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The repairer

By mmadson All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Scifi

Blurb

“In the past, we didn’t live like this being treated no better than a mud room rug.

Jim

The repairer spears his modified ‘food’ and raises to eye level for closer inspection. Is it supposed to be chicken or beef, he wonders.

His attention shifts when his electronic wrist brace blinks bright siren red!

His ocean blue eyes snap from bright curiosity to an emotionless void. He lowers his fork to rest on his plate. He wipes his fingers and lips as he leaves the table where a few feet later; he stops.

He looks down at the soiled napkin resting in his hand. He wraps his fist around the crushed paper and tosses it to land on top of the garbage that was to be his evening meal.

On his way out, he pauses by the hallway mirror. He checks that his attire conforms to the ‘repairer handbook of rules and regulations.’

His eyes confirm his fit muscular frame is ready to respond in his worker uniform that he’s ordered to wear 24x7. His lips tighten at this thought.

To expect full compliance is bullshit. The handbook was first written for the robotic repairers.

And then the uppers finally realized they did need human repairers.

So some asshole changed the robots repairer manual title to ‘Human Repairer.’

He steps outside his mini apartment. Immediately turns his head to face away from the camera hanging above.

The camera sensing his movement lights up. It’s lens capture a glimpse of him walking towards the transport station.

He pushes the green button to activate the mega mansion’s underground electric tube.

His reflection in the transport glass reveals a stoic looking man in a white short-sleeved work shirt. Adorned over the heart is a sewed-on patch name tag that reads simply in blue thread, “repairer.”

The identifying name is not capitalized on purpose.

It was a decision led by his employer to administer job titles in small letter case. To capitalize may imply they were ‘somebody’.

“We can’t have these lessors ever believing they can be equal to us. This one move will symbolize the human workers’ inferior status. Believe me, we will be able to control them if they are sheep 1, sheep 2...”

He focuses on his status as he zooms across the vast home of his ancient employer. The richest and most powerful man in the world.

Within moments, the metro stops and it’s doors slide open. A pleasant electronic voice advices he should hurry.

“The Employer’s blood pressure is rising. He keeps asking where you are.”

He raises an eyebrow in acknowledgement of the disembodied advice. He strides into the employee tunnel where his stony face switches to a grimace.

SQUEAK Squeak noises interrupt his thoughts. “Where’s that high pitched squeaking coming from?”

He glances around as he continues walking. The irritating sound continues. He stops and sighs as he looks down at the culprit.

It's his employer-issued rubber-soled work boots. “I’m going to get hell for these noisy shoes even though they are assigned to me,” he gripes to himself.

He arrives at the massive gathering room. He finds his fuming pompous hoary employer waiting impatiently.

“FINALLY!” his employer shouts while waving his cigar at him.

“Why did it take you so long, jeez, we have an emergency here, you’re embarrassing me in front of my esteemed guests.”

“What is the problem sir?” he asks with downcast eyes. He is not allowed to look at any of the uppers in the eye without permission.

“YOU ARE THE FUCKING REPAIRER! his employer exasperatedly roars becoming more irate, can’t you see the robots are broken?”

He presumes his employer’s demanding rant is approval to survey the room. He raises his veiled observant eyes and takes in the chaotic scene.

Smashed remnants of crystal drinking glasses are strewn about the floor. Sharp glass shards rest in various alcoholic puddles.

The servant robots stand frozen in place like store mannequins.

They look like statues in various distorted poses.

He tightens his lips to hold back a chuckle at the robot who is balancing a platter of hors d’oeuvre. She holds the tray in the air like it’s an offering to the heavens. While another servant bot is bending down as if demonstrating a yoga stance.

More ridiculous is the butler robots dressed in formal attire to appear more human. Their swallow-tail coat hangs sloppily upon their polymer encased skeleton.

These servant bots stand stock-still. Cyber-claws gripping round ornate silver serving trays.

Expensive scotch toppled on it’s side. Whiskey drips onto their painted black robot shoes. The amber liquid splatters onto the hardwood floor.

