CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP
988 words long
The next morning, all the off-switches stopped working, which turned out to be a worse anomaly than all the previous ones put together.
Notes from the author:
The original idea had to do with Maxwell’s Demon. (The writing prompt was “metaphysical fiend.”) Maxwell’s Demon is your pocket pal who keeps your systems entropy free! Only, are you sure you want that? We rely on entropy a lot more than you think.
But the implications of entropy dropping out of the world are very large and complex, and I’ve only got about a thousand words to play with. Best to narrow the narrative focus. This fictionette begins with something small: an alarm clock that wouldn’t turn off.
Jeannette told him about her neighbor and what he had said before he died. By the time she was done, she was hoarse from shouting above the noise. She filled a plastic cup with water from the cafe cooler and drank gratefully. The line for coffee was prohibitively long. Besides, Jeannette didn’t particularly feel in need of coffee. She felt pre-caffeinated.
“What a kook,” Gaff said.
“But what if he was right? Maybe this is all a dream. How else do you account for the recent anomalies, and the way everyone accepts them as business-as-usual?” Behind the counter, the lead barista was writing up a new checklist for operating the espresso machine. Affix portafilter to group head; place cup under the portafilter; turn on water main; ascertain shot has been poured; turn off water main. “Maybe, when a dreamer wakes up, that’s what it looks like to the rest of us dream characters—like he died and left a body behind.”
Gaff snorted. “That’s stupid. If this was all your neighbor’s dream, and he woke up, then we wouldn’t be here having this conversation. The whole dream would have disappeared the moment he woke up.”
Right about then, the shouting in the cafe intensified. Someone had apparently forgotten to turn off the water main and scalded themselves. Outside, a calm female voice in the sky proclaimed that THIS IS A WARNING SYSTEMS TEST. THIS IS A WARNING SYSTEMS TEST....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for June 16, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (988 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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