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Science Fiction Speculative Funny

“My WORD! What is that?”


“I don't know, it looks dirty.”


“Are you going to take it?”


“There is a.....what did they call those? Is it a switch?”


“Let me access my database.” Closing his eyes, he stopped for a moment, “The bio-network says you can touch it and it will revive itself.”


They watched in wonder as she squeezed the raised button on the side of the device and put her face closer to the screen. Images swirled in a colorful tornado, settling on a picture of a family in ancient garments clutching a smiling infant.


“O...M...G...is that a baby?!?! I think I'm going to barf!”


He laughed, turning the screen away from her. “I hit the back button. Yes, that was the disgusting, antiquated human cluster called a family. I think we should keep this thing. Most of them were destroyed, yet the right models are worth a ton of credits.”


“Have you seen mind flows of what those disgusting babies do to the Fem Body? That is why the damn things were outlawed. No human person should have to shit out a watermelon for the sake of our species.”


“Ha! Here is a video of the live birth, look Cis! Look!”


“Stop! I am going to vomit, you sick Fuck! Stick that device in your crack! You just think it is funny because I'm the one with a VaJayJay.”


“I like your JayJay Cis!”


“My eggs have already been harvested, out of an abundance of caution. Why don't you keep your Raygun in the holster for a few weeks, funny man!”


“C'mon! That ain't fair!”


“Everything between the sheets is fair.”


“When did we get sheets?”


“You know what I mean. That was a euphemism.”


“That is as crude as saying 'boot knockin', nobody has worn boots in a few hundred years.”


“Back when they had CELL PHONES!”


“Is that what this disgusting germ factory is?”


“YES! I can't believe I found one in the recycling. I think it's an iPhone, 13 maybe. I searched my neural link with an image of it. Before we could record with our bio-lenses, a person had to hit a button on the screen of this device and watch the screen.”


“Watch? Like with your actual eyeballs?”


“Yes, there was a distance between what our eyeballs saw and what our brain perceived. Our brains had to process the images. It was all very primitive.”


“What repulsive misanthropes relied on an actual device to interpret the world?”


“Billions! It was a ubiquitous way to interact with the world.”


“How many chromosomes are we from roaches?”


“I'm going to mind flow some history on how they used these things, I will neuro-message you an uplink when I find a good one.”


The couple watched in horror as the images unfolded in their minds. Humans, if you could call them that, by the thousands appeared to be intimate with the devices. They rubbed their ears with it, touched it constantly with their fingertips, crammed it in pockets. The most disturbing images showed herds of humans, walking like packs of zombies staring at the thing, just inches from their faces.


“Are you sure these aren't simbots? How could someone fall for a block of microprocessors?”


“No, I verified it, they are prehistoric homo sapiens, their DNA is 99% the same as ours.”


“It can't be possible. How long ago was this?”


“Just a few hundred years, Cis.”


“I'm going to have to spend a few hours in the immersion tank, just get rid of the ICK! Do you have to keep it? Just, just please put it in the sanitizer before you bring it into our room.”


Back in the bleached white studio apartment, a noodling curiosity gnawed at Cis. She tried to imagine what made these things so addictive. Picking it up she swiped at the screen, prodding and digging into its binary guts with her bio-lenses turned on to feed her brain ancillary information about what was on the screen. It seemed to tell a story, the disgusting, filthy baby transformed slowly into a toddler. As the pics progressed it showed these two beings called parents, holding it and hugging it, smiling and laughing like crazy people. One bizarre image featured the little critter with a pointy cone-shaped hat, blowing on a giant colorful dessert that was on fire. Her bio-network called it a birthday.


“How long has giving birth been outlawed?” Cis blurted it out.


He looked over with screwed-up eyebrows, “I don't know. A hundred years maybe. Once cloning was perfected, women lobbied for a law to stop forcing them into matriarchal servitude. After seeing those images, I can see why.”


“Who was the last female to give birth?”


“It was some insane renegade vagrant. I think they shot her into outer space so she wouldn't contaminate the rest of the planet.”


Cis continued tapping at the screen. There were dozens of glowing icons, like little photos that had names like, Snap, Facebook, and Twitter. When she touched them they messaged back that there was no network. One icon had pictures of different colored blocks. Pressing it, the screen appeared to explode, and within seconds chains of these blocks in different colors and configurations were falling to the bottom of the screen. Touching the screen caused them to rotate around, and if they formed a complete line, they poofed and disappeared. She stared and poked at the device for several minutes that stretched into an hour, her eyes were now watering, yet she couldn't look away.