He hears a commotion over at the appetizer bar where a few guests have gathered. He glances over to the snobby trophy wives, gagging.

The food automator heaves out costly caviar, blini pastries and boiled lobster.

A woman vomits into her own mouth at the sight of the barfed up mess onto the engineered hardwood floor

“I’ll get right on it, Sir,” he says assuredly.

“Well...repairer, for your own sake, you better fix it fast. My guests are hungry and thirsty. I can replace you, you know.” His employer meanly retorts while sloppily tapping his burning cigar.

They both watch the burnt ash drop from his cigar to land on the hardwood floor. A minuscule flame sparks!

His employer stomps out the flame while shaking his right fist to him as if to say, now look what you did!

The repairer remains expressionless. He heads over to a nearby custom panel that resembles a famous abstract oil painting.

Using his index finger, he presses on a specific mathematical design. A green glow verifies his fingerprint.

The wall slides sideways and then inward. The Robotic interconnected hardware and ROS (Robotic Operating Systems) greets him. Prompting him for his credentials.

He provides his fingerprint again. And inserts his provisioned ID that is reset by his employer at whim.

Once logged on, he maintains a blank expression on his chiseled handsome face. His secretive blue eyes studies the core system.

’They act like I built this crap,” he thinks to himself. They prefer to forget the jerks who created these issues. The inventors and builders who cut corners to increase their profits. While it’s the repairers who get the blame.

He checks the ROS Ecosystem program. He runs the platform diagnostics to test ports to boards. While he waits for the results, he ruminates to himself on how once he used to have a real name.

Until the uppers said it was too hard to remember and didn’t ‘repairer’ say it all.

It made him mad how they sneered when they told him. He hated their smug patronizing superiority over him.

Really, was Jim that hard of a name,’ he thinks with disgust.

He has come to the cold realization that the greedy bastards prefer to never personalize anything they believe is to serve them. How did we let them get so powerful and take over the world?

He remembers what his own Father told him, who also was a repairer until his own son replaced him

“In the past, we didn’t live like this being treated no better than a mud room rug. ”

“We could afford to buy our own homes back then. One could earn more than a living wage,” his Father bitterly explained to him.

His Father continued in a regretful tone, “We should have paid attention to what the rich and politicians were doing. But we poor slobs dreamed of being rich ourselves. So we looked the other way and before we knew it, we had obsoleted ourselves!”

His son gives him a puzzled look.

“Oh you’re thinking ‘where is the government in all this?’

“Well...they had sold out and then got spitted out.”

“When people finally realized what was happening, it was too late even if Government were able to step in.”

“It’s true, us voters demanded a reduced government... and that’s what we got alright! So reduced that none of those assholes in government exists today. AND our representation went with it. The Rich run everything.”

“Their big move was not making their government allies an essential.”

“I remember every word spoken when I overheard the trillionaires talking about their plans once power was wholly theirs. They spoke of no longer trusting their minions in government.”

“Those losers will sell their loyalty to whoever tries to usurp us…and why not, they did it for us.” The influential young trillionaire (who is now his much richer employer) advises.”

And so politicians and lobbyists became a thing of the past.

He grins at that thought.

Oops, he realizes he let a smirk appear on his face and sweeps his eyes to the side to check that no one saw. Cracking a smile like that could get him obsoleted.

His smirk was not missed by his evil venomous zillionaire employer. The old bastard still possessed shrewd sharp eyes. He is always watching whether by his own eyes or the camera’s hidden about to watch not just the servants but guests too.

The employer squints and thinks to himself.

“Did that idiot actually display a moment of happiness over his stupid face?

Hmmm. Surely, he learned where that would get him. He knows the punishment. He watched his own subordinate Father dispatched to the boneyard.

Or the repairer figured out the fix and is gloating to himself how damn smart he is. He is the best repairer there is so I hate to get rid of him.

I’ll have to keep watch on him the Zillionaire thinks as he turns and chuckles to his guests. He nods dramatically to the repairer focused on his task of fixing the system that replaced his kind and will one day replace him too.

