family to winning the state championship in football to graduating as valedictorian of his class.
Soon, Teddy’s entire body had become numb from the happiness, or so he thought. He then began to feel strangely dizzy, and his mind power began to weaken. Teddy’s head began to pound, the lights seemed to be getting brighter and brighter, and the room began to spin in Teddy’s mind, as if he were on a carnival ride. Soon, the shock of the situation took complete control, and Teddy collapsed onto the floor, dead, his brain liquefied.
“Well, there goes another one,” Dr. Lundin muttered to himself, and proceeded to scratch writing onto his clipboard as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.