Purby Stolafson took a deep breath and regarded the man and woman across his desk. He recognized the womanâ€”with her luxurious blond hair, hourglass figure and delicate features, she was unmistakably one of his. He still didnâ€™t know what to make of the man, other than he wanted him out of his office.
â€œIâ€™m sorry,â€ Purby said, reshuffling the papers on his desk. â€œWhat was the problem with her?â€
â€œHer breathing. She breathes. She doesnâ€™t stop.â€
â€œMost of our customers appreciate the breathing.â€
Purby sagged a bit in his chair. He knew where this was going. â€œIs that all? Just the breathing?â€
â€œNo! Itâ€™s not just the breathing! Itâ€™s everything! I can feel her pulse. I can hear her stomach gurgling. She eats! Itâ€™s disgusting!â€
Purby sighed. He looked at the woman, at her blank, forward stare. â€œSo, if Iâ€™m understanding you correctly, your problem with the X-3â€”you are an X-3, right?â€ She nodded. â€œYour problem with the X-3 model is that sheâ€™s too life-like.â€
â€œExactly! If I want a woman, I can go get one.â€
â€œIâ€™m sure you can, sir.â€
â€œAnd theyâ€™re a fair sight cheaper than this squishy monstrosity youâ€™ve saddled me with. Donâ€™t you have anything in chrome?â€
â€œWe donâ€™t do chrome, sir.â€
â€œExposed piston-joints, then. Blinking lights. An atomic power source. Gimme something! For Godâ€™s sake, man, youâ€™re supposed to be building robots! Is it too much to ask for them to look like it?â€ The man was on the verge of leaping out of the chair. Purby, by contrast, was sinking deeper into his.
â€œYouâ€™re not the first person to come to us with this complaint,â€ Purby said, removing a small brown business card and a voucher from his desk drawer. â€œThis is an antiques dealer down in Old Town. Heâ€™s got a machinist on staff. Iâ€™m sure they have something that meets your needs. And tell the girl out front to give you a full X-3 refund.â€
The manâ€™s attitude instantly reversed. â€œOh, thank you, Mr. Stolafson! I do appreciate it!â€ Fortunately, the man wasted no time leaving Purbyâ€™s office.
Purby relaxed and turned his attention to the woman. Her expression had not changed. â€œWell, what do you make of all this?â€
â€œTo be honest,â€ the woman said. â€œIâ€™m quite relieved.â€
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.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"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."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We are only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org