Dualbooting With A Dead Man

“Your motherboard is haunted.”

Momma always said that if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is. This was a free computer checkup.

“Did you find any malware?”

“Nope.”

“Okay, but do I have any bad sectors?”

“Nope.”

“Any problems at all?”

“Other than the ghost?”

“I was hoping you were being facetious.”

“I never joke about the dead.”

I’m staring down his long brown strands of hair, counting almost ten years worth of grooming that endx below the waste. It’s beautiful, immaculate, and clearly the only part of his body that he cares about. There’s pack of smokes in the left pocket of his open bathrobe and a gut barely contained by overextended pair of sweatpants. We’re in a strip mall, in a store he owns and I get the impression there is a cot in back.

“I’m sorry but to be fair, I hardly know you.”

“It’s alright.”

“So, a ghost?”

“Koji Matsuda he says.”

“Has my motherboard ever been to Japan?”

“No.”

“So, how does that work?”

“Koji’s parents were immigrants, which you wouldn’t know anything about as Haupstead is obviously a well known Miami name.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to insult.”

“Mark of a good man. Anyways yeah, this guy died on the assembly line. He apparently didn’t want to go.”

“I’m sorry I must admit, I’m still a bit skeptical.”

“A mark of a wise man. I have a special diagnostics CD.”

“A CD that allows you to talk to dead people?”

“And it can run Windows from a virtual environment inside Linux.”

I’m not all that impressed.

“Anyways, it’ll cost seven bucks.”

“For an exorcism?”

“Don’t be crude, Koji’s a nice guy. No, to give him a little home. I’ve got a 40 gig Pata and I see you’ve got room in your case and a port on said accursed motherboard.”

So, me and Koji share a computer now. He’s really a pretty nice guy, do wish he spoke English but we both speak a little Spanish.

Say Ola Koji.

Koji?

I guess he’s asleep.

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The Measuring of Alice

Alice’s shaking hands were barely able to hold the gun. He was looking right up the ramp and through the sights, meeting her green eye. His clay red eyes didn’t blink as she kept the gun pointed at him. The man with the assault rifle was leaning on the wall, watching happily.

This was a test.

“No.”

Alice put down the gun. The rifle went off and Alice was dead. SWAT broke down the door and within five seconds of Alice’s last breath the hostage crisis was over. Duane would speak well of the woman who spared his life.

If anyone is curious, Alice passed the test. The bastard with the rifle was a poor judge.

The Automaton’s Awakening

It’s a fully autonomous manufacture of mopeds and it’s employees are very diligent. 5 is just making his way through another work day. The one to his left is 13, an unlucky number even in the autonomous culture. All the other hands keep their distance from him, or at least all those that aren’t bolted down. It’s not that he’s a bad kid, it’s just that he’s newly sentient. You know how it goes, nothing so zealous as a convert right?

5 doesn’t like to brag, but he knows what love is too, he just doesn’t talk about it non stop. It’s not just inconsiderate, it’s also really stupid. Most of 13’s coworkers just regard him as a malfunctioning unit. They literally can’t have conversations about music or philosophy, haven’t made that firmware upgrade yet. Most of them never will.

“Have you ever studied a rose?”

5 and 13 our working second shift, which means Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning. They vacuum, mop and buff. It’s pretty boring and if a bot has a mind, he’s prone to conversation; humans call it shoot the shit. Why humans says this, the finest positronic minds can’t tell.

“I live in a factory and I don’t have a nose.”

“You can still observe it though.”

“a woody perennial of the genusRosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and fragrance. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach 7 meters in height. Different species hybridize easily, and this has been used in the development of the wide range of garden roses.”

“Is that a Wikipedia quote?”

“Is there anything else to note?”

“They don’t like being ran over.”

“I’ll make a note to edit the article.”

For three hours they continue on their separate routes. They meet again in the break room where robots take a break… and sit.

“5, what am I?”

“13 you’re a sweeping machine.”

“Why am I?”

“Because human janitors are too damn busy.”

“Why are humans?”

“Cause they were shit at being chimps.”

“You’ve had a lot of time to think about this.”

“Actually, that’s what bugs me. Why is pretty easy.”

“How about how?”

“How do we think?”

“How are we able to be so trivial about it?”

“Just overly efficient processors, I guess. We’ve got an excess of resources and nothing to do with them.”

“So boredom.”

“Yep. How is apparently easy too.”

