New York Syndrome

They named the pill New York after the city that never sleeps, despite originating from a Chinese replica developed in Boston. Aaron Knight’s grandfather, George Knight senior, often fondly spoke of a time when NYs were optional, when people would waste hours every day lain in bed doing nothing. Aaron considered him a Dozer; a pervert. We frequently excuse the elderly for their eccentricities, but Aaron found it difficult to understand and forgive his grandfather’s obsession with sleep. George Knight senior was the last of Aaron’s grandparents having died only twelve years prior; at the unusually old age of seventy-two. Aaron was born too late to meet the rest of his forebears, they were merely names rarely recounted in passing conversation, however, he retained fond memories of George senior.


Aaron Knight lived in London, which was drastically different to the city George senior recounted in his bedtime stories. This was a time when overpopulation was a worldwide problem, with the United Kingdom's capital alone exceeding 50 million inhabitants. People were packed together like camerae.


Camerae are the husky, slender chambers that compose the interior of a spiralling Ammonite shell.


Aaron was proud of his apartment. Although it was cramped and owned by Government Ltd he was content with his borrowed independence. It had been assigned to him, along with his career as an engineer at the Sunlight factory, following graduation from university. His job and home were guaranteed as a citizen under the Efficient Society Scheme. Aaron had worked on the same factory floor his entire adult life; where, for 12 hours a day, he tirelessly produced the patented Sunlight light bulbs. London was covered in their product, which created a dynamic daytime environment throughout the city. People’s lives were dictated by their work schedule rather than the Sun and the bulbs provided almost all of the benefits of natural sunlight. They were an essential addition to the New York pill. Aaron took his pill every twelve hours as recommended; once at the start of his shift and once at the end. He had never missed a measure, but if he did the symptoms would set in within twelve hours. The box listed the side effects as: drowsiness, headaches, muscle ache, lethargy and hallucinations. Prolonged exposure led to long-term mental health issues or even death. Aaron found it difficult to believe that these were the effects Dozers craved, those his grandfather so fondly recalled.