Hominem ex machina

Day 08: Adjust
No Novel November 2020

NEAC 2203 Computer – CPU, console and tape drive; 1950's computer with reel to reel

“Just call Ed, will you, Seraph?”

“But Sir….”

“Do you know how to fix it?”


“Call Ed.”

After a moment that stretches for years, a man in a rumpled, oil-stained jumpsuit strolls in with a toolbox in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“Mornin’ Boss. What can I do for ya?”

“It’s on the fritz again, Ed. Care to take a look?”

“My pleasure.”

The handyman quickly nestles behind the enormous, silently overheating machine and starts to tinker. Wires, switches, buttons, gauges—he mutters kindly to them as he toggles and flips, occasionally slurping from his mug.

“There’s your problem,” he says eventually, holding up the offending object. “Was jammed in the hope matrix.” He drops a rusty, bent screw into the Boss’ hand as the machine sputters, rattles, then begins to purr softly.

A hearty clap on the shoulder sinks him deep into the cloudbank he’s standing on. “I can always count on you, Ed.”

“Happy to be of service, Boss. You call me if it shorts again. That optimism drive’ll get you to Christmas, but mind it after that.”

They watch him go, humming to himself. A beat passes.

“Why a machine, Lord? You can run all of reality with half a brain cell. Or have a team of archangels manage it.”

The Boss smiles and looks at the screw. “Because, Seraph, reality isn’t for us. And what better way of learning to be human than to have a hand in fixing it yourself?”

This story is part of No Novel November, a daily microfiction challenge. If you'd like to know more and/or join in, click here.

Author: Ellie

Uppity stardust. Will eat (almost) anything.

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