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After a short quiz and an eye exam, the chubby middle-aged man in dark green coveralls inspected Hazel’s fuse box. His experienced fingers prodded gently at the nape of her neck as he nudged out the little cartridges and examined them in turn under his portable microscope. Emblazoned in yellow script above his breast pocket was the name ‘Benny.’
It had taken her all morning to lay the tea tray. Since her fall down the estate stairwell she could barely move, and she lived for house calls. But Benny simply worked quietly, focused on the task.
Finally, he clicked shut the flap at the back of her head and sat down, swiftly draining his tea. “Right, Mrs Kelly,” he said, making a note on his clipboard. “Yep. Your memory chip is faulty. Just old, really, hence the random losses you’ve been experiencing. Now, we can do something about that, you’re covered ‘New for Old’ on parts, being over sixty-five—”
“—You can fix my memory?” Her husband flickered briefly through her mind, pale as the ghost he had long been.
Benny cleared his throat. “Yes, well, the thing is, ma’am, your motherboard dates from back when they used to bundle similar functions together. Your memory function is bundled with your fantasy function. So I can only restore one or the other.” She blinked at him. He too would leave soon. Walk out that door, down the stairwell and off into a world where people walked out of doors and down stairwells.
Benny set to work. In a matter of minutes, Hazel was restored. He thanked her for the tea and packed up, asked if she had any questions.
When he’d gone, she stood on her front balcony. Down on the tarmac four floors below she saw him walking towards a small van lettered with ‘Brain Care’ across the side. He began to load his equipment into the back, when a question lit suddenly within her.
Maybe he would come for lunch on Sunday. He had such nimble hands. And she wasn’t going anywhere. She turned in excitement, sped along the balcony, and flew down the stairwell.