Day One at The Every: An excerpt from Dave Eggers’ new novel

“I think so,” Kiki said. “But you should know – you were a forester! ”

Delaney laughed idiotically and thought she would be strangled. She tried to breathe.

“Almost forgot,” Kiki said, looking upset. “Can you download anything? I’ll send you an update to your phone. ”

Delaney found the update and downloaded it. “Understood.”

“You’ve used TruVoice, I understand?”

“Always,” Delaney said.

TruVoice had controlled much of online communication since Delaney had been in high school. It simply started as a filter. Someone would write or dictate a text, and TruVoice would scan the message for any of the Os-offensive, disgusting, outrageous, off-color, off-base, out-of-date. O-language would be cut out or replaced, and the message would be sent in a way that suits posterity. Sounds like yourself, Promised TruVoice, and the vast majority of its users, about 2 billion plus in 130 languages, saw it as a gift.

“The update is just based on that,” Kiki said, “but for verbal communication. Obviously we can not change your words in real time, but now TruVoice analyzes what you say, gives you an overview of your vocabulary at the end of Every day and shows you where you can improve. ”

“Wonderful!” Said Delaney.

“It really is is wonderful, ”Kiki said. “I have learned so much about my own communication. I have a son. He’s 5. He’s at school here. Have I already told you that? ”

Delaney had the feeling that she was talking to someone with speed or cocaine. Was it really water in that burgundy backpack? She had rarely seen this kind of mania.

And research says that children should hear hundreds of thousands of words when they are 3. Something like that. So TruVoice helps me with the total number and also word variation. I’m still at 65 percent in terms of variety and difficulty – I’m a verbal dummy, it turns out – but now I know what to work with. ”

“Wonderful!” Said Delaney again, louder than before.

“Look, they’ll notice that repetition at the end of the day,” Kiki said. “You will not be punished or anything. It’s just to help us do better. ”

Delaney almost said Wonderful again, just for her own amusement. Instead, she said, “Of course.”

“And it has almost eliminated my curse,” Kiki said, “which used to be a problem. Same with focus and length. I had a tendency to wander, and TruVoice identifies off-track … ”Kiki stopped. “What’s the word? This is so funny.”

“Saying? Winding? Blather? Delaney suggested.

“Yes please,” said Kiki. “It helps me get to the point. Early on, my direct scores were in the 40s, but now they are in the high 50s. “

“Kudos,” Delaney said.

“Excuse me?” Kiki said.

“Oh. I just said praise. ”

Kiki knocked on her screen. “Ah. Kudos. As ‘congratulations.’ Understood. It is also a level 3 word. I get extra points for it. Kudos. Kudos. Take a look. ”

Kiki showed her phone to Delaney. A man passed between them, wearing what appeared to be an Olympic swimmer’s clothes, his phallus pointing from the crotch to his left knee.

“Pardon!” Said Kiki, tapping on her screen. “Look, here’s my word for the day so far: 3,691. Of course, it does not count every contraction and conjunction. On the second line you can see that it is divided by level. Today I have spoken 2,928 Level-1 words, 678 Level-2, 67 Level-3 and nine Level-4 words. Which is not good for level 4. But it is the basic self-improvement part of the app. I can build on that. Growth mindset, right? ”

“That’s my motto,” Delaney said.

“Good motto!” Kiki said. “Kudos!”

They shared a laugh. Delaney felt sick. She liked Kiki, felt for Kiki, wanted to save Kiki, and she lied to Kiki. How long could she lie to this unfaithful, insane face? She pityed her own soul. Out of the corner of my eye, Delaney saw a pair of men in slalom ski outfits, decorated with faux flames, having a conversation while squatting.

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