Software Update by Anne Cargile

Chris Hamilton:  I got nothing.  Actually I got less than nothing.

…Ginny thought. The computer update was not going according to plan. It had taken what felt like hours waiting for the all of the updates to just to download, and then another interminable length of time watching the little hourglass spin and rotate, spin and rotate. She hated that hourglass.

When the monitor finally whirred and she heard the signature reboot sounds, Ginny looked at her screen, then over to the replicator. The replicator was making some strange flashes. Ginny tapped the escape key, but of course nothing happened. The replicator shouldn’t have been doing anything; she’d just been doing a software update for crying out loud. The replicator was making more noise and she started to get worried.

Just then Joe walked in to the lab, bumping into the tables as usual because he couldn’t get his head out of his VR glasses long enough to look where he was going. Ginny wrinkled her nose as him, knowing he wouldn’t see her expression anyway.

“Hey Joe?” she said, loudly.

“Whah,” he responded.

That was the thing, Ginny thought; he couldn’t even be bothered to pronounce the letter “T” on the end of words. She wondered what would happen if such a sound ever erupted out of his mouth. She had a feeling that would be a sign the world was about to end. As a lab boss, he left a lot to be desired and Ginny was frequently left on her own. She could  have been watching Oprah and eating bonbons and he probably wouldn’t even notice.

“Something’s wrong with this update and I can’t tell what it’s doing. Could you take a look?” she asked, politely. She was after all, only an intern.

“Sure. One sec.”

Joe came over and lifted his VR glasses off his face. He blinked rapidly, and Ginny almost giggled. The glasses had left a deep impression around his eyes, kind of like a snorkel mask. He looked rather silly. Joe leaned over so he could read the text scrolling on her computer screen. His face paled, which was a feat, given how pale he was already.

“What the fuck did you do?” he asked, each syllable pronounced emphatically. “You asked the replicator to make 10 million daffodils?” he screamed.

“No I didn’t, I swear,” Ginny cried out in horror. “I just ran the updates you asked for!”

Joe wasn’t listening as he frantically typed away on the keyboard, with little apparent result. The replicator in the corner started puffing and shaking a little. Since the machine was the size of a walk-in freezer, this was more than a little alarming. Ginny ran over, thinking maybe she could unplug something to make it all stop when the door to the replicator popped open and a flood of yellow daffodils came pouring out.

Ginny never knew daffodils by the thousands could be so heavy as she clawed her way to the top of the pile. Taking a deep breath as she broke through, she looked around for Joe and saw him a few feet away, no longer white, but a pasty yellow from all the pollen.

“Maybe we can donate the flowers to the local hospital,” Ginny said softly.

Joe just glared at her.

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