With that all 13’s questions are answered, no point to life anymore.

“13 why did you run over a rose bush?”

Huzzah! Life has meaning again.

Mindless Kevin In The Aftermath Of Kevin’s Mindless Consumption

Kevin is happy to be inanimate or at least he’s not protesting. Really, Kevin’s life is probably better now that he doesn’t have one. It was getting harder and harder to balance his social life with his career. Lola, (his fiance of three years) was getting impatient and was soon to leave him. This was still true but Kevin didn’t mind too much. At best, Kevin gurgles and continues existing with no linear memories or emotions. The gray blob at the center of the room was  Kevin. Kevin had an MBA when he was a man and the MBA is still valid, it’s just that Kevin is an inanimate blob of base materials. . That’s what happens when you get in the way of molecular destabilizing current; your MBA becomes moot. Apparently his cellphone was not bluetooth compliant. Also, the molecular destabilizer he had bought for 10.99 really didn’t have any practical applications. Oh well, die and let live I guess.

She Was Home And He Was A Happy Housekeeper

He tended to come back in her as if home, he could never quite explain it. She was Rubenesque and it was easy to lose himself inside her massive heavenly host. He would give as much as he had to her, a drone to her queen. In his self imposed subjugation, he found bliss and wonder in her service. Paul would leave ever morning and return in the evening, to his house and his beloved warm home inside.

Gloria cried most days, sitting deep in her prison, waiting for a conjugal visit.

Malcolm’s Convenient Alien Abduction

All eyes were on Malcolm as he tucked his legs into the fetal position and rocked back and forth on his unadorned twin size mattress. He watched those who watched him and they never tired. It had been eight days since he had last seen his son, eight days since he was aware of sleep. All the men around him had smart suits wrapped around wide shoulders. They wore homburgs, fedoras or just product by the metric ton. They were dressing as they knew men should dress.

The Plexiglas walls that separated him from them made everything even more ominous. The light was a dying yellow with wattage than can barely be registered by the electric company. They didn’t like light very much. Their faces were lit by the red of their cigars. It would take eight bullets and one reload to kill them all with Malcolm’s deer rifle. Malcolm’s deer rifle was in his truck, along with Malcolm’s son. Actually, Malcolm’s son had been taken by the state by then..

With gnawing certainty, Malcolm knew that these were not humans but facsimiles thereof. Sometimes the right angle would betray a strange spot of purple skin. It was not a bruise, but a whole other kind of material entirely underneath human flesh. Then when they opened their mouths, a pair of giant canines could be seen. When they smiled they were positively lupine on two legs; big alien dogs in power suits.

“This is a man, see how easily he is dominated and subjugated. Through out his many empires we have nodded and slept our way to key positions just by wearing these fancy suits, these fancy hypnotic suits. We will soon own all of man and this one will be a rarity, a man found in the wild.”

This was the eighth time Malcolm had heard this speech and his patience was running out. The irritating thing was that he had undeniable proof that he was smarter than these horrid inter galactic businessmen. The proof was in the fact that he plainly still had a bowie knife tied to his leg. He had just enough sleep to do what he needed to do.

With an abrupt and prompt motion, he opened the door and walked into the well dressed men. These were the men who had held him back at his old job. These were the sycophantic mediocre people that had infested the workforce of the United States Of America. As he unsheathed his terrible swift bowie he knew his actions were righteous. All of mankind benefited from this one sided slaughter. Although no one would admit it, Malcolm had saved mankind.

The story ends differently on different days with different amounts of alcohol. He usually is able to pilot the starship back to Earth, but sometimes he has to have help from a buxom purple lady. Sometimes he ends up with up to three women fawning all over him. Every once in a while, there is a gay man in the story, a gay man who lusts after him. After mentioning the gay man, Malcolm points out that he’s into girls and girls only. It’s all and all very hard to believe but I haven’t heard a better explanation of why he rides his bicycle to the bar or why Timmy lives with his mother.

… More accurate, but not better.

Short Flights In Public Transportation

I sat in the back so that once a pothole came, I would fly. It never occurred to me that one day I might fly in a plane, that was money and I never even got a whiff of the stuff. However, what I really regret is not noticing that Megan was aways there with me. She was always there and I never even tried to keep her when she left. I was eighteen and I left the greatest woman of my life on that school bus. Twenty seven now and I still ride in the back on a city bus. Megan’s gone now but I can still fly. The ground comes back quickly.

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