Night Shift by Rich Larson

You wake up on the rubber delivery pad outside your apartment, shoulders aching, hands puffy and battered from working an assembly line you’ve never seen.

“Please stop doing this, hon.” Mom lets you in, still wearing her blue housecoat. “You need sleep. Real sleep.”

Not again.

“It is real sleep,” you say. “One hemisphere at a time, is all.”

It’s all explained in the UberNight ad: artificially-induced REM refreshes the brain, leaving the body free, via only-somewhat-invasive stimulation of the central nervous system, to stay hustling.

You barely feel the ridged sucker marks on the back of your neck anymore.

Rich Larson (ANNEX, TOMORROW FACTORY) is a Canadian author born in Galmi, Niger. His work has been translated into over a dozen languages, among them Polish, French, Romanian and Japanese, and his story “Ice” was recently adapted for LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS. Find him at