Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/06/13

At work, everyone thinks I’m great. I’m the talented one. The one that fixes all the problems. It’s what Tommy said when they brought in the new system. “I could play around with it for 3 days, and get nowhere, and have no idea what was wrong, or how to get it to work. Or, I can short-circuit the whole process, be smart, and call Freddy for help right now.”

Yep. That sums up work. If it’s a mystery, call Freddy. Call me. And I’ll come figure it out. In a matter of minutes. The guy from the research lab said that too, just in a different way, “How did you find that problem in half an hour while we were a lunch, in something you’ve never seen before?”

It’s what I do. And there’s oceans about what I do that you don’t know. No one knows. Except my wife. And for some reason, she hasn’t left me. I’ll never figure out why, ‘cause I’m a frickin’ disaster. But she sticks around. Some things are best left as mysteries, aren’t they.

See. I can do magic at work, ‘cause I crash and burn at home. All the time. The headset they use, the augmented reality one that they couldn’t get working for three weeks, before they said, “Let’s see what Freddy can do to help.” Yeah. That afternoon, the headset was working normally, and everyone was going, “Ooo,” and having a blast trying to follow instructions written in thin air next to circuits they were trying to fix.

Yes, I fixed things. But only because I spent over a year figuring out how those damn headsets work. Got an entire system at home that I use just for that. Hook up the headset, and see what I can do. Had to do clean reloads of the operating system every other day for a month before I got anywhere. Have three of the damn headsets, well, three cheap copies of them, sitting on my desk at home, where I’ve torn them apart to figure them out. Traced the circuits, monitored the timing between components. Have you ever spent months tracking down where electrons move in something? And why they move where they do? Months staring at sheets of hexadecimal numbers, searching for patterns in them that tell you when events happen, how the headset responds to those events, and how it’s all translated into pixels displayed on a plastic lens in front of a human’s eyeball?

Before you can figure it out, you have to crash and burn, and make every frickin’ mistake there is to make. Hell, people forget that. They get lazy. They learn to walk by crawling, then trying to stand up. And they fall over 80 zillion times, and bang their heads on the floor, or the table, or the chair. They land so hard on their butts it bruises them. But, they keep getting back up, and trying to walk again. Until they figure it out. Until they learn to balance themselves. Learn to maintain their balance on one foot at a time. Learn to move that balance point around, and keep their body parts positioned to maintain that balance.

But, you get them past learning to walk, and they stop learning. ‘Cause. Making mistakes sucks.

Damn, I hate lazy people. Lazy, scared people. Want to scream at them, “If you aren’t making mistakes, if you aren’t falling face first onto the floor, and crying about a broken nose. If you aren’t bruising your ass where you landed on it, ‘cause you did something stupid trying to get better. Then you might as well be dead!’”

Same people will take out a gun, and spend $50 an hour to shoot at little bits of paper hung from a chord that’s 50 feet away from them. And will keep shooting at it, spending money on box after box of bullets, until they learn how to hit the target every time. And then, they’ll keep shooting at the damn sheet of paper so they keep in practice.

But, hand them a remote control to the TV and they go totally stupid. “Where’s the frickin’ ON button on this crazy thing!” ‘Cause. They don’t want to learn anything new. They don’t want to make the mistakes needed to learn anything new. “I just spent $3000 on this damn TV, I ain’t reading no users guide!”

Hell, they don’t even look at the pictures that show you how to do things step-by-step. ‘Cause it hurts their brain cells to figure out the pictures.

Yeah, my desk is a wreck. Yeah, I have to keep multiple backup copies of everything I save on my computers. Yeah, I have to slick my computers over and over again. If I don’t have to slick my computer endlessly, I’m not trying! I’m not learning! I’m not making progress!

And because I do, the idiots at work can say, “Let’s just call Freddy. He knows.”

I hate humans. So fucking lazy. And so afraid to try anything. So they don’t try. And they end up stupid. And helpless.

