TUESDAY: Outsource

BY D. SANDY NIELSEN

Copyright is held by the author.

“AS IF,” I said under my breath, my red knuckled hand, controlled, as it carefully closed the door, so not to slam it.

“As if I were just let go because of cut-backs, out-sourcing, and downsizing.” Only I could hear my slight whisper, lips unmoving, posture erect, as I marched coolly down the hall.

“As if,” I said slightly louder, easing the door behind me to my slight office, “that were the real reason I had been let go this June 30th. Management, male management, had downsized me, made cut-backs with me. It was because I had already done it to myself, going from a 39 DD down to a, still well-rounded, 34 C.” My intensive fitness regime hadn’t done enough to alleviate the back pains. Less is more, right? Aloud, while unpacking my desk drawers, “If they had looked to my head, instead of my chest, they would have seen the greater extent of my mind.”

I, Annabelle, not the dumb blonde, typed in the password to my computer, and my code, Sandy then Grains, for Delaney’s “Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand” tale, and hit the enter button. “Their loss.” The remnant relevant information now transferred to my downtown Brampton apartment, subsequently; a worm I had written eliminating all traces of my study and finds.

I casually walked out the door of KETILS; the Kanada Extra-Terrestrial Intelligent Life Search, with a meagre box of physical possessions, not looking back. This Ketil-Belle had all the hidden hook-ups needed at home; a quick GO Train, and a Züm Bus ride home. That was another talent; making the über-hackers look like üder-hackers.

A few fellow transit passengers had stared at me when I’d muttered, “As if!” with a venomous vigour, even one in the elevator up. Now I was at my main computer terminal overlooking the City Hall and Rose Theatre well below.

Tomorrow was Canada Day and I was going to announce making contact with ET then, the proud Canadian. It really would have put the Prime Minister, the Governor-General, the Toronto and Brampton Mayors, not to mention the Royals, on the map. “As if,” I said aloud, and internally, “that’s not going to happen now.”

My fingers flew across the keyboard, easier now with the cut-backs on my breasts. I’d hooked up to the SETI system and other radio-telescope arrays, a hidden piggy-backer, undetected, and carried on my communication with the ETs. Naming my instantaneous transmission to the stars between the multi-verses, down the mem-Brane lane, the Ann-sible, or Ann-Space radio, after the LeGuin’s Ansible, and Niven’s N-Space, and the stars being like grains of sand. I’d actually sent the binary transmissions, unbeknownst to ex-superiors, down the narrow gap of the Branes, that slight area that separated the universes. The cleavage between dimensions. The Brain used the brane. Between a quilted multi-verse I knitted the looped mini-Strings into a chained Anna-omaly. I wasn’t strung out about String Theory. It was everywhen, all at once, syzygy points, and response was instantaneous. ETs being light-years, pardon the pun, ahead of us. Next, transmitting a binary to English dictionary. ETs’ immediate English response. Anyone else would have suspected a hoax, but I knew better. As if anyone could ruse me. It was magic; in the sense of Clarke’s quote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I was going to let Canada present this discovery to the UN. Let the politicians talk to the ETs; more management really. No, best to let a scientist of the highest calibre, like myself do the talking. Politicians! Management! “As if,” my vocalization spat out. I wiped the toxin off screen with a wet-wipe.

I typed furiously telling the ETs all about mankind’s problems. Funny, how they didn’t seem to have a name for themselves as a species, but just referred to their whole as Cosmological Aid. Probably a number of diverse beneficent intelligences. Aid, we needed that, that was for sure, there was no intelligent life on earth, as if. I quickly told them about all our economic woes, our financial woes, global warming, the death of our oceans, extinctions, the demise of our forests, climate change, etcetera, and etcetera.

The Brane gain was instantaneous. “What, in one word, is the prime cause of all this?” the ETs asked.

Hell, I knew that if no one else was willing to acknowledge it and I told them, “Too many humans. Our population explosion.”

The immediate response was, as if the billions of light-years didn’t exist, and in the in-between Brane space, it didn’t, “No problem. There will be an appraisal.”

“Appraisal?” I questioned the screen. “What did they mean by that? I just told them.” It near sounded like cost incurred.

Of course the solution was like magic too. That quick through the Brane drain. I could see the lavender light through my apartment window; it bathed all the people below in the Rose Theatre Square and Brampton City Hall. Clicking on the TV, it turned out to be infusing the entire planet. And everyone started to grow weary. I realized the ETs’ solution to our population explosion, we were being slowly poisoned. The television and my alternate computer feeds showed that everyone was gradually dozing off. Cars and buses pulled over. Planes had time to land and ships had time to dock, but everyone everywhere was casually going to bed, if they could, they were so dopey and sleepy. There was no escape anywhere from the lavender light; rich and poor, bunked away, or in the open. Humanity went to sleep, the big sleep. I couldn’t resist any longer and nodded off. Happy Canada Day. The end, period.

I woke up naked. Of course my clothes didn’t fit anymore. I hopped up on the chair and looked out the window, but really couldn’t make out anything. I pounded my fist on the TV remote and turned it on. Web-cams on some of my screens; an alike planetary message. It was the same everywhere. No one had actually died from being suffused by the lavender light. Oh, some had died from accidents and such, even eaten by family pets. That was to be expected with the monumental change that had occurred via the Brane bane. Rats? Well . . .

I knew none of this was my fault. “Not at all! As if?” My voice high and squeaky.

I had lots of food and water in the fridge. I would figure out how to open it, and my own apartment door easy enough, even to operate the elevator. I still had my intelligence even if I was just like a blonde Barbie with my symmetrical measurements. I was a living doll, just like every other human. I was only a foot high. Less is more. I’d taken 12 inches once, now I was. I would literally have to dance across the keyboard now — with my bare feet.

I had outsourced the problem to the ETs, the Cosmological Consultants Aid, and with their technological magic they’d downsized humanity. Typical management, galactic or not; Astral Assholes. And did I care?

“As if.”

5 comments

  1. Michael Joll

    Isn’t it just! I have been reading Sandy’s stuff for some years and I think this is his best piece yet, easily his most readable and easy to follow. And all without a detour into the world of Icelandic mythology.

  2. Larry Brown

    Humour is difficult to do — you don’t want it to be jokey. This story has the right tone, the humour works. My question is where does the story begin. “I wake up naked.”? Stuff before that, details and storyline, can be sprinkled in as needed perhaps. Strong writing voice, Sandy.

  3. Henry C. Beglin

    Sorry, for the delay in commenting, Sandy. I enjoyed reading this story, as I have always done, at the group gathering of the Seniors Writing sessions. I find this to be similar to the story; Autumn. The last leaf to fall. Imagination unparalleled. I just had to smile. Good one, Sandy.

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