Author : Bradley Hughes

“Fucking tests.”

I turned to look at the speaker sitting beside me at the bar. I noticed she had a small doll on the bar along with her drink, one of those wooden posable dolls made of jointed oval sections. I’ve always assumed they were for practicing drawing figures. This one had long blond hair, as long as it was tall. She re-posed it and it fell over.

“Uhuh,” I turned back to my own drink, but she continued.

“My husband left me, I lost my job, I can’t see the kids. Fucking tests.” She kept trying to pose the doll so that it would stand up. It kept falling over.

I tried saying nothing.

She pulled on my arm and bourbon fumes washed over me,“I bought one of those study at home courses to prepare, you know. Cost me two thousand dollars. And I worked at it too. I know lots of people say they’re going to study, but they put it off until the last minute. Not me, I studied and studied, six fucking months and I worked at it every waking minute.”

I tried changing tactics, maybe a little encouragement would bring her to the end of her evening a bit quicker, “Joe, can we get two more of whatever she’s drinking.”

She was long past noticing details like who bought the round. She drained her glass, and continued without thanking me.

“You know it just ain’t fair. What have they got that I haven’t got?”

She thought about that for a minute, “’Course, if I knew that, I would have passed the test, wouldn’t I?”

She thought about that too, for a while.

“I hear they’re talking about taking away our driver’s licenses next.”

She slumped forward on the bar.

“Fucking tests, fucking Turing.”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows