Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Friday, May 31, 2019

Human - A Short Story (2010)

Another little short I did back in 2010. I think I was spending way too much time listening to The Protomen at that time. Which isn't a abad thing, unless you're STILL WAITING FOR ACT III!!!!

I mean, come on! It's been a decade! Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Marin, and the Protomen... I'm looking at all of you. You have fans out here!

What? Oh, right... my short story. Sorry. I just get passionate about things that, you know, I've been waiting on since my 30s. 

This story is about a man and his son, Sam. Sam is having trouble dealing with societal issues and the rise of robotic workers in the world. His friend's dad loses his job to a robot and Sam is angry because his friend is angry. But there's a little more to it than that. 

Here you go! I hope you enjoy. 


     The door slammed unintentionally as Sam entered the flat. He slipped the bag off his shoulder and dropped it to the floor. As he removed his jacket, he felt his father’s presence.

     “Where have you been, Sam?”
     “Clearly.” Joseph shook his head seeing the sign sticking out from his bag. “You were at the rally weren’t you, Sam?”
     “How many times have we talked about this? How many times have we discussed the fact that these events are no place for you! You’re only fifteen!”
     “I just think it is wrong for people to lose their jobs to… to these things!”
     “These so-called things have given us so much. How can you resent them so much?”
     “Well, I think they’re unnatural and evil.”
     “Who has been filling your head with this dribble?” Joe picked up Sam’s sign and looked at the crude robot figure with an X over it.
     “The guy on the radio and the one on the viewer… he says that the robots are going to take our jobs and kill us. He also says they’re evil and that they don’t have a soul!”
     “You’re too young to be thinking about jobs anyway. And it is definitely too early in the day to talk about potential Dooms-days.”
     “But I don’t want some robot taking jobs away from me before I’m old enough to even have one.”

     Joseph’s head and heart sank at these words.

     “Come on, Sam.” Joseph placed his arm around his son’s shoulder and led him to the kitchen. The two sat opposite one another in silence for several minutes before Joseph spoke again.

     “Most humans fear the robots because they just don’t understand them. Nor do they want to” He adjusted his glasses. “At first, they were just mindless, pre-programmed machines doing their repetitive jobs day in and day out. But over time the programming changed… it... well, it evolved. And now these simple programs have the look, feel and presence of more human looking and acting machines. Soon, you might not even be able to tell a machine from a human… And people are afraid. But the truth is, that people would not have the lives they have today if it were not for the machines.”
     “How can you say that?”
     “Did you enjoy your trip to New York last month?”
     “If the machines had not cleaned up New York after the accident, you wouldn’t be able to go there for another hundred years or more.”
     “Well, fine! But what about the other people’s jobs that they stole? At the rally, the people just wanted to work, but they can’t because of the machines. I mean, what about your job?”
     “Most jobs held by the machines are jobs normal men and women won’t do… or can’t do. As for my job… I didn’t lose it to a machine. I left on my own accord.”
     “Mr. Mason lost his job to the machines.”
     “Dave Mason worked in the mines, son. His job was dangerous and life threatening. And since the machines don’t require pay… the laid-off minors still get their paychecks. They’re mostly upset because now they have to spend time with their families.” He smirked and walked to the fridge. He got out some milk and a plate of cookies. “Most of these men loved the physical labor of their jobs…” he offered his son a cookie. “They loved working and coming home tired and fulfilled… it made them feel ‘worthwhile’. And now that they aren’t, many of them are having trouble coping with the idea of something from nothing.”
     “But what about the people who says machines are evil.”
     “You’re too concerned with good and evil. The machines can’t be good or evil… they just ‘are’. For the time being anyway.” He finished his milk. “The Army’s bots fight. The minor’s bots mine… it is their roll in the new world. And you’re too smart to be taking one of these jobs anyway.”
     “As for the notion of soulless automatons sent to destroy us… well, that’s just silly.”
     “I just don’t like them, that’s all.”
     “And that’s too bad…”
     “Come with me, Sam.”

     Joseph led Sam to the basement door. And unlocked it. As the door creaked open Sam’s eyes widened. He had never been allowed into his father’s lab. Joseph motioned for Sam to enter. Joe followed his son down the stairs into the dimly lit room.

     “What do you do down here, dad?”
     “I strive to make life better for us, son.”
     “But how?”

     Joseph flicked the lit switch on the wall and the room illuminated slowly. Sam’s anxious smile slowly faded from his face as the light revealed a room much larger than he’d anticipated. The walls were covered with schematics and diagrams of machines.

     “But, dad… You design the machines? You take people’s jobs?” His voice trembled as he walked the length of the room, looking at the various parts, wires and machinery lining the room.
     “Oh, no, son. I stopped that years ago.”
     “Then what do you make now…” Sam’s voice failed him as he rounded a rather large machine blocking his view. There, standing before him were three heads – each of them, an exact replica of his own face. “Wh.. what is thi…………..”

     Sam’s voice slowed and stopped as his body slumped over at the waste. Standing behind him was Joseph with a look of sadness in his eyes.

     “These, my boy, were my first three failed attempts… and you make number four.” He turned and walked back to the stairs. As he reached for the light switch he shook his head and looked back at the lifeless human-figure slumped in the corner. “A little too human…”

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