In a future society, Mitchell Chaplin is sentenced for the crime of emotional coldness. He is taken to a shadowy chamber where the sentence is passed. A faceless voice informs Chaplin that he is sentenced to one year of invisibility. Chaplin is unimpressed as the trial is adjourned. The guards press a device to his head and burn a raised imprint on his forehead. They then walk away, ignoring Chaplin and everything he says. Chaplin insists that he can do a year standing on his head.
Chaplin walks down the street and discovers that everyone ignores him once they see the mark on his head. Floating robot sentinels monitor Chaplin and make sure that no one acknowledges him. His former co-workers ignore him and even children in restaurants know not to pay him any attention.
Chaplin gets drunk and takes whatever he wants. He runs into another invisible man but the robot monitors them and they can’t speak to each other. Chaplin spots a nearby women’s private spa and goes inside the locker room. The women can’t do anything or acknowledge him but their looks of disgust soon repel him. Back at his apartment, Chaplin tries to cover the imprint with a hat but discovers it burns through any covering.
Chaplin goes to a cafeteria and befriends a blind man, Bennett Gersh. They talk until someone informs Gersh that he’s dealing with an “invisible.” He damns Chaplin and leaves. Chaplin goes to a stand-up comedy club but they keep the spotlight on Chaplin to make sure everyone sees his imprint. Chaplin gets up and leaves.
Outside, Chaplin sees another invisible, a woman, and tries to get her to talk. He begs her for just a minute to talk but she ignores him and goes into her apartment building as he collapses, sobbing.
Chaplin is walking home when he notices two hoods robbing a car. They realize he can’t do anything about them and continue with their business. Chaplin keeps walking as the hoods start up the car. They try to run him over and send him flying with a broken leg. Nobody answers his cries for help. He goes home and calls the medical facility. They refuse to help him until they can identify him via faceprint. He finally has no choice but to show his face and the operator signs off. The next day Chaplin looks outside at the crowds and then remains inside.
Chaplin is cutting his hair when two guards arrive with their equipment. They ignore him but set up a chair. Chaplin sits down and they attach the device, and then remove the imprint. They then greet him and invite him to a drink. Chaplin hesitates and they insist that it’s tradition so he agrees.
Four Months Later
A new more sociable Chaplin is talking with his co-worker Margaret. She tells him that they all knew where he’d been but they’re glad that he’s a changed man, one for the better. However, as he walks the invisible woman he met months ago. She begs him to talk to her but he tries to walk away. The robot sentinels move in as she asks Chaplin how he can treat someone the way he was treated. Finally he embraces her and tells her that everything will be all right. The robot sentinels tell him he’s in violation of the law and will be sentenced to another year of invisibility, but Chaplin refuses to heed them… and would learn to treat his new sentence as a badge of honor. Share this article with your friends