28 September, 2012

Flash Fiction: Sense of Taste

    “If you knew that was tasteless bread,” Peter said. “You would have never taken the whole loaf.”
    “But it looked so much like corn bread,” The android replied.
    Peter was getting tired of teaching the logistics of taste. It had taken weeks for his android, a Humanics 180, to activate its taste buds.
    Peter had tried making breakfast that morning, some pancakes and an omlette. But the android just ate them like usual, no recognition of maple syrup or cheese. So it was back to the programming and Peter played around with its binary code.
    Turned out that a section of the code for taste was garbled thanks to a corroded chip. He took it straight from its head and slipped it into his overcoat. Back to the shop, in the corner, where all the Humanics chips were hidden from makers and breakers.
    180, being a discontinued model from recently, had an abundance of replacement chips. Each being full of updated firmware. Overwhelmed by the mass of compatibility, Peter left with a box.
    He plopped it on the workshop bench, sorting the chips from interpretation and recognition. He connected them to his desktop, trying to find the mint condition that would last for the android’s lifespan. Most turned up aged or corroding worse than the chip it already had.
    There was one chip that Peter was pleased with, a fresh recognition fragment. He plopped the chip into the android without further analysis, booting it back up.
    “Good evening, Peter,” It said, grinning.
    Peter exhaled a sigh of relief, “Lovely isn’t it?”
    “…Yes. If that’s what you believe.”
    “The sunset I mean.”
    “Ah! Makes sense now.”
    Peter took out the loaf of bread, a combination of grains and pepper baked from long ago. In Peter’s case, long ago was usually two weeks when he wasn’t programming casual games.
    He set it out on the table, sliced clean from beginning to end. Feasting on one slice each, they slowly made it through the loaf. Peter observed the android’s face, watching the twinges from its lips.
    When its face winced with distaste, Peter smiled, “If you knew that was tasteless bread, you would have never taken the whole loaf.”

For Writ's Summer Writing Challenge , extended to the end of September.

14 September, 2012

Flash Fiction: How Many Times?

            How many times?
            The same guy kept showing up at the cafe, armed with complaints. It never stopped; everything was a target for scrutiny.
            Yet I was stuck with him again. Good old Turner. Man of his word, if that word was in his favor that is. He was also politically passionate, an armchair pundit more or less.
            “So can’t wait for these elections to be over,” He said. “Time to get rid of these clowns and get a real politician.”
            He was on a non-stop tirade about some convention of politicians that ticked him off. It all had to do with the ties, always with the ties.
            “A true politician never wears a snap-on,” Was his favorite lesson. “To tie a tie is true dedication to this country.”
            The fact that he could pinpoint the type of tie a politician was wearing from a television screen would be surprising to most. But I was the only one who knew his TV-watching habits. Always in HD. Always in widescreen. Always on a channel I never heard of.
            How many times?
            His complaints about everything else were exactly the same. He darted the guys from work and school that were different from him from neckwear to personality.
            “So you remember Seamus from Marketing,” He said. “That lazy slob never did work on those group projects.”-He then put on a funny voice.-“I can’t do that. Ma won’t let me.”
            How many times?
            And if he wasn’t complaining politics or putting a bad name on everyone else, he was working on one thing.
            “Look, Ian,” He told me, taking out his tattered notebook. “I’ve got some good stuff going on in Act 3.”
            This was the only time he beamed, telling tales of the characters partying in some pavilion, or how ridiculous they all were on paper.
            “So once Act 1 gets finished then we can finally start that journey to Hollywood,” He said. “I’m still waiting, Ian.”
            How many times?
            That was a question that I’ve asked for years when it came to Turner. The grating finally broke as I snatched that notebook and strolled off back to the house. He never ran after me and I haven’t seen him since then.
            How many times did it take for me to realize? Why did I give myself up in the first place?

For The Knights of Microfiction curated by Kathy and Jessica McKendry

06 September, 2012

Friday Flash: Fear Messenger

            My RSS feeds told me the worst was yet to come. Every shooting and looting, every disaster that struck the town next door, and every missing persons report prophesied it. Nothing was over for too long as the mean world was just around corner.
           “Get your head off that machine,” My grandpa would tell me. “The work’s not gonna do itself you know.”
            But I couldn’t bear to leave the Messenger. Someday it would save my life and even the family. Yet I pried myself to the so-called real life.
            All those people and their newspapers. Such smelly ink and banter ruled the day even if the beer remained untouched. I could still recall that debate over some opinion piece on property rights.

            How could those suits be so lax in a time of constant crisis? A criminal could be released from court thanks to corruption. With the disease being disguised as a request for a bathroom break. It would fester despair for many years knowing that Louis ‘roll-up’ Coe is still at large; released from prison after five hours.

            The Messenger knew how to solve my worries no matter what it was. Surviving many a year from killers, drug dealers, hurricanes, and even that strange man across the street. It definitely was no easy feat.

            And just yesterday I finally met someone who realized the insanity of it all, someone who knew the Messenger. He took me through downtown so I could meet the protector of day-to-day humanity.

            However, I was disappointed to find out who…it was. Multiple monitors were on display behind the windows, playing the reports I watch on my feeds.

            “You may just want the basic package,” He said.