“Another Day, Another Dollar” is a short piece of science-fiction that I wrote in 2012. It is the first piece of science-fiction that I’d ever attempted to write.
Back then, I was still using Facebook. I got involved with what turned out to be a very short lived group of writers that all wrote a story based on the same prompt. One day, the creator of the group disbanded it, and that was the end of that.
This short story is the first piece I read in my newly created Words of Jen podcast.
Another Day, Another Dollar
Zyn checked the display that was embedded in her left wrist and cursed. She was going to be late for work, again. After diving into the autonomous vehicle assigned to her by the Company, she quickly punched in the coordinates, and pushed the button that said “go”. There was nothing left to do but drum her fingers impatiently against the dashboard. The auto scooted slowly along the path of lights at a pre-programed speed that The Counsel decided was safe.
It wasn’t her fault that she was going to be late logging into work, again. The fault was with the long-winded Professor that couldn’t stop talking about Earth History. Several of the students had murmured the opinion that the Professor desperately needed an upgrade. The problem, though, was that the Professors were outdated technology, and no one was writing programs for them anymore. There was no other use for them except to teach the same history classes that they had been doing since they were first booted up.
Zyn had no desire to take this particular class, but, had no choice. It was a requirement for all Social Media majors. The Counsel decided that it was necessary for students to know about the very beginnings of the craft before jumping into a career in it. Zyn felt that it was little more than a waste of everyone’s time.
Occasionally, the Professor would have something interesting to say. Part of today’s lecture was about how, hundreds of years ago, it was normal for people to put images of something called a “pet” into their Social Media connections. Zyn couldn’t quite understand what a “pet” was.
The Professor said that there were different kinds, and many of them had fur. A “pet” wasn’t a human, and it wasn’t a robotic entity either. The Professor said that people often lived with a “pet” and shared their air with them. Whatever a “pet” was, it must have been something precious, and expensive, to be worth sharing air with. Or, maybe air didn’t cost as much back then as it does today.
A sudden beeping sound woke Zyn out of her daydreams. She checked her wrist display, and frowned. It was one of those annoying automated alerts from The Counsel “reminding” her to be sure and send a request to the Nursery if she wished to procreate this year. Zyn tapped “no” on the display, and sent it off, rolling her eyes. Her eggs were donated and cryogenically frozen on her seventeenth birthday, just like all the other females here. There really was no need to rush into becoming a parent. It could wait.
The auto was gliding its way towards the door of the Company. Zyn slipped her breather over her mouth and nose, and dashed out of the slowly opening door of the auto. Running was frowned upon, because it was wasteful, so she walked as fast as she could without being rude.
A flashing message was waiting for Zyn at her display when she arrived. This one she couldn’t tap “no” and get rid of because it was a reprimand for being late. The punishment was a small deduction of the credits she had earned this week, and she watched them click backwards while she quickly logged in.
She held still for two seconds so the scanner could capture her image and enhance it before it was displayed to the customer. The economy here depended entirely on tourism, and that meant that the people working had to look as lovely as possible. The image resembled Zyn, but had somewhat tanner skin, larger eyes, and shiner hair. That being done, she took her first message.
“Hi, I’m Zyn! How can I help you book your vacation to Earth’s Moon?” Zyn smiled, but was already bored. Someday, she would be done with school, and wouldn’t have to work here anymore. Until then, she was stuck. What was that old Earth saying the Professor used? Oh yes, Zyn remembered. It was “Another day, another dollar”, (whatever a dollar was).