“Life is long. If you're still drawing breath, you still have time to be the kind of writer you want to be.”
John Vorhaus

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

Check your email. Check your junk mail folder. Actually read some of that garbage. Have you seen the inspired nonsense they fill the email body with in order to get past your spam filters?

Word salad. Disembodied excerpts. Clumsy translations. A veritable library of writing prompts. And more keeps coming every day.

It can be a challenge to find a story idea in some of that muck. I mean, there's the daily string of ten words at Flash Fiction Chronicles, and then there's utter garblediegukke like this:

MEETUP Ebay termin 4895 besvaras ltr registered FOLLOWING animaux Nowrap Interchange tienda blog1 BAREMINERALS RER vacature ATENCIOSAMENTE 29008 unwatch PRIO datum TEUS 400 1870 processed 55120 ANTICIPO altera questions www3 Dae 708 generated glamodiorous__.

And yet, well, sometimes, something comes of it.

The central column of Computer spindled up through each floor of the office building, spitting out status reports at regular intervals throughout the day. So long as its rhythm continued uninterrupted, no one paid any attention.


Bill drank his tepid K-cup tea and typed commentary on the weather, and Computer processed that. He typed responses to Middle Management's request for more details on the alleged printer malfunction, and these were automatically CC'd to Computer, who processed that. He typed numbers into a particular spreadsheet whenever the train went by, and most certainly Computer processed that too.


But some of his typing was not processed at all.


Computer was, of course, aware of every key he hit and every visual on his screen. Computer was aware of every move made by every engineer from Floors Two to Twenty. From time to time, at intervals exactly as random as a TSA screening, Computer processed portions of this data along with the weather reports and the railroad traffic. But the results triggered no alarms. Just Engineer #2546 blowing off steam. Harmless. Necessary. Humans need to blow off steam. If Engineer #2546 weren't blowing off steam from time to time, then Computer's alarms might get triggered. Engineers who didn't blow of steam sometimes broke. Remember the Archiveta incident? Engineers should indulge in regular down-time, have regular creativity outlets, have regular access to caffeine.


Bill was not that breed of self-aware clever genius who considered his movements impenetrable by peers and superiors. That sort of clever made you overconfident, and overconfidence got you caught. Bill was not overconfident. He was clever enough to know he might not be as clever as he thought he was. That sort of clever made you cautious, especially when you were breaking every one of the agreements you'd signed on your hire date...

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 24, 2014. The fictionette appears in its entirety at Patreon and is available to all Patrons pledging at least $1/month.

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