Mrs. Lansing slapped the back of Edwardâ€™s head. â€œWhat is this?â€ she asked, pointing at his computer pad.
â€œItâ€™s the site I built!â€ whined Edward, rubbing the back of his head.
His teacher tapped her foot and folded her arms tightly to her chest. â€œThat site looks like it was built by a program. Did you use a program to build that site?â€
â€œWell, yeah, but I-â€œ
She slapped the back of his head again. â€œYou donâ€™t listen to me, do you?â€
â€œI listen to you!â€ cried Edward.
â€œNo you donâ€™t. If you listened to me, you wouldnâ€™t build shitty sites using a program. But since you arenâ€™t going to listen to me when I tell you how to build a site, maybe you will listen to me if I tell you a little story. Do you think you could listen to a story Edward?â€
Edward winced, looking at her upraised hand. â€œYeah, yeah, I can listen to a story.â€ he said, shrinking in his chair.
â€œThis is about one of my former students. Her name was Melody. When she was born, the doctors said that she was a retarded autistic that would never walk. Her dad was raising her by himself, and he was always working or fucking his secretary, which was something he called working.
She had to go to school in one of those robotic suits, and all the other kids made fun of her and called her a cyborg and stole her computer and fucked with her robot suit, putting sand in her tank or glue in her metal knees. She had to go to special classes after school with the rest of the retarded autistics, and all the teachers treated them like they were big problems and a hassle and like they chose to be screwed up.
When it came available, she had to get gene therapy to replace the cells in her brain that were screwed up and the muscles in her body that wouldnâ€™t grow. And people say gene therapy is great, and itâ€™s a cure all, and itâ€™s a miracle, and sure it is if youâ€™ve been born with everything working, but even people who need to get a single finger replaced know that it hurts, it hurts worse then hell because you are supposed to be grateful, and if they are messing with your brain you see visions of things, things you donâ€™t get, half made memories and fake shit, dreams like horror movies, and all the while you are changing and in pain.
Thatâ€™s what she went through, and while that was going on she put her nose in her screen and learned to code, and not code like you do playing with your little pictures in those nice little games that help you make those standard little webpageâ€™s that look so pretty, just fucking like everybody elseâ€™s. She learned real code, hard code, the languages that make things go, right down to the root, those words that make things light up and become something wild, something to make people shake, those langagues that bridge the gap between men and the machines that run them, and that makes her a master, and that makes her in control of the machines, which makes her human. More human than you will be, because the machines run you now, and unless you learn what makes them work, unless you work them, you are their slave. You want to be a slave to the machines Edward ?â€
â€œDo you want to be human?â€
â€œThen get to work.â€ Mrs. Lansing slapped him again, for good measure.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
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"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
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Voices of Tomorrow
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