In the future, when people can’t close their eyes anymore without the external services of a professional, Mac dreamed of becoming the best Eye Shutter in the world.***
His older brother was a licensed Toothbrusher. His sister was a Belly Scratcher living with a man who was a Burp Inducer. Mac’s mom and dad were really proud of them all but more so with Mac since he dreamed of pursuing such a high-profile career.
Being an Eye Shutter requires tremendous passion and skill for people simply can’t close their eyes through normal means anymore, not even with the anesthetics and tranquilizers of olden days. The career requires a 4-year college course plus 4 more years in an Eye Shutting Institute to learn all the technical skills to shut a person’s eye tight. Even the best Eye Shutters who had attained celebrity status like Brandon E. McDonald sometimes encountered almost insurmountable challenges in their field. There was this time when McDonald bashed a patient’s head against a wall to make him fall asleep, resulting in the patient’s skull and jaw cracking in 54 different places and his left eye permanently going blind. The case was much publicized until the patient–waking up quite sadly from a 23-day coma–finally corroborated McDonald’s statement that the “therapeutic” move was done with consent.
But none of those kinds of stories had ever deterred Mac from studying rigorously to become the person of his dreams. And so he became a legend in his Eye Shutting Institution for raking in honors and prestigious recognitions from organizations like the Neo-Insomniacs Club and government agencies like The Commission on Forced Unconsciousness.
Time passed and Mac graduated as the most promising student in his Alma mater. In 2 years time, his genius successfully transferred from his campus to his clinic and to the TV screens of people all over the country and the world over.
How can folks forget the time when a TV network crew covered Mac at work to put a 47-year-old call center agent to sleep? The call center agent was a genetic wonder for it seemed that his genes had fully mutated such that his eyelids were impossible to close. He said he was the product of generations of insomniac BPO employees mating and breeding with each other. When the patient tried to close his eyelids, the tiny muscles of his sinus and face would contract, causing his nostrils to completely close horizontally. Interestingly, the call center agent also couldn’t breathe through his mouth as his tongue would shoot out of his mouth and completely block his throat whenever his eyelids fell to about halfway down his eyes.
Mac took measurements of the call center’s cranial and facial proportions for days and finally came up with a device that addressed all of the patient’s problems in one sweep. The device called the Mac Eye-Nose-Mouth Corrector V1 was worn in the head to close the eyelids, open up the nostrils and create an opening for the throat.
There was much rejoicing in every family’s home when the call center agent finally wore the device in front of his face while lying on his bed. It was on pay-per view, one of the priciest ever to hit the screens. Mac’s design used clips to tightly pull the eyelids together, tiny expandable bars to push the nostrils apart and a steel ball to crack the jaw open. Aside from the bucketfuls of saliva all over the bed when the patient woke up, Mac’s intervention was a roaring success.
Mac cracked more cases like that. The people at home followed his career like he was their own son who’s now famous all over the world for his extraordinary medical exploits and achievements. His life was spoken of at homes like a collection of hit songs by a popular band. Thus, his cases became classics and were commonly called, “The Call Center Agent Freak (the one discussed),” “Gramma Won’t Die,” “Babies for Crazies,” “The Woman With a Bad Habit,” “Pirate and Parrot,” and so on.
Mac became the most famous, most successful, richest Eye Shutter in the world. And he’s Filipino! That made the feat doubly impressive because Filipinos in this time were mostly just domestic helpers and nurses (old professions which were dying out because they were too general. Instead of an inefficient domestic helper, a wealthy Moroccan could hire a Belly Scratcher, a Spooner, 3 Ironers, and several Rear-End Wipers).
And so Mac’s life continued while he picked up numerous other awards along the way. He became a really important man, even endorsing Chinese candidates in an election and speaking after the UN Security Council about an economic concept he half-understood. He dated and married this red-haired bombshell Russian actress named Martina Balanchine and had three children with her all of whom attended the most expensive school in the world located in Pyongyang, the world’s leading tourist destination.
But the real achievement of Mac was his formulation of The Restorer–a sleep inducer that cannot fail. For as long as the person has eyelids, The Restorer shut the person’s eyelids tight with three drops. But the ingenious invention didn’t hit the market until after 2 long years of ferocious global debate in all sectors and levels. Experts debated and, in Korea, even brawled with each other just to come up with a decision on whether bringing back the practice of sleeping would benefit the global economy and the individual household or not. Bloody strikes even sparked in France and Malaysia where people went ballistic on the proposed action of multinational corporations to permanently ban the drug. The Church, of course, didn’t know what to do for there wasn’t anything in the Bible detailing what to make of the issue.
After 2 years, The Restorer was finally launched with the number of preorders surpassing that of any other commodity ever invented by man, including the previous titleholder, Harry Potter 8.
What experts didn’t forecast was that large swaths of the population would empty out their entire bottles of Restorers in one swig–something which was specifically noted in the label for people to avoid doing. But the consumers didn’t die–not right away, anyway. The unconscious state only lasted for a week. But well, few people were able to survive that long sleep without food and water, and so many ended up perishing before they woke up.
Shortly thereafter, Mac also began having problems sleeping himself. A rumor went around that he was already an insomniac for he started wearing dark sunglasses. Whatever the truth was, it seemed like only Mac and Martina knew.
***The narrator uses the past tense because he’s in Mac’s future, talking to people like us in the present.