Community Service

Joe texted his buddy, Osgood. Get your Wii pad yet?

Dope, man. Check it out. Confused about patch placement. You there?

Gotta feel around for flat enough surfaces — the visuals they send are wonky

Osgood picked up the first patch, and reread the instructions: Place this patch on the outside of the left ankle. There was an illustration of a hand applying the patch to the outside of a left ankle, completing contact. But when he applied it to the outside of his ankle, the patch curled way from his skin, breaking contact. Keeping Joe’s observation in mind, he felt around for the ankle surface that proved to be a better fit, and to his surprise, there was a moment when the patch melded with his ankle, and he pressed it into place.

Osgood texted Jazz spunk woke and Joe returned Right?

Osgood figured out how to position each of the patches he was sent so they were compatible with his own flesh. One patch on the outside of each ankle, a patch morphed to the inside of each knee, patches to the outside of the leg sockets and patches located on the outsides of his arm sockets and inside of each elbow. He plugged the Wii pad into a USB port, stepped onto it and followed an animated prototype to get his base level percentage. Thankfully, he scored a 70% match, so he was invited to the next level.

The next level asked him to select a community concern. The options were: Anxiety, Fear, Overwhelmed or Grief. The online Community Service Center opened up soon after the pandemic hit. Community members were asked to do their part in releasing accumulated and stuck energy. Once you had gone solo a couple of times, you could join various groups for mass release. Osgood decided Anxiety sounded the least formidable, and he tapped the screen to load that prototype.

The figure that came up on the screen, a unisex figure, walked slowly forward with a heel to toe motion. Osgood walked in one place, doing what he could to slide his feet heel to toe. The prototype looked left and then right, stopped to look harder at something behind them. Osgood did the same, and even though he knew there wasn’t actually anything or anyone behind him, he could feel the faint stirring of anxiety low in his belly. When he looked again at the prototype, there were telltale signs of anxiety in their belly, too. Red staining, faint as a wash at first, getting a deeper color, spreading up like cancer into the chest. The prototype’s breathing got really shallow and a dark blue moved up their throat. Osgood felt his own throat constrict as he slowly filled up with anxiety. The prototype curled their toes. Osgood did the same, and then slowly collapsed under the weight of the anxiety, just like the prototype did. At the lowest point of the collapse, when the anxiety verged on a full-blown panic attack, the prototype positioned their pelvic bowl neutral. Osgood tried to do the same, but he wasn’t used to being aware of his pelvic bowl position, so it was challenging.

The setting changed to a weight room. The prototype’s anxious collapsed shape was actually the bottom position of a seated AB pulldown station. Osgood gripped an air cable handle that connected to a weight stack behind him and followed the prototype, doing small crunches at first. Instead of being weighed down by anxiety, his body dense with dark red tension, his abs slowly engaged, lengthened and his diaphragm had more room for deeper breaths.

When the release session was over, Osgood removed the patches and walked around his apartment. His readout was a 40% match, and he was given exercises he could do during the day which would help him increase his percentage. Once he achieved a sustainable 70%, he would be invited to join online groups for mass release. Excited to reach that goal, he texted Joe Aiming for 50% tomorrow! You?

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Cap Kotz

Writer and Story Mapping Guide, I follow the life path no matter how challenging.