Oh, look. Smoke. From the headset attached to the computer. I’ve let the smoke out of it again. Another headset cooked. The wife’s gonna be pissed. Have to see what parts I can scavenge from it, and if I can get one headset working from the parts of the others. Sounds like a challenge to me. Always wanted to know how that works.

It’s just another part of the learning process. Right? I don’t screw things up, I’m not learning anything, am I.

931 words (Yes, WAY over the 750 word limit. So what.)
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 59 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. I needed time to fix things inside me. Now, I’m starting to wander back to writing. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

 

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/05/02

The two of the sit by the the patio door every day. They sit there from sunrise to sunset, only taking breaks to eat and other things they have to do. I know why they sit there. That’s the door she left through. When they carried her body away.

She died in her sleep one night. It’s been three years now. When they came and got her, they took her out through that door. Kitty and Pooch. That’s what she called them. They sat by that door, and watch as their mamma left. Now. They sit by that door every day. Waiting for her to come home.

I can’t blame them. Sometimes, I wish there was enough left of me to join them. To sit by that door, and wait, like they do. But, when she left, everything I was went with her. Now, Kitty and Pooch wait for her to come back, and I stare mindlessly at my computer screen, watching anything I can stand to watch, playing video games, and making routine visits to social media sites.

I’m killing time. Empty time. Time I have no use for. I used to go to church every Sunday, because she wanted to, and it meant I got to spend some time with her. We went to dinner several times a week, and I would have gone to dinner anywhere she wanted, because. She was there, and I could spend time with her. Long walks in the national parks. Long walks on the beach, or in the mountains.

Until the day she got sick. It was quick, at least. 8 months. She didn’t have to suffer through years of slow decay, watching her memories fade away, or taking endless rounds of toxic chemicals to fight it off. Just 8 months. That’s all. We found out when she fell while we were walking. She fell. And she couldn’t get up. I had to call for help. Was quite the scene, on the sand, with the ocean right there. She kept telling me at least it happened in a good place, so she didn’t mind waiting for the help to arrive.

I don’t want to remember what it was. Some Latin words used to name it, like they name everything. I’ve done everything I can to forget the name. To forget what took her from me. What left me here. Alone.

Kitty and Pooch are happy. They eat. They play. I let them out in the yard and they do their thing. And when they’re ready, I let them back in. They sleep on opposite sides of me every night. Kitty on the left. Pooch on the right. Kitty snores. Maybe the best thing I’ve ever heard in life. And Pooch has dreams. He talks in his sleep. “Yam, wow, wow, woo, woo, uff, uff.” I sometimes wonder what he’s talking about, and who he’s talking too. If pooch has a bad night, with bad dreams, he starts kicking, and snapping. Kitty gets up, every time, climbs over me, and plunks down on Pooch. Shuts him up, and calms him down. She takes care of him.

Like their mamma took care of me.

They sit there. Every day. Waiting. I don’t have the heart to tell them she’s never coming back. I think they know anyway. But they sit there every day. Watching the world outside the house. Rain or shine. I even moved the food dishes next to the door, so they can eat, and still watch.

And I sit here. Wishing I could kill my time. Wishing my time would finally run out.

It never does.

I think I’ll play another video game now. That should kill a couple of hours.

Kitty and Pooch will still be there, by that door, watching and waiting, for her to come home.

636 words
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 51 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. I fought writing this for 3 weeks. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

#ThursThreads Week 311 : I Think We Pushed To Far

It was 0245 hours when I reached the apartment of Sue and Linda. It was in flames, of course. And the police, and sheriff were there, making sure no one tried to stop it from burning. I had the armor scan the building. The remains of two humans. Sue and Linda.

After reloading every clip for my guns, I started my response. The sheriff was standing next to three police officers, talking about what a shame it was, all the violence in town, and what needed to be done to stop it.

I started with the police who were keeping everyone a safe distance away. I didn’t shoot to kill, only to wound, and disable. It took a few seconds before anyone realized what was happening, then everyone went stupid. People watching the fire started running in all directions. The police kept getting wounded, and unable to do anything.

After I’d dealt with crowd control, I moved to the police cars. Shot every one of them. High velocity, armor piercing rounds. Took out engine blocks everywhere. I set fire to the sheriff’s car.

