My good friend Angela told me about the Service a week ago. Once you press the button on your phone, you no longer know what’s real. Every person you bump into on the street arouses suspicion. Are they part of the Service? Is that man across the street just taking a picture, or recording your location to call more of their actors in? Everything becomes paranoia. Everything becomes… exciting.

I downloaded it from the app store. Prps itself is free, but each week of the Service costs $100. Angela told me she bought the deluxe package, which included a month’s worth of the service and a mission involving a trip to a foreign country. She couldn’t tell me what country. According to her, she’d woken up in a jungle with a dart in her neck.

The Terms of Service were long. Very long. “There is a real possibility of permanent injury, disability, or death while using the Service”. “We accept no liability for any allergies to substances you may be injected with during the Service”. “There is a real possibility that when you return home, you will be unable to return to your job, have a criminal record, or find regular life incredibly boring”.

Real Total Recall shit is what it was, but without the dream. Without the ability to say, “I’m dreaming and I want this to stop.” Once you press go, you’re in it and there’s no safe word. The only way out is to get caught by them and “lose”. But losing might mean death.

I’d heard on the news about a guy who thought that he was interacting with the Service but ended up accidentally getting involved with some branch of the Mexican Mafia. There’s no way to tell. The Service don’t announce themselves. It’s illegal, of course, to purchase the service, or to work for them. But that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Hell, AirBnb is illegal in New York and look at the millions of dollars in business people do there.

I hear that nearly 70% of people who survive Prps end up working for the Service afterward. They get bored with anything else.

I agree to the terms of service. The app shows a single button. “Go”.

I take a deep breath, and tap.

Within moments I get an email from my bank. “Suspicious activity in your account.” Tap. Holy shit. There’s two million dollars in my bank account.

I hear breaking glass downstairs. That was fast. I probably should have gone somewhere with two exits bef…

A gunshot interrupts my thoughts. Splinters fly from the door. They’re using live ammo. I bolt for the window.

From Manhattan,


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