ROW80-3 check in 7/29 - down a rat hole
ROW80-3 check in 8/01 - my brain hurts

Call me Maybe

New story for Flash Fiction Friday

Grant Miller is the figurehead in charge of Grant Miller Media, a blog that offers everything from Practical Haikus to skewering satire and potty humor. I stumbled upon his blog many years ago and have been enchanted by his unique brand of wit ever since. He’s not the traditional type of guest moderator for this community, but I believe that he might kick a part of your imagination that you didn’t realize you had.

    When I asked him to moderate, he ran. He then came back with this challenge for you:

Prompt: Write a story that begins with this sentence: Call me Maybe.
Word Limit: 1,000 words
Deadline:  Wednesday, August 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Submission Instructions: Please post the name of your story and a link to it in the comments of this post.

I took it as punctuated, but only did a short piece, 417 words. I'm mainly focused now on an online course on Fantasy and Sci-fi, but wanted to get something in here.

Call me Maybe. 

"Call me Maybe."

"It's not that bad dear," he said, "we'll work it out." He'd tried convince her not to be so negative, but in their hearts they both knew she was right. 

The technology had still been new a few years ago, when they'd decided to do an imprint. They could only afford one session, and knew the risks in waiting. The stability of the copies was improving monthly, but Emmie's health was fading fast too - she might just not wake up one morning. 

So they'd done the imprint and run a quick online session. She was amazed at being able to talk to herself, but after they closed the link she'd said she didn't think it was going to work. She'd seen the difference in her online self, and the little pauses and gaps already. It didn't feel right to her, she wanted him to start saving and try again in a year. Her medications were so expensive that he couldn't afford both options, and they seemed to be helping. A week later she'd gone into remission, staying clean in all her tests for almost two years. Sure, there'd been some ups and downs but she'd been surprisingly healthy. Until a month ago, and then within a week she was gone. 

At first they'd brought her online every day, and were amazed at how lifelike she was, talking and joking with them all. True, those earlier glitches were still there – the new technology did a great job of interpolating but it could only do so much with the data it had.  Her memories did stop with the copy made two years ago, but he was OK with that. They'd been married 60 years so that was just a blip. But the grandkids - six and eight - didn't understand wht she didn't remember more. As for his son, he was having trouble adjusting, it really bothered him to see his mother still there, yet gone.  

They'd decided to cut back on the visits to just once a week for now. Just as well, because it seemed every time she came back online there were more little glitches - pauses in her speech, a flickering image, new memory gaps. Every time he brought her back he worried - they both worried - as to how stable she would be. Those gaps seemed to be working their way back in time too, like some kind of online Alzeimhers. 

Sunday nights were grandma night. The family would all come over for a fancy dinner, then they'd gather in front of the big home entertainment system and he'd connect online. And cross his fingers.

Everyone was settled in, grandkids on either side of him, his son cleaning up in the kitchen but watching through the doorway.

His grandson looked up at him. "Will gramma be OK tonight?"

"Maybe," he said.

 


 

 

Comments

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Eden

As always, I loved this. Imprinting an AI with a human's mind... It's interesting to think of how much this is becoming less and less "science fiction" and more "we're working on it". Gives a whole new meaning to computer virus.

Flannery Jenny

Interpolated...what a wonderful word! I enjoyed this and agree with Eden. It doesn't seem so fictional a prospect to do this.

Glenn Ricafrente

Next time you write something like this, you might want to submit it to http://365tomorrows.com/.

Stephanie Buosi

Loved the concept. I have to admit that using technology like this frightens me. Its unnatural. But the reasons behind using the imprint are so human. Great story!

Ravens

Glad you liked it. The effect on kids would be interesting too. Assuming there was NO glitches, would it be better to keep their mother there every Sunday night, or let them grieve, keep their own memories, and move on.

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