THE ​HIGH SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE . . . “You’ve never wondered what the meaning of life is, have you?” asked my teacher. I shook my head. “I thought people who were depressed asked those kind of questions.” “Okay. Then Quinn, I’ll have to be more direct. Middlevale isn’t Middlevale. Eisenhower isn’t truly an accredited American high school. I’m not me, and you’re not you!” “Then who are we?” “Victims!” Her finger shot in the air. “Victims of some sort of experiment! Some kind of psycho-social experiment perpetrated by scientists without principle, a government without morals!” Her dewlaps quivered with indignity. My head was spinning again. I tried to speak but I couldn’t. “These ears . . . open them up and you’ll find microchip monitors and controls. And judging by the kind of ‘visions’ we’ve both seen, I’d also say you’d also find some kind of mind-cloak device, adjusted to auditory and visual aspects of our brains, normalizing the odd things that may abound in this laboratory environment.” I blinked. “You mean, it’s all a joke?” “A bad one. A total farce.” “You’re telling me . . . You’re saying that it’s all a set-up? But how long has this been going on, then?” “Hard to say. Part of your memories could have been programmed.” “Programmed?” I stared. “Like computers.”

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