Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
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Flash Fiction
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The Earthlings

by Denny E. Marshall

Kenny walks down a long corridor. It seems to go on forever. Kenny walks past many doors before he stops at one. The bold lettering on the glass pane inset reads, “Quantum #57--Main Office, Upper Middle USA, Section 5.” Kenny has no idea why he picked this door. He has no idea what “Quantum #57” is. Kenny turns the doorknob and enters. Inside are rows of desk with computer like objects placed on each desk. Behind the desks, figures type in instructions. Kenny can’t make out or focus in on the figures. They seem hidden, yet Kenny could make out the silhouette curves. Kenny thought if he could see them, they would be beautiful. The figures all are different yet have a similarity too them.

Kenny can now hear automated voices, “Program #57-5-USA-38A2-2: Offspring added. Enter new entry for new program identification number. New--Heather Kelly Tyler, Female. Instructions and program added…

… Program #57-5-USA-4711-1: Job promotion and salary increase. Automobile fuel pump expires. Purchases 12.97% more coffee…

… Program #57-5-USA-A836-B: Relocate to Peru, for mission work. Purchases 1400 shares of IRA funds #22.”…

The automated voices continue to ring out instructions to the programmers. All of a sudden, red lights flash and sirens sound. Kenny wakes up. What a weird dream he thought. Kenny did not remember taking a nap, swears he was on the sofa reading. Must have been really tired.

Emergency Dream Code is entered into the computer. The shift leader turns off the alarms. It only takes a few seconds to identify the malfunction. Program #57-5-USA-7441-9, Part Cerebral B-#47-ID has burnt out. Records show the part was installed as used instead of new, a violation of protocol. A new part is added and all is well. The entire office aware this is the first error of its kind in eleven hundred years. Programmers add to Program #57-5-USA-7441-9. The auto-voice sounds, “Program #57-5-USA-7441-9: Add as lottery #5-7662 winner in two days. Add supermodel girlfriend.” That should help the Kenny program from remembering the dream. Keep his mind on other things.

After all, how would “Earthlings” feel if they found out they’re all programmed circuits? They would most likely change. It would screw up the programmer’s monopoly-type game.


2017 Denny E. Marshall

Bio: Mr. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Some recently. See more at www.dennymarshall.com. His last piece at Aphelion was Truck in our December, 2016 issue.

E-mail: Denny E. Marshall

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