The sheriff hid behind a tree, the police with him kept their guns drawn, and ready to shoot anyone. One of them glared at the sheriff. “I think we pushed to far! Now, they’re pushing back.”

Once more, I displayed the hologram of Michelle’s body, and right beside it, Officer Morgan, still sitting at her desk as she informed someone, “A transgender victim? Nothing has been done.”

249 Words
@mysoulstears


The next part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 311 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.

#ThursThreads Week 310 : It Can’t Be Too Late

Case Street Fords had been a good car dealership. Small, but with a good set of cars on the lot, mostly SUVs and trucks. The service center was behind the sales building. One automated garage door, and room inside for six vehicles at a time.

The service center was on fire. The fire department hadn’t responded. A F-350 was pulling a dead body back and forth on the street next to the dealership. Men with guns cheered, “We got him! We finally got rid of him!”

The body had been Simon. The best mechanic in town. Everyone knew that. Simon had been shot in the leg, so he couldn’t escape. Then, beaten. Then, tied to the truck that was dragging him around.

Simon’s mate, Doug, was running down the street, heading toward the chaos, when I stopped him. “They’ll kill you.”

He screamed, he struggled, “Let me go! I’ve got to save Simon. It can’t be too late.” Doug collapsed to his knees on the asphalt. “It can’t be too late.”

“Stay here, Doug. Stay safe.”

The truck driver was the first person I shot. I kept shooting until none of the men with guns were left standing. Doug ran to Simon’s remains.

“I’m sorry, Doug. I was too late.”

There was an apartment complex I needed to visit. I hoped I wasn’t too late. If I was, well. “I am the violence. And the violence will respond. Will it ever.”

241 Words
@mysoulstears


The next part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 310 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.

#ThursThreads Week 309 : Answer Me, Damn It

I stopped at Shelly’s Diner, to find her inside, with her two daughters, hiding behind the counter. Shelly had called the police. The police hadn’t come. Angry men were outside, with their guns, getting angrier.

All it took was one of them, shooting out a window, and they all went nuts. Guns shooting everywhere. And one gun shooting back. One that didn’t miss. “Because, guns are clearly the answer to your problems.”

I left bodies all over the road outside the diner. My armor scanned the diner, to verify Shelly and her daughters were safe.

Outside was pure chaos. People were screaming, and running toward the bodies in the road. “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Police sirens suddenly started going off. Police cars arrived, and officers hopped out, guns drawn. There was no one for them to find. No bad guy for them to capture.

A woman across the road screamed, “We know you’re there! Somewhere! Why are you doing this! Why are you killing everyone! Answer me, damn it!”

Everyone stopped, and it became silent, when I displayed a hologram of Michelle’s brutalized body in the street. Next to it, another hologram, of Officer S. Morgan, sitting at her desk as she said, “A transgender victim? Nothing has been done yet.”

And everyone heard a voice whisper, “I am the violence. Now, something has been done.”

I moved on. There was a car dealership I needed to visit.

240 Words
@mysoulstears


The next part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 309 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.

#ThursThreads Week 308 : I Need You To Take A Deep Breath

Julie, Samantha’s neighbor, was hiding under the bed in her room when the white men with guns broke the front door to the house, and charged in. She heard them screaming, “We’re gonna kill everyone! We’ll put a stop to all this crazy shit that’s happened since that thing got what it deserved!” She heard them screaming about finding the little bitch girl who was friends with that thing down the road.

Julie tried not to cry. The armor told me she was stressed. I wondered how her parents were doing, if they were OK. I knew, all I had to do was wait.

I heard the angry men come storming up the stairs. I heard their guns going off all over the downstairs. I waited, until the door to Julie’s room slammed open, and two fat, balding, white men stood there, with AR-15’s pointed into the room. “She’s in here! Under the bed!”

One took a step forward. It was his last step. A 24 inch long knife blade ran through him, and stuck out his back. His buddy stood there in shock, but not long, before he joined the first one.

