Bewildering Stories

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Flash, Bam, Boom - a Flash Anthology

by Lou Antonelli

Overheard in an Alley

“You got the shit, man?”
“The real deal. You got a d-card?”
“Right here. Let me see your stuff.”
“Take it easy man. I've got it wrapped up tight. Goddamn, you get anything since the ban?”
“It's freakin' hard, you know. My block is full of crapped out boomers smoking weed.”
“Yeah, here we go. Look at this.”
“Oh, wow, man!”
“Yep, the real deal. Rough cut Virginia Dark Cavendish.”
“Oh, that tastes good. I haven't had any tobacco in six months.”


“You live in the stockade full-time, don't you?”
“Sure do.”
“I guess you don't have a family.”
“Wifey killed all the kids one day before I got home from work. I was able to fend her off. This was right when it all kicked in.”
“I guess it's simpler. I mean not having to go back home each time.”
“Yeah, a few of us have to look after the stockade place between attacks. I helped build this one.”
“Think they'll attack again today.”
“Hmm... Not likely. Trying to ram the gate with the old fire engine was a neat trick, but it's probably run out of fuel by now. None of them will pump gas.”
“Yeah, I guess that true. They're all in sync now, aren't they?”
“Pretty much so, from what anyone can tell. Anyone of them who's not is going to go along, anyhow.”
“How come this keeps going on. The pills ran out a couple of years ago.”
“Yeah, well the idiots at the FDA didn't realize it made permanent changes in their hormones and cycles and all that shit.”
“I have a couple of daughters. I'm scared of what would happen if we had a son.”
“Well, you should be. They kill boys when they start.”
“Thank God I can tell when my wife starts.”
“Guys that can't, don't last very long. Certainly not long enough to make it to a stockade.”
“I sure hope this eventually wears off.”
“You and me both.”
“You don't think there's any chance of this being passed down to girls who haven't hit puberty, do you?”
“I sure hope not, but we'll have to wait another few years to see.”
“I've lost a dozen of my best friends since this began. It's horrible.”
“Yeah, well I hope all the guys at the FDA get it, wherever they are. What a brilliant idea, approving a pill so that women have a period only once a quarter.”
“Yep, you would have though that if once a month was bad, every quarter would four times as bad.”


“I'm sorry. Who would have thought of that?”
“For Christ's sake, you obviously didn't ask enough questions.”
“Hey, we've been hiring fast and furious, with the chip breakthrough and all. How was I supposed to know what he thought AI stood for?”
“Didn't the fact he was a Texas A&M grad send up a red flag?”
“No, A&M has an excellent school of computer science.”
“Did you bother to read which school his degree was from?”
“OK. I'm sorry again. I didn't. But who would think a grad with his background would apply here. I just thought his was an ordinary application like so many others.”
“Yeah, well you forgot we have a genetics division, and some ag school grads with degrees in bio-sciences work there.. But he didn't know that hiring for that division isn't done here. I just can't believe you didn't talk with him enough to figure this out. We're the laughing stock of Houston. And you're fired.”
“What, you're firing me and he gets to stay?”
“You didn't do your job. You screwed up. It's your fault you didn't make it clear what you were talking about. Don't let the screen door hit you.”
“He doesn't know anything about artificial intelligence. You said that yourself.”
“Yeah, but while we get him up to speed for transfer to the genetics division, he's doing wonders for morale. He's a real Aggie. If you had bothered, you would have noticed his degree was in Agricultural Sciences Reproductive Biology.”
“Alright, I'm the hell out of here, and I hope I never hear of Artificial Insemination again!”

Defragging the E Drive

“We're about ready to open the neural port.”
“Do you think anybody's in there?”
“We don't know until we open up. Everything's been downloaded, scanned, defragged and debugged. Here goes nothing.”
“Hello. Hello. Can you understand me?”
“Wo sind Ich? Why ich so kalt bin? Ich kann nicht nichts sehen alles.”
“Oh, great, there's always something! I forgot German was his first language!.”
“Don't flip out, I can speak German. ‘Herr Professor, seien nicht alarmiert Sie.’”
“Bin Ich Tot?”
“Umm, Ja, aber wir hatten Ihr Gehirn konserviert und wir haben die Informationen eingetragen, die es in einen Computer enthielt.”
“So bin ich ein Computerprogramm jetzt?”
“Ja. Konnen Sie English denken?”
“Well, yes. If you prefer. How long has it been since I died?”
“Over 100 years. Your brain was preserved after your death. It's only been recently we've had the technology to restore it and then access it.”
“I have a question.”
“Yes, Herr Professor.”
“Did the United States and the Soviet Union ever go to war?”
“No, they never did. Allah be praised.”

Splice of Life

“Honey, we're going to be late for the show.”
“I'm changing as fast as I can.”
“Dear, these tickets to the Rolling Stones’ Centennial Concert cost me a fortune.”
He paced around the module. “This is not the first time you've done this.” He called out. “You never leave yourself enough time to change.”
A voice called out. “OK, I'm ready. Guess what I'm going as?”
“We don't have time to play games! Couldn't you just go as a human?”
“How do you know I'm not human?”
“Because if you were, you would have said, ‘Guess who?’”
“Guess Who? I thought you said this was a Rolling Stones concert?”

Copyright © 2004 by Lou Antonelli

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