Prologue

He stood quietly in the wings of the large auditorium, which was home of the TV show 'The Einstein's of today,' waiting for his introduction. He had spent all of his time and money on this project and finally it was complete and open to the public. He shivered slightly from excitement. Could it really be the moment he had been waiting for? He was finally able to see his dream lived. How many people would benefit from this project? He couldn't imagine but he couldn't wait for it to happen.

"And now," he heard the TV host begin, capturing the live audience, "We have our star guest of the night; Henry Simons!"

The audience applauded and cheered as Henry came out onto the stage, waving to the crowd nervously.

He wasn't a very exciting man to behold. He was short with a constantly sweaty, balding head that shone in the bright stage's light. He wore a cheap brown pinstripe suit and large, wire framed glasses. He was a very weak looking man with the sort of relationship with oneself that it made you wonder if he hated himself or loved himself.

He sat uncomfortably on the dark red 2 seater couch, opposite the host, glancing back and forth between him and the audience.

"So, Henry-is it okay I call you that?" The host laughed a little, his animated face turned to Henry's. Henry briefly thought about how fake his smile was but answered the host.

"Yes, of course. Henry's fine," he spoke quickly-awkwardly.

The host just smiled. "So, about your creation… that's why we're here right?" He laughed again, continuing suddenly with, "So, what can you tell me about it?"

"Well, it's uh-it's… " He paused, gathering his thoughts. "Basically it's like a dream machine. You hop into the chair and it induces a dreamlike state."

"Sort of like in The Matrix?" the host asked with a sarcastic grin.

"I guess, I wouldn't know. I haven't watched The Matrix before," Henry answered honestly, "Anyway, so it induces a dreamlike state and whatever you dream for, happens."

The host nodded. "Why would you want to invent such a machine?"

"Why?" Henry thought for a moment. "Well, I am an orphan. And when I was younger I was adopted by a very unkind couple. The orphanage was better than living there. So I have created this machine for people like me, people in orphanages, kids who have nothing to look forward to when they get home, I've created it so they are able to experience life as it should be."

Again the host nodded, looking slightly sceptical. "Yes, yes. But do you think that a machine will give them this life? Shouldn't they be living life as life is, not through a machine?" he faced the audience as he said this, as if trying to get support.

Now it was Henry's turn to nod. "I understand what you're saying and I don't want this machine to become an everyday thing, I don't want them to become addicted to it. I just think these kids should have something for them. That's why my invention is only going to be available for use in my store, a dream arcade if you will." He smiled to himself.

"How are you going to be able to determine who is having a crappy life and who isn't?" the host asked, his brow furrowing.

Henry was silent for a moment. "I have been there and done that. I think I will be able to tell."

The host hurried on, "Do you really think it's up to you to judge these children? And why is it not available to all? Isn't that a little unfair?"

Henry laughed tightly. "Unfair? If the world was fair would these children be abandoned to orphanages? Sir, if everything in life were fair, then my parents wouldn't have been murdered and their murder would have not been able to be bailed. Is it up to you to say that it's unfair? If the rich children and the stable kids were allowed to have access to this invention, the homeless children who get thrown out of abandoned warehouses would not be able to say that there is something they can have that those that have everything don't. They have no family, no toys and often no food. Why should the other children who have all that and more be able to have a chance to dream of a better life when they can really have no better? No sir, I believe that their lot in life is quite poorly judged and my decision is the fair one." Henry turned red at the startled look on everyone's faces, wishing he had not spoken so strongly and hurriedly.

The host quickly closed his mouth and smiled tensely. "Well," he laughed, trying to ease the tension. "When is it open to the public? I mean, well-the disadvantaged."

"This July, the 16th. There is no charge for use."

"Well!" the host said brightly, "That's all we have time for I'm afraid." He faced the audience. "Can everyone please give a hand to Henry Simons?" the host called, standing with Henry.

"Thank-you for the chat and we hope to see you soon. Perhaps you will come in and we can see how your machine is going."

Henry nodded, shaking hands with the host and with one last half-hearted wave he left the stage.

"And that was Henry Simons with his invention, 'The Dream Machine!'" he heard the host announce as Henry walked towards the exit.

He shook from exhaustion and nerves. He had done it! And soon his dream machine would be open to the public. He would be able to see lives changed. He quickly stepped into the open air, escaping from the congratulations and pats on the back and walked towards his car. Soon, so soon, it would finally come together.