Below CapacIty

About the author

The author wrote this in Puebla, Mexico. I was in Akumal a few weeks earlier.

Below CapacIty by Brendan ZaChary AllIson

“Hey Skyler! I just picked up my suitcase. Should be outside soon. Can’t wait to see you! Miss me?”

“Naw, I liked being all alone for 3 months while they glutted my wife’s brain. You still remember me?”

“Of course, honey. It doesn’t impair consolidated memories. And I’m now an MD licensed in psychiatry.”

“Yeah. Musta been rough. I didn’t hear from you at all. Any room in your brain for thinking about me?”

“Doesn’t work that way. Was really intensive. But your insecurity is understandable and I’ll allay it henceforth. I got a job!! And I made us a new path forward together. We’ll be in a real home soon.”

“Tammi, I like our home.”

“Skyler, we live in a trailer park. Everyone there is-“

“Our friends.” It got as quiet as an airport can get. “Do we… need to talk?”

“Honey, that environment entails too many contextual and social cues for our new path forward. We-“

“Huh?” She emerged from the airport and ran toward him, then walked. “Wow! You lost a shitload of weight!!” He extended his arms hesitantly for an embrace that didn’t happen. “What?”

“You’ve been smoking again.” Tammi shook her head. “Skyler, I can’t stand that smell.”

“Tammi, we both burned through your fake Monty Chris Dos or whatever those cigars are for years!”

“New path. I’ve developed an adjustment plan for you using a range of techniques, TMS, therapy, diet, exercise, bilateral scrotal clips they’ve really made a lot of advances lately and Oh God is that beer?”

Skyler sighed. “Uh. Yeah. I brought us a case of Coors Banquet Reserve for the drive home like always.”

“I do recognize my role in enabling that addictive behavior, but with some emotive re-framing we can adapt the narrative to – Skyler? I see you’re getting in our truck, and I have to establish some boundaries here. Skyler, turn it off. Now. SKYLER!” She coughed on the sudden cloud of unfiltered car exhaust.

Author Commentary

This was one of my lighter stories. It doesn’t really get in to privacy issues. Identity and agency, perhaps – how and why did Tammi change? Was her personality altered by her training?

Who’s right? They seem to have been content white trash, with friends and shared addictions. Tammi seems to have a “better” plan.


Accelerated training doesn’t require a BCI. This sort of thing might happen often today, albeit more slowly.


Would it be better if the couple stayed together or split up? It’s tough without more background, and I wanted to keep it as a short-short. In an earlier version, I said that the couple saved up and agreed to send Tammi so they could develop a new life together.

Edit History

I wrote this in February 2023.

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