Visions of the Heart
a novella by Charles Keenan

episode 5
During the drive Nate could not look at his monitor, but Philomena was gazing at the strong, clear images transmitted from it. Like in the restaurant, in the foreground of the display was an ever changing image of herself which she had to look beyond to see anything more interesting. It seems Nate was constantly reviewing earlier times the two of them had shared. Holidays with her family and with his family, walks that just the two of them had taken, a day at the sea shore. Sometimes a vague image of his employer or co-workers would take shape, but any work-related scene would quickly dissolve into something more romantic between the two of them. Sitting in the mall eating their ice cream they were both disappointed to see the images dimmed slightly because they were both holding the screens in their hands. They let the monitors fall back on their chests and crunched into their cones. The ice cream tasted good as they treasured their time together, and they began to discuss the immense implications of Mr. Hobonukium’s invention.
    The first application they discussed was for the spy business. If the intelligence people could somehow sneak a Heart Monitor onto suspected terrorists they might learn of future strikes being planned. There was a quiet pause when they suggested that the Monitors might even show why the terrorists hated us so much. Then they discussed education and how the Monitors might be able to tell teachers how much the students were understanding the material being taught. They both laughed when they mentioned politicians - who doesn’t wish they knew what was in the hearts of politicians? Could one be used on convicted criminals to help solve other crimes or find stolen articles that were hidden?
It was almost 9pm and some of the stores in the mall were beginning to close. They had finished their ice cream and continued laughing as they walked through the mall and towards the parking lot. Philomena, or Meena, suggested that they try to catch the end of her sister’s high school basketball game, saying that it would be colorful and exciting event to test Hobo’s Heart Monitors. Nate agreed and they drove to the high school  where it was the last quarter of the game and no one cared about tickets for admittance to the gymnasium. The stands were filled with fervent high school students with a few parents and teachers. One side of the gym cheered for the visiting team and one side roared for the home team. The couple found seats on the home team’s side and Meena pointed out her sister to Nate. In a few moments the two began to feel settled and started to cheer along with the surrounding fans. They also began to check their devices and were surprised to see visions of the basketball game appearing on the screens. Nate’s display was switched to “other” so his device was reading Philomena’s heart. As usual the screen showed an image of himself in the foreground and the background showed the basketball game, but the images were not separate but uniform. It almost looked as if Meena was taking a video of him sitting watching the game. He switched his device to “here” and was again surprised to see the display showing Meena sitting at the basketball game. They began discussing why they were not getting the usual fascinating images from one another’s pasts and deduced that the gymnasium or the game held no memories for them and that they were simply living in the moment.
The game ended with the home team winning by 5 points so Nate and Meena moved out of the gym and into the parking lot along with the crowd. It was late and, although the evening had held wonders for them both, they needed to get up and go to their jobs the next morning. Today had been one of those “observed” holidays on the Monday closest to the actual holiday, but tomorrow it was back to work for both of them. Their work schedules did not allow them to share much time together during the workweek - just about an hour each evening if they really rushed - but then they also had Saturday and perhaps Sunday.
On the drive to Philomena’s home they discussed the one-week-trial period that Nate had made with the shop owner for the Monitors. It was Monday so Mr. Hobonukium would be expecting Nate to return the two devices on the following Monday. They wanted to come up with some interesting places to go or things to do that would show just how much the Monitors were capable of. They agreed that more meaningful locations would probably hold more significance for them and therefore get more interesting results from Hobo’s Heart Monitors. They only had one week and they knew they needed to develop a knack of looking at the Monitor while keeping it close to their hearts so the image would not fade, and they knew they needed to visit locations that held intriguing memories for them. Four more evenings was not a lot of time to test these amazing devices, but then they would be together all day on Saturday too.