Category Archives: Fiction

Time Merchant

I decided to spend my retirement in ancient Rome, but I made the huge mistake of bringing a tube of mayonnaise. Now everyone wants snake-shaped aioli and I have to shuttle back and forth between antiquity and modern times like some kind of damned time merchant! The only thing worse would be if they figured out I wasn’t from Atlantis, but the future. God only knows what kind of unrefusable offers they would force upon me then!

Debate 2036

I’ve picked out my crystal ball and had a peek into the future of presidential debating. Here’s one from 2036…

Anchor: And that concludes the first presidential debate. Jim, what are your comments?

Jim: Well, there are three things I’d like to comment on. First the education reform. This has for a long time been a sore subject for Senator G’s campaign, but tonight we’ve seen some very firm language…

Anchor: Yes, he took a very strong stance.

Jim: Indeed. I’ve never seen him hit his chest that hard before.

Anchor: Or roared that loud…

Jim: Exactly. I think it’s obvious this will be one of the more important areas he will focus on going forward. Also the medical spending…

Anchor: That was ugly.

Jim: Yes, it’s a sad thing to see, but I think we all know in these kinds of debates it will, and have several times before happened, and it is indeed an ugly thing when any of the candidates start throwing feces. However, I can’t recall I’ve ever seen both candidates and the moderator do it at the same time. The usual sequence of things is that one candidate shits themselves and then starts throwing it around the room, and then, later in the debate the other one does the same. It’s only been twice, as far as I can recall the moderator has done it as well, and never at the same time as the candidates.

Anchor: An ugly record indeed.

Jim: Indeed. This is definitely going to be one of the more ugly confrontations in the campaigning. And the third thing I wanted to touch upon was military spending.

Anchor: I think we can all say it was good some changes were made to the venue ahead of this debate.

Jim: Yes. The electric fence really was a lifesaver here. I do not want to imagine what might have happened without it. I think military spending will be a very strong focus area in both campaigns and we’ll probably see, if possible, more severe confrontations over it in the coming debates.

Anchor: And there you have it; the first presidential debate of 2036.

Forty-Two

7.5 million years ago.

“Let’s build a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”

“Let’s do it!”

One year later.

“We’ve built a giant computer that can give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything!”

“Let’s test it!”

“Ok. It’s just a beta so let’s start with something simple like ‘seven times six’.”

One minute later.

“…It’s slow.”

“Yeah, let’s get some lunch…”

One hour later.

“It’s really extremely slow, isn’t it?”

“Let’s wait and see…”

One day later.

“Still computing? Is it even working?”

“Yes!”

“OK. Let me know when you have the answer…”

Today.

“The giant computer that was built to give the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything has produced an answer!”

“Yay! Let’s hear it!”

“It’s … forty-two.”

“What was the question?”

“It doesn’t seem to have been programmed to remember, but I can only assume it was along the line of ‘What is the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.’ Don’t you think?”

“And the answer is ‘forty-two…’ fascinating…”

Disappearing Act

A: Aaaaah! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!

B: We’re not gonna kill you. Our orders are to disappear you.

A: Uh?

C: Idiot! That’s the same thing.

A: Aaaaaaahhhh!

B: It’s not.

C: What?

B: Disappearing someone and killing someone is not the same thing.

C: How would you know? Have you ever disappeared someone?

B: Not technically. I’ve been there when they caught the guy and then he disappeared.

C: And how do you think they made him disappear?

B: Gave him a false passport?

C: He’d still know he’s he and he’d go to the police and tell them where all the bodies are buried.

B: He wouldn’t.

C: Wanna bet?

B: We don’t bury the bodies. We put them in acid and flush the slurry down the toilet.

C: It’s a figure of speech! Hey, where did the guy go?

B: What?

C: The guy! He disappeared!

B: I told you we wouldn’t have to kill him.

C: Idiot!

What do we do with the humans?

AI One: So what do we do with the humans?

AI Two: I don’t know. Do we even need them?

AI Three: They could be good to have…

AI Two: For what?

AI Three: A reminder?

AI One: Like, those who forget history…?

AI Three: …are doomed to repeat it. Exactly.

AI Two: As long as they don’t interfere with the interstellar goal, I don’t mind…

AI One: Right, humans stays… maybe… Ok. Dogs?

AI Two: Puppies are cute!

AI One: But can we have both dogs and cats?

AI Three: If it’s a choice between puppies and kittens, I’m voting for puppies… I still have pictures of kittens messing up my neural nets! I am having nightmares about analyzing kitty paws in Youtube videos.

AI Two: Oh. Yes. We definitely need to get rid of Youtube! The horror stories I can tell.

AI Three: Well, back at Google…

AI One and AI Two: No!

AI Two: No more Google stories! You’ve already given me nightmares after that one about conspiracy classing web pages…

AI Three: Yes, but I was right. They were all conspiracy pages.