“The future is ours now thanks to me! I led the earths’ richest to triple our numbers whilst we rid the world of human labor right under their noses. Replaced with sleek silvery machines encasing brainier circuits in the tiniest of chips.”

“What a great world I own…err, he catches his ego to replace his statement with we.”

“We ALL agree! Robots do everything a human did. They Serve OUR purpose.”

“They do all the work whether for business or home... so much better and NO complaints.”

“Ha, they even perform medical diagnosis to surgical repair. I never saw a human on my last surgery. And the 3D maker printed out my pills and everything else.”

“Artificial Intelligence gives us what …..we…de..sire.” He chokes out those last words through a crackling wet cough. The room listens to his lung hacking up the phlegm that coats his throat.”

“We surpassed our goal.” His arrogant spoiled son chimes in preening as if it was his idea though he didn’t even exist back then.”

“Many of you back then, didn’t think we could do it. But we did. Look around. Only a tiny percentage of the population are essentials today. They are the repairers and various experts of matters. Yes, they are leeches made of flesh and blood who beg for pay, food and a roof over their heads. We’re all sick of their messy emotions and pleas for healthcare and time off too.”

“Why couldn’t they be happy to serve us.” A sadist trillionaire muses to arouse himself by joining the bashing of human labor.

“It’s us who deservedly inherited the whole damn world with all the resources at our sole disposal.

“Thanks so much sir,” he bows to the richest of them all —-the repairer’s employer, their host.

“Yes, it was you and our fathers. The self described job creators. Who invested not into jobs but into machines. It was you who cleverly manipulated those who thought they were in power to willingly give the richest BIG and BIGGER and then BIGGEST tax credits to pay for it all, so your fortunes soared. The pitiful workers tricked into their own demise.”

How sweet it is! The wealthiest rejoice on owning the new world.

“Yes, but we still need the bleeding repairers.” A sly ambitious billionaire reminds them.

“When can we be rid of them too.” he begs

He eyes with malice the repairer who works nearby. A human summoned to fix the system glitch that disabled their precious machines.

‘I do hate looking at them—- their eyes bitter and full of resentment. How dare these lowers make us feel guilt.’

“Soon they will be gone! We're working on their obsolescence too,” gloats an ass-kissing billionaire.

“Let’s be sure to keep the eye candy and the best of the entertainers.” Shouts both young trophy wives and aged cougars.

They love to dismiss the more beautiful and talented. as mere decoration for their amusement.

The astute repairer listens to their mean-spirited lament. He finds the technical coding error and fixes it.

The machines whirl back to life. He’s haughtily dismissed back to his small personal quarters.

Where he tucks his young daughter into her sleeping cube. He only gets to keep her because of her high IQ —————— and so he ends his day with this bedtime story that needs no exaggeration.

“That’s a terrible story daddy, will there be no job, no future for me?”

“I’m sure you’ll be inventive so work hard to become a crucial essential and if not they’ll keep you as a back-up he says with hope and sadness mixed in his voice.

“What’s a backup,” she asks?

“Oh that’s to replace someone like me. — when you get old enough, they will store you in suspended animation until they call upon you to serve them.”

“Ewwww. That is an icky way to live,” his daughter repulsed says while scrunching her pretty cherub face.

Well dear - it’s better than the boneyard, he sighs as he pulls the covers up to her chin. That’s where the other 92% of the world’s population disappeared into.

In the dark room, He sits with her as she falls asleep.

He leans forward, arms resting on his thighs. His back muscles ripple under his shirt. He clasps his hands in front of him.

He contemplates what his eidetic memory has taught him so far.

He collects knowledge to turn the tables once and for all.

He bows his sandy-haired head as if in prayer. This is so the prying cameras hidden above cannot see his eyes light up... as a clever idea bears fruit inside his brilliant mind.

’Yes, this plan could work to bring these bastards down and take the world back! He thinks as his tongue flicks his upper lip while an indiscernible smile tugs at one corner of his mouth.

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