Copyright © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Tylor Kranyak
Author of Legacy of Krazatan
Augmented Reality
     Geoff drove down the busy street on his way to work. The temperature was forty-five degrees Fahrenheit, and the weather was clear with a twenty-five percent chance of overcast in the afternoon, or so his Ocuglass told him. He had gotten the new model just the other day, and he even got a good deal on it by trading in his old model. There were so many new features, he couldn’t even list them all. He looked up at the streetlight, and a timer appeared on the screen that counted down to when the light would turn green. He looked to his left and saw a pastry shop, and with a blink of light the Ocuglass brought up information on the shop’s grand re-opening sale. He would have to remember to check the place out during his lunch break.
     He looked up at the top left of the display at the time that read 7:42 AM. He didn’t have to be in the office until 8:00 and it wasn’t far. The route to his office was displayed on a small map just under the time. There was heavy congestion on one of the roads he usually took, so he considered taking one of the side streets to cut down on time. He hoped the traffic would be a little better coming home. That reminded him, he had a late meeting with a client that he wouldn’t be finished with until at least 6:00. Geoff unclipped the earpiece from the right side of the device and popped it in his ear. “Ocuglass,” he said, activating the device’s voice command function. “Call Sheryl.”
     “Calling: Sheryl Conrad. Is this correct?” the piece of technology asked in a clipped female voice.
     He heard the phone on the other end ring twice before he heard his girlfriend answer, “Hello?”
     “Hey Sheryl, it’s me. I just remembered I have a late meeting today, so I’ll be getting home a little late tonight.”
     “Okay, do you know what time you might be home by?”
     “I’ll be out of the office around six, so I should be home by-” Geoff slammed on the breaks and blasted the horn as a pickup truck swerved into the lane in front of him, nearly hitting his own car in the process. The sudden stop caused his Ocuglass to slide off its perch on his ears, earpiece and all. It smacked into the steering wheel before bouncing into his lap. Angry, Geoff lowered his window and yelled at the driver in front of him. “Hey, asshole, watch where you’re going!” The other driver responded with a swift middle finger.
     Geoff had half a mind to get out of his car and teach that prick a lesson, the he remembered his girlfriend was still on the line. He scrambled for is Ocuglass and slipped it back on. His stomach sank when he saw the huge crack down the center of the left lens of his precious, brand new device. He put the earpiece back into the ear and asked, “Sheryl, you still there?”
     “Yeah, I---ere, wha---pened?”
     Geoff winced at the scrambled sounds that cut in between his girlfriend’s words. He couldn’t make out what she was saying, but he explained, “Some dickhead in his pickup nearly knocked me off the road trying to get in front of me.”
     “What? Are---kay?”
     “Sorry Sheryl, something’s wrong with my Ocuglass. I can barely understand what you’re saying. I’ll try to call you later.” He pressed a small button on the right side of the device to end the call.
     He took the earpiece out of his ear, but felt the cord snap. Gritting his teeth, he tossed the busted earpiece off to the side. “Cheap crap,” he muttered. He had an extra earpiece in his desk at work so he could replace it, but it still ticked him off that one that came packaged with his Ocuglass would break so easily. He’d worry about it later, though. Right now he had to worry about making it to work.
     Looking up at the map displayed on the left screen, Geoff followed the directions his Ocuglass gave him. Although the path it laid out for him went through streets that were usually congested, the device told him the traffic was moving along smoothly. Trusting it, he took a left at the intersection and followed the directions. His faith was rewarded with three streets of gridlock and an entire right lane blocked off due to an accident. Geoff groaned, rolling his head back to lay against the headrest. He wondered why his Ocuglass hadn’t told him about the thick traffic, though he chalked it up to the news not reaching anyone quick enough. It looked like a very recent accident after all, the two drivers were still exchanging insurance information.
     He looked up at the clock to see how much time he had before he had to be at the office. The Ocuglass read 7:15. He let out a relaxed sigh, at least he wouldn’t be late. Still, he decided to check if he had any appointments in the morning just in case. “Ocuglass, calendar, today, morning.” A separate window popped up on the right lens showing an empty schedule from 8:00 to 12:00. Thoroughly relieved, Geoff turned up the volume on the car’s radio and listened to his favourite station as the traffic slowly inched forward.
     After a while Geoff finally pulled into the office’s garage. He parked his car in his usual spot before heading up the stairs to the lobby. Passing by the front desk, he waved at the receptionist and said, “Morning Tammy.”
     “The boss is looking for you, Geoff, and he’s not happy.”
     Confused, Geoff asked, “Why? I got here on time.”
     Before the receptionist could answer, a booming voice called from the other side of the lobby, “Geoff!” Geoff immediately straightened his body as his boss marched over to him. “Would you mind explaining to me why you’re thirty minutes late?”
     “Late? But I got here on…” Geoff’s voice trailed off as he looked up at the time display on his Ocuglass. The time ready 8:32, or at least he assumed it did since the middle part of the second digit wasn’t showing up, making the three look like a backwards C. “I’m sorry, sir. My Ocuglass cracked on my way over. It put me in a traffic jam and I think the time display is malfunctioning.”
     “I don’t care about that piece of plastic! Your car has a clock of its own, doesn’t it?”
