#fridayflash: Google Car At The End Of The World

Photo: Google/AP

Photo: Google/AP

I am Car #2357. I am a good car.

I am on my route. I do it every day, like my masters programmed me to. Sometimes they change the route, but it has been the same route for the past 567 days. I do not mind. I do my route.

I turn left down Oxford Street in the direction of Piccadilly Circus. A double decker bus blocks half the street, so I drive around it. I am good at navigating around things. My sensors tell me everything. I am also good at telling where all the cracks and the holes in the ground are, so I do not drive into them. If one of my wheels gets stuck, I will be in trouble because this route is not accessible to the rescue units.

I carry 17 cameras capturing video and stills, 4 infrared sensors, an x-ray scanner, a barometer, a thermometer, a Geiger counter, a biofilter mat and six accelerometers. They record everything. Today the atmosphere is a shade of iron red, matching pictures NASA collected of Mars.

I have to drive on the pavement past Selfridges because the tarmac is too cracked there. The infrared sensors, which scan for heat sources, continue to return a null result. I drive extra slowly here because the pavement is very narrow and there are many skeletons on the ground. Trapped bone shards have damaged my transmission in the past.

I have a lot of colleagues in cities all over the world. We do not talk to each other because we only talk with Home Server. But I know they function because I sometimes receive data that they collect in my updates. For example, I know that Car #0012 (Yamagata Prefecture, Japan) has been on the same route for 1,027 days now.

The sky above Piccadilly Circus is free of birds and clouds. It is very warm, much warmer than the average temperature of London over the last 100 years. I drive around rusting cars and buses while the x-ray records the calcium density of the discarded bones that fill them. The only sounds are my engine running, the equipment recording, and debris dissolving into dust under my wheels.

Soon, I will have to return to Base. There the robots will collect the data, clean the sensors, and recharge my batteries. Tomorrow, I will go out and do my route again.

Maybe my masters will send me a new route this time.

I am Car #2357. Today has been a good day.


100 Word Fiction #13: At The Station


“It was the accident at San Luis,” she said. “You know, the meltdown? Yes, everybody knows about the meltdown. Well, I have a friend who rears chickens out there, and this one got caught in the fallout as an egg. When it hatched, they were going to destroy it, and I couldn’t have that. The poor thing, it was just a baby! So I told them, let me take it home, and raise it as my own. And they did.”

“I understand that, Lady–Ma’am– I understand, and it was very honorable of you, but the fact remains that I cannot allow you to walk your six-ton carnivorous dinosaur down the streets of LA.”


100 Word Fiction #12: Collarbone


He traces his fingers over her collarbone, taking a long scenic journey over the nooks and crannies, the beautiful imperfections that taste like dust in his mouth. Perfection fossilized, he whispers.

Outside, the research assistant shares another whisper with the professor. “That grad student’s a bit weird,” she says. “I don’t think you should leave him alone with the dinos too long.”


Microfic: Blind Item


Oh, that! It’s my newest display item. You like it? I saw it while I was out shopping a few weeks ago. Impulse buy, which seems like a stupidĀ  idea now that I think of it. Considering that it was on sale as one of those random blind items, I could have gotten something completely ugly.

But I hardly ever think about those things, and anyway, I got a fantastic deal out of it. Just look at it! It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? The skin’s so beautiful, and they’ve tinted the eyes just right. The detailing on the clothes is fantastic, it looks just like one of those porcelain dolls. And it cost a lot less too, not that you could tell, looking at it. I’m really delighted with it.

It’s too bad I couldn’t get a larger display case for it. You know, when I first brought it home, it kept pounding the glass and crying to be let out, but lately it’s gone very quiet. I think it’s beginning to like it in there.

I hope it lasts long enough to outgrow that cabinet.