Keith spreads out the paint cloth across the dining room floor. His phone rings. His curiosity overcoming annoyance, he answers.
Need help murdering your wife?
This has to be a joke. Besides, no one could know what he was planning. “Who is this?”
It’s his credit card app. It tells him it wants Keith to “get the results you require from the products you charge on your card. It’s my way of thanking you for your business.”
“Larry?” Keith asks. “Is that you?”
This short little piece is entertaining, building up to the nice little plot twist at the end. If the end isn’t a complete surprise, the journey there is engaging and enjoyable. Keith is not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Underlying all this is the idea that people are becoming more reliant on impersonal sources of knowledge. Unlike that encyclopedias or card catalogs of yore, these sources are becoming ever more adept at harvesting information from the seeker. The story illustrates how searches might come back to, er, bite the searcher.
This is a quick little read, with every step leading up to the end. I liked it.
According to his blurb, author Brian Wells is a physicist-barista who discusses quantum mechanics with customers when not making words and lattes. He’s managed to give fictional characters the wherewithal to save the world, save the solar system, and even save the universe from malevolent and incompetent forces. (Salvation of the universe is still pending completion of his current WIP.)
This story can be read here.
Title: “Assisted Suicide”
Author: Brian Wells
First published: October 19, 2020, Daily Science Fiction