“YES!”


He jumped and looked over at Cis. She pumped her fist in the air.


“I just got something called a high score!”


“I think you need to put that thing down.” The emotional outburst caught him off guard. He regretted bringing the thing home, “What in Hades hat are you doing?”


“It's called a game. Humans used to do this for fun.”


Cis kept putting it down and then picking it back up again. He decided he would hide the thing tonight and try to get rid of it tomorrow. She let out a peel of laughter.


“What is it this time?”


“I'm watching something called a video, these humans are interacting with each other. It is so bizarre, it's funny.”


He felt a surge of emotion, something he had been trained to ignore. The bio-network called the feeling jealousy. Knowing anything that caused emotions was frowned upon as degrading, he rushed over, grabbed the device, and tossed it into the bubbling water of the immersion tank.


“Hey! Why did you do that?” Cis folded her arms and narrowed her eyes.


“You know the rules. It caused feelings. Feelings are ancient, regressive, and uncivilized.”


Her mouth curled into a pouty frown as she slid over to the tank, fishing the device out and pressing the button while staring him down.


“What do you know. It's waterproof!” She beamed a smile, turning the screen to him, the giant baby face on the home screen smiling at him with a fist in its mouth.


His emotions were morphing, evolving into a seething anger. He drew in a ragged breath, “Cis, just put the thing down.”


“I don't want to. It's not illegal to have these things. I kind of like it. I want to keep it.”


“Don't make me angry Cis. If we get rid of it. We can pretend none of this happened.”


“I think I love it.”


The four-letter word thudded into him like a speeding bullet, she had unleashed a primordial spell. Witchcraft was the lowest of lows, frowned upon like all religions. His brain ricocheted in different directions. Emotions were the one thing the bio-network could do nothing about. Surgeons tinkered with that part of the brain, but the instability it caused prevented them from using implants.


The healthcare system used behavior therapy from an early age to turn emotions off. Yet they surged through him like the blood rushing to his face. Violence was not tolerated. Acts of violence were met with swift termination, a public execution.


“What if I share it with you? 50/50, an even split.”


He thought for a moment, slowed his breathing, picturing himself playing games on the device and laughing with Cis as they tried to best each other.


“O.K. But I'm not going to fall in love with the thing.”


An hour later he feverishly tapped the screen as colored blocks fell faster and faster. His eyes watered, tears dripping onto the screen, but he couldn't look away, he was hooked.

February 08, 2024 00:45

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9 comments

Alexis Araneta
07:34 Feb 12, 2024

Great job on this, Kevin. I especially like the tone you used in the dialogue. I remember this meme I've seen where the premise was, basically, that older generations shouldn't look down on those younger than them's love of technology because every age group was obsessed with a gizmo (or any trend) of their time. I guess that is precisely what your main characters were discovering here. Very creative!

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Kevin Marlow
17:53 Feb 12, 2024

Thank you. You are right. There was a time when we were afraid of books and toothbrushes.

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Mary Bendickson
02:36 Feb 08, 2024

It's a Tetris type of thing. Very addicting. Good premise. Thanks for liking my 'Another Brick in the Wall '.

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Kevin Marlow
02:42 Feb 08, 2024

I imagine it would still be addictive years from now, like solitaire...

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Carol Banks
16:11 May 09, 2024

Bring that mickey to the mouse... call that missus danger.... I like when he treats me nice.. buys me chocs and flowers. Then he sends me to resorts... call that human nature ;) Are you from England? Britainny?

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Kevin Marlow
18:07 May 09, 2024

No, I am from the Midwest, USA. I can count some relatives from over that way.

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Helen A Smith
07:01 Feb 09, 2024

Great story. Easy to read and believable, along with sharp dialogue. I liked the idea of the characters here looking back and becoming just as hooked on technology that we have now when they are supposed to have outgrown such things in their supposedly perfect and non-messy world. They were unable to “deal” with emotions. However, some aspects of their seemingly pain-free lives may have been appealing, but not many.

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Kevin Marlow
07:03 Feb 10, 2024

Thanks, sharp dialogue is better than dull, I'm working on that...

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Helen A Smith
07:35 Feb 10, 2024

Dialogue is hard, but it worked well with the style and pacing.

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