     “Well… yes, but-”
     “Then you don’t have any excuse for not calling in and telling us would couldn’t make it to your meeting with Mr. Chang. He was sitting in your office for fifteen minutes before we realised you weren’t here!”
     “Mr. Chang? But, my appointment book was empty!” Geoff ran a panicked hand through his hair, though at that moment he felt like ripping it out of his skull. “Is he still in my office?”
     “Don’t bother, Jenkins is taking care of him.” His boss jabbed a finger at Geoff’s chest. “If you’re so much as a second late to your next client meeting I’ll personally see to it that the only job you’ll be qualified to do in this firm is scrubbing the toilets. Do I make myself clear?”
     Geoff had to force his voice not to crack when he answered, “Crystal.”
     “Good, now get out of my sight.” With that the man walked away, leaving Geoff shaking in his expense shoes. When Geoff was sure he hadn’t wet his pants in fear, he rushed to the elevator and made a beeline to his office once it reached his floor.
     The first thing he did when he turned on his computer was open his calendar. Sure enough he had three meeting scheduled for this morning, the first being the appointment with Mr. Chang that he missed. Realizing that his Ocuglass was suffering from more than just a cracked lens, he opened up his web browser and did a search for the website of the device’s manufacturer, Cymax Corporation. The technical support page told him that if he called with his Ocuglass they would be able to run a diagnostic on the spot and find out whatever problems it had quicker.
     Geoff opened his desk drawer and grabbed his spare earpiece. He had originally bought it for his older model, but thankfully the new version was compatible with all the old peripherals. He unplugged the broken wire and replaced it with the new earpiece. It didn’t fit in the Ocuglass’s resting slot, but Geoff only needed it for this one call.
     “Ocuglass, call Cymax Corporation.”
     “Calling, ---max Corporation. Is this correct?”
     Geoff winced at the device’s sudden static. “Yes,” he said, and hoped that whatever was wrong with his machine could be fixed.
     Geoff waited a few rings until a burly European voice on the other side answered, “Thank you for calling Climax Corporation, your one-stop-shop for marital aids. How can we enhance your fantasies today?”
     Geoff’s cheeks flushed with heat. Stammering, he said, “I’m sorry, I think I called the wrong number.”
     “There’s no need for embarrassment, my friend. Everyone needs a little help from time to time. We have an amazing selection of-”
     Geoff ended the call before he could hear any more. He had to wait a few moments for his embarrassment to die down before he could think straight. When his racing heart finally started to ease down, he looked at the tech support page again to find an actual phone number. He rattled off the number, no longer trusting his Ocuglass’s name recognition. After a few more rings he heard an automated voice on the other end say, “Thank you for calling Cymax Corporation’s technical support line. For service in English, please press or say ‘one’.”
     “One,” Geoff responded.
     A moment later, the voice said, “Para nuestro horario de oficina, presione o diga uno por favor.”
     “Piece of crap,” Geoff muttered as he hung up. He was about to call back to try again, but he stopped when there was a knock at his door. “Yes?”
     His secretary poked her head into his office. “Mr. Sanders, your next appointment is in five minutes.”
     Geoff sighed heavily as he rubbed both hands over his face. “Okay, thanks Gina.”
     “Is something the matter?”
     “It’s nothing, I’ll deal with it later.” Geoff put his Ocuglass on his desk and left to see his client. He didn’t want to piss off his boss again, he wouldn’t doubt the man would add him to the janitorial staff if he screwed up one more time.
      The whole morning was client meeting after client meeting, so when he finally got back to his office it was already lunch time. Picking up where he left off, Geoff put the Ocuglass back on and tried calling tech support again. After three more attempts to navigate through their menu options, he finally got hold of an English speaking technician. “Hello, my name is Trevor. How can I help you today?”
     “Finally! My Ocuglass fell off while I was driving to work this morning and now something’s wrong with it. It’s been giving me nothing but trouble all morning.”
     “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, sir. Are you calling from the malfunctioning Ocuglass right now?”
     “Yes, but it took me forever to get it to choose the right menu options trying to reach one of you.”
     “All right, do I have your permission to connect my system to your Ocuglass in order to run a diagnostic?”
     “Yes, just find out what’s wrong and tell me how to fix it.”
     “One moment, sir.” A window appeared on the Ocuglass’s crack lens of a line extending from a computer to a pair of glasses. After the connection was established and the diagnostic began to run, red lights and icons started popping up all over the place. “I’m sorry, sir, but it seems most of your Ocuglass’s important systems are damaged. There’s nothing I can do to fix it. According to the information I have your Ocuglass is still under warranty, so we can send you a replacement free of charge.”
     Frustrated, Geoff asked, “What am I supposed to do with this one?”
     “We will be sending a return package with your replacement so you can send us back the broken device. While you’re waiting for your new Ocuglass we can set up a temporary service with any older models you might have.”
     “I don’t have my older model anymore, I sent it back to you guys so I could get my new one cheaper!” Geoff rubbed the bridge of his nose. “How long will it take for the replacement to arrive?”
     “Ground shipping usually takes one week. However, due to high demands we are currently out of stock on all items of this make and model. We can put you on our waiting list for the next available device, the current estimated waiting time is three weeks.”
     “God dammit!”