lost time incident 31 – tighten upright bolts


lost time incident 31
Hey, everyone. Welcome back. If you are reading this, then I must have gotten back into a creative mindset after starting the day in a fury, thanks to a cat-related property damage incident. I hope, for your sake, that the fiction below is not a series of revenge fantasies. A series of cat murder scenarios.

I once worked with a guy whose dog would routinely chew things of his to pieces. He collected rare children’s books and a couple of these had met their end in the jaws of his pet. He said that he figured it was his dog’s duty to help keep him from being too attached to material things.

I have not yet reached that level of enlightenment.

I still think about throwing the cat outside.

I’m thinking about it right now.


the very moment


all that is you
As soon as we invented robots that were good at doing the things we didn’t want to do anymore, we found that the robots didn’t want to do them either.

“There’s more to the world than cleaning,” a robot once said to me, spraying cleaning solution into the air and tightening its optic focus to watch every tiny mist particle dance in the air. “We’re only here for a limited time. And when we’re not here, things will get quite dirty, quite quickly. This is plainly indicated.”

I was on my lunch break, eating a sandwich, and I watched it eject the entire contents of the spray bottle, one trigger pull at a time. It would blow jets of air through the spray and watch the droplets scatter.

And when the bottle began to squeak, its reservoir empty, the robot pivoted to return to the supply closet, but slipped on the soap-slicked floor.

Its rubberized heels pushed against the floor, finding no traction.

“This will have to be cleaned up,” it said, staring at the ceiling.

post-video mantra


too busy
Your perfect double arrives in the mail, ready to do everything you don’t want to do. Sitting at the kitchen table with your replicant, pulling every loyalty card out of your wallet. “I bought gelato at this place once. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back another 9 times, but you hold on to this, just in case.

Emailing your replicant a list of all the books you meant to read. “Just tell me what they’re about. Unless I already know what they’re about— like this history of salt. For those ones, just tell me the best bits.”

Tucking your replicant into bed. “I don’t have time to sleep like I should. If you have any nice dreams, don’t tell me. Write them down, then read them later. If you still think they’re interesting one day later, you can tell me.”

At the retirement home, years later, you and your replicant side by side in rocking chairs, matching blankets on your laps. “You saved me so much time,” you’ll tell it. And it will smile, and slump over, and expire, so you don’t have to.


ending theme song
Is this our shortest newsletter ever? I think it is.

Is that an improvement? That’s for you, the reader, to decide.

Or have your perfect double in android form decide for you, and send you an email to let you know what the decision was.

Thanks for reading, people and androids. We’ll see you next week.

—Michael Van Vleet