Must Read Sci-Fi Novellas

Ships

Boomers For The Stars

Recent Posts

Flash Fiction

Idiotic Intelligence

My calling this fiction is, tragically, a bit of a stretch…

“But I’m holding the letter I received today in my hand!  At first I thought, when I started getting these letters, that it was a scam, an attempt to get me to call some bogus number and give my credit card info.  Now that I take the time to look at one of these more carefully, I see it includes all my correct account info and the number it tells me to call is the number I have on file for you.”

“All I can tell you is that I’m looking at your account info and we have no record of your having $3,658.07 worth of our equipment that you need to either pay us for or return to us.”

“Then why do I keep getting these letters threatening to turn my account over to a collection agency and ruin my credit rating?”

“I have no idea.”

“May I please speak to a supervisor?”

“A supervisor would just tell you the same thing I’m telling you.”

“May I please speak to a supervisor anyway?”

“There isn’t one available right now.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“I’ll hold until a supervisor is available.”

“As you wish.”

Clearly the hold music was designed to placate multiple stampedes of infuriated beasts or, alternatively, this company’s perfectly reasonable human customers.  Every 15 minutes or so there would be a brief, silent interruption with a few clicks, during which I assumed the Customer Care Advocate I’d been talking to was checking to see if I’d given up and hung up yet.  After an hour and a half he apparently gave up and transferred me somewhere with different, but equally nauseating, hold music.

“How may I help you resolve any further issues you may have today?”

“Are you a supervisor?”

“Yes.”

“Did the Customer Care Advocate I was speaking with before give you the reason for my call and my account details?”

“Yes.”

“Can you please explain all these letters I’ve been getting?”

“You can ignore them.  They’re generated by AI.”

“AI?”

“Artificial Intelligence.”

“Can you stop them.”

“Unfortunately we have no way to stop them, but I can assure you they’re meaningless.  Like the Customer Care Advocate you were speaking to before, I’ve very carefully and thoroughly checked over your account and can absolutely positively confirm for you that we have no record of your having any equipment of ours whatsoever.”

“Can you add a note to that effect to my account?”

“The Customer Care Advocate you spoke to before already did so, but I would be most happy to add my note as well.  Please be assured that you have absolutely positively nothing to worry about.”

“Then why do I keep getting these letters?  Where is the information that I have $3,658.07 worth of your equipment coming from if you can’t find it anywhere in my account records?  In the twenty years I’ve been your customer, I’ve never had even five cents worth of your equipment, since I’ve always, always only exclusively used my own!”

“Sometimes these things happen.  Please be assured that absolutely positively AI’s information will eventually get corrected and updated without your having to do anything further.  In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience of your receiving these letters but can absolutely positively assure you that no action is ever, ever taken as a result of an AI-generated letter!”

Six months later I was served with an official, absolutely positively valid subpoena to appear in court because of my failure to pay $3,658.07.

Reviews

Two Titillations

Not too long ago…as a former acquisitions editor for a literary agency…I searched for some promising beginnings in books of all genres for a special promotion.  My rejection-vs.-acceptance rate was about 25 rejected for each one I accepted, and I didn’t allow myself to be swayed by the opinions of…
Read More
Guest Posts

Pubescent Putin

My brother Maury…a talented poet and writer whose books are available here and whose far-more-tasteful-than-mine website is maurybarr.com…has said what, it could be argued, no woman could get away with saying without censure: Headline: Antisatellite Nuclear Weapon Oh, your smile! It’s Mr. Crafty! What are you doing? Put your pecker…
Read More
General Rantings

According Ability

We all know Karl Marx’ words:  “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  He (who, in the 19th century, only considered he/him folk worthy of discussion) was talking about the division of a particular society’s assets.  I (who, in the 21st century, only very recently…
Read More
Flash Fiction

Mighty Mouse

“Damn mouse!” I didn’t dare respond, but my wife’s anger worried me.  She was cleaning the fresh mouse shit off the kitchen counter with enough homicidal rage to viciously slaughter someone a lot bigger than that poor mouse. “Whad’ya do this time, Husband Dearest?  Replace my old-fashioned, snap-their-little necks mouse…
Read More
Reviews

Fabulous Foolishness

I highly recommend a 1949 film entitled My Foolish Heart, currently available for free on Amazon Prime.  Despite the title, you can stop rolling your eyes.  The only authorized film adaptation of anything written by J.D. Salinger, it may not be perfect, but his authenticity made the unique cultural and…
Read More
Menu