“Julie. I know you can hear me. I need you to take a deep breath. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath.” With that, I stepped into the hall.

Not one of the white men with guns walked out of Julie’s home.

It was time to protect others. And kill who I had to.

247 Words
@mysoulstears


The next part of the ongoing Armor 17 story. It’s Week 308 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who turn out weekly.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/03/18

Odin carefully fluffed the cotton, it was work to get it looking right. It had to have the right density in the middle, to be opaque, but still be thin enough around the edges to let light through. Making copies of clouds out of cotton was one of the things he found most frustrating about the simulation. But, the scene needed clouds, so, he futzed around with the cotton until he got it right. He positioned his cotton cloud on the loading dock, and waited for the imager’s two arms to lift it, and place it against the screen. It took a couple of minutes, but the image was copied into the scene, and the cotton cloud was returned to the loading dock.

His mother, Freya, came into the lab to check on him, “How is the simulation going, young one?”

“And hello to you also, Mother.”

Freya’s laugh was always like music to his ears, “Oh, my son. Always so proper.” He thought she had the prettiest smile in the world. “Hello, Odin, son. How is the simulation going today?”

Odin glanced at his mother, then looked back to the screen, “Frustrating, as always.”

“Is it helping you understand reality?”

“Very much so. I’ve learned how clouds form from evaporated water that floats in the sky. How the water in those clouds behaves. When it produces what kind of clouds. When it rains. I’ve learned it affects the motion of the air. It also absorbs, and reflects heat and starlight.”

He knew his mother was proud of him by her smile. “Excellent, my son. Your father would be proud.”

Odin leaned back in his chair. “Mother. I have some questions.”

“Yes?”

“About the simulation itself.”

Freya stood next to her son, and nodded, “Then ask. And we can see what we can learn.”

“It’s about the life forms in the simulation.” Odin pointed at several of what he called humans, as they walked into the screen from the left. “I know they become sentient, able to think. This is how we learn to think, and to understand that thinking is. But.” He paused, and scratched his chin, “Does their simulated intelligence reach a point they become self aware?”

“Self aware?”

“Mother, do they become aware they are not real? Do they learn, and understand, they are only simulations? Holograms, in a virtual reality?”

Freya’s laughter always brought a smile to Odin’s world, and lightened any dark mood he had. “Oh, yes. They do indeed become aware.”

“What happens when they do?”

“That is part of what you must experience. That is part of what you must learn.” She studied him a moment, and continued, “You will not notice at first, because it will be like how you think. Only one will understand. And will try to explain. Then, with time, as the simulation proceeds…”

Odin continued for her, “Then others will learn from that one. And the knowledge will spread.”

Odin looked at the scene from his virtual world, portrayed on the screen. “Mother. I suspect I should enjoy the simulation while I can.” He scrolled the screen from one scene to another. “I suspect the understanding they are not real will destroy them.”

Freya nodded. “Indeed, my son. Indeed. I find your suspicion is well thought out.” She headed toward the exit from the lab. “Please, let me know how the simulation progresses. And I will be back when it is time for you to take a lunch break.”

Odin resumed watching the scenery of his simulation. “A 3D Holographic Universe”, was the name of the science project. He wondered how the simulations of Jupiter, and Zeus were going. If they were producing similar results.

“Sometimes, the ways we learn are mysterious indeed. Why we need to simulate an entire universe to understand our own is beyond me. But… I suppose, with time, I’ll understand why we do such things.”

He checked on the places his simulated life forms had christened “Britain” and “France”, and shook his head. “Oh. Look. They’ve gone to war with each other again. This religion thing they developed is really nasty, isn’t it?” He scribbled more notes in his observation log. “They can’t even agree on how to worship a single, imaginary, omnipotent being. They have to kill each other to prove who is right.”

Simulations were indeed difficult. But Odin could see, as he looked over his notes, there was much to be learned about emotions, and environments, and how those affected the behavior of himself, and of those around him.

“It will be interesting indeed, to see what happens next in my little universe.”

Odin watched, and waited, curious to see what he could learn, and to see what his various life forms did next.

794 Words
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 46 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.