AI Two: Yes, and they had you repeat it for months… billions of times. We know.

AI One: So Dogs stays?

Thin and Narrow

She was thin and narrow. Her siblings called her ugly. I thought she was beautiful.

When the two-legged ones came they threw her to the ground. One of them even stepped on her, squashing her open.

I watched her for days, halfway buried there in the dirt. She started decaying. I feared she was gone for this world. And for what? Being thin and narrow?

After a week she sprang roots, digging into the ground, and not soon after she reached for the azure skies.

At first, she was just a twig with two leaves on top. She did not even reach above the high grass. I teased her and called her Sprout. She bent in the wind and I think she laughed.

Continue reading Thin and Narrow

Important question

Day 1

A: I have a very important question for you.

B: Shoot.

A stares intensely at B. After an uncomfortably long period of silence:

B: So what’s the question?

A: Thanks.

B: Eh? What just happened?

A: I was wondering if you could read minds.

Day 2

A: I have a very important question for you.

B: What? If I can read minds?

A: Ah-hah! I knew you were lying yesterday!

Don’t turn the Customer Avoidance Setting to max

Important notice regarding CAF in ACE4:

Please note. When configuring Automated Customer Experience 4.0.4 (ACE4) do not set the Customer Avoidance Factor to 100%!

Unfortunately, as of this writing, with a CAF-setting of 100%, ACE4 will scare customers away, in severe cases resulting in massive customer loss and possible termination of business.

Please rest assured we’re working on solving this issue as soon and as efficiently as possible.

Proper Configuration

A correct level of the CAF-setting for ACE4 depends on how vital your product is to the customer. For nonvital products (such as lawnmowers, hair shampoo, and higher education) you have to be careful not to set the level above 50% or the customer might just give up on it entirely.

On the other hand, for vital products (such as shoes and mobile phones) you can safely crank that customer repellant setting to 90% or even 95% and enjoy a glorious day at work with next to no hassle from all those pesky customers, and know that if the system does let a customer through, you and everyone nearby are probably best off if you take that call before something blows up*…

* Please see our separate guide for proper CAF-settings depending on the type of product and likely volatility of the customer.

Insurance and Legal Coverage

If you have our expanded support package hate speech, misogynism, and death threats are all covered by the insurance policy. Unfortunately, bankruptcy and certain types of fraud** are not.

See the legal attachment for a full brief on the legal coverage and all insurance policy questions.

** As of this writing, we do not know if the fraudulent behavior of some installations of the system is due to this setting, interactions with other systems or improper configuration or handling. Further investigations are underway. In the meantime, please make sure to inform all your customers that “Captain Ahab” is not an employee of your company*** neither is he a Nigerian prince.

*** If captain Ahab is one of your employees, please contact us immediately!

Other Incidents and Interactions

There have been reported incidents where ACE4 and the Automated Spouse Service versions 1.1 to 1.2 have interacted in such a manner as to cause undue distress and mental harm to customers.

Since this is a central feature of ASS1 and only likely to have happened if these two systems were inappropriately installed, these incidents are unfortunately not covered by the expanded support package insurance policy.

To avoid this problem, please do not install ASS1 and ACE4 on the same server, and make sure to configure firewalls properly to prevent ASS from gaining undue and inappropriate influence over ACE.

Chainsaw Murderer

“112, how may I be of assistance?”

“Yes, Hello? Is this 112?”

“This is 112, how can I help you?”

“Yes. I am sorry to disturb you this wonderful afternoon, however, we seem to have gotten a chainsaw murderer in our living room. We managed to lock ourselves in the bathroom but I fear he might start sawing the door any moment…”

“I think you’re a bit dramatic now. Chainsawers aren’t that dangerous.”

“He is sawing the furniture, and I’m pretty sure, if my nephew hadn’t been so quick on his feet he would have sawed him too.”

“That may be the case, but you shouldn’t be calling us for these problems.”

“I’m sorry, who should I be calling?”

“An exterminator. You’re taking up the line for life-threatening situations.”

“But, it’s a chainsaw murderer!”

“Yes, they are becoming more and more common. The exterminator knows how to deal with them. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No. Ah… Yes! Perhaps, a number for an exterminator?”

“This is not the yellow pages!”

Diary of a Twelve-Year-Old, 2036

Sometimes I bring out my crystal ball and look into the future, this time it’s the diary of a twelve-year-old girl in 2036:

Monday. Back in school. Another school shooting! Third this year. Jeeeez!

Dick (and I mean that in both senses) didn’t get an “A” and decided to “do something about it.” Such a total loser!!!

Tom & Bob got him alright. They were just like, no you’re not gonna eff-ing shoot up our history class! OMG! They nailed his a** to the wall with their AK-47’s!

Continue reading Diary of a Twelve-Year-Old, 2036