The narrator’s roommate/old bandmate threatened to kick him (or her? It’s never specified) out of the flat if he didn’t start pulling his weight and become a responsible adult. He got a job at the teleporter terminal to spend his days sending “some businessperson or travel-blogger or snowbird” off in a puff of dust to some destination or other. The work is mindless, without benefits, and pays poorly.
About three weeks after he starts the job, one businessman fails to disappear after the narrator has pressed the “teleport” button.
This is a clever little story with a surprising (but not unheard of) twist in the idea of teleportation. The narrator’s final decisions arise not only of a desire to expose the terror of corporate greed and exploitation of the people with a little money but out of exhaustion with customer service jobs.
The “glitch” is built into the system.
For all its darkness and slacker humor, I liked this story.
According to her blurb, author Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Nature, and elsewhere. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press. For more info, visit wendynikel.com/
The story can be read here.
Author: Wendy Nikel
First published: October 26, 2020, Daily Science Fiction