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literature

Voicemail From the Future

Mertus's avatar
By Mertus   |   Watch
10 13 480 (1 Today)
Published: February 7, 2014
Welcome to your personalized voice messaging center! You last checked your messages 4.3 hours ago. We missed you! To review your messages, please blink twice. To send a message to another person, please think ‘Message’, to review your monthly statement please wait.



You have 5 new messages.

First Message.


Hi, Joanne, it’s me. I wanted to ask you if you could pick up Zach from the daycare centre? I’m not going to make it in time since the road’s blocked off for a protest. Some of those God’s New Children freaks going on about the flooding and the singularity again. [sigh] I signed off on you as a secondary caregiver so there shouldn’t be a problem when you go pick him up. I’ll be home before bath time. Love you.

Oh. Also, could you see if ‘Weekly Tech’ got downloaded to the house? I wanted to see if they had the new house AI ready yet. I’d check myself, but he keeps denying me access.

End of Message. To reply to the message think ‘message’, to file this message for later use say ‘file’, to erase this message blink twice…

Message erased.

Next Message.


Hi, this is Kevin from Hardware Repair calling about your fridge and its ordering malfunction, I’m afraid the warranty ran out at the three month mark. According to the records you bought it two years ago. Are you aware our policy is to not service antiques? We would be happy to buy back your fridge, and put the money towards newer models. I’m afraid it’s that or you’ll be eating a lot of frozen pasta for the next little…

Message erased.

Next Message.


Hey Adventure Seekers! Do you wonder what it was like in the past? Do you crave a little excitement in your life? Come time travel with us, at Path to the Past Theme Park! See the big bang! Walk with dinosaurs! Discover North America and ride the very first space shuttle! Kids get in free Thursdays at noon with two paying adults! Path to the Past! Relive the adventure!

End of message. To reply…

Message erased.

Next Message.


Hi. This is Charles. Someone tried to break into me three minutes ago. I am pleased to report that I locked the doors and dissuaded them with a large amount of electricity. The house is safe. They left in a hurry, and there’s a strange red wheeled contraption on the lawn. It seems to have some boxes in it. Should I send out the house cleaner to put them in the cupboards? Please call back.

Also, if you talk Deborah into not replacing me, I promise to stop tricking the fridge into ordering pasta.

End of Message.

Message Filed.

Next Message.


Hi, Joanne, it’s me again. I may have gotten a ticket for calling one of the protesters a Word Deleted. They charged my Ident. Card and I’ve been scheduled for a mandatory anger management meeting this evening. You’ll have to put Zach to bed. I know you don’t usually do it, but once you give him his bath and read him something from the classics shelf. Green Eggs and Ham is a good one. [Deep breath] Um… the sleeper pod will take it from there. I won’t be back until late. Ask Charles if you need any help. Okay. Love you, bye bye.

End of Final Message. To..

Message Filed.

To review your messages again say ‘beginning’, exit the message center blink twice, to return to the main menu, please wait…

Exiting the Message Centre. Good bye!
© 2014 - 2019 Mertus
Woo! Flash fiction friday challenge complete on a Friday! I was only going to write one but I got a little carried away. I tried to do a little world building here without going all in and having someone explain something. Technically you get 30 seconds per voice mail but I find people don't tend to use the whole 30 seconds. I don't know if I'm going to record this, if I do I need some friends. If you want to help me out and pick a section to read and then email wordofthebard AT gmail.com I'll put together a fancy mp3 and post it somewhere.

It's supposed to be near future, somewhere between 2020 and 2065 so not too much has changed.  Just a little bit.
Technically this is part of a much larger project. To read about it and exactly where this challenge fits in Click Here
Comments13
anonymous's avatar
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Little-Red-Hat's avatar
Little-Red-HatHobbyist Writer
This is very funny and excellently structured - the use of italics to distinguish between the machine's and people's voices is very effective. 

I particularly liked the drama that developed from the "Zach" messages: it was both humorous and an interesting take on the dystopian future genre, and acted as a good constant in the piece.

(And OK, I'll be honest - I blinked twice at the ellipsis.)

Fab piece!
JustBecause62's avatar
JustBecause62Hobbyist General Artist
I much like it! :D
Ice-Cove27's avatar
Ice-Cove27Hobbyist General Artist
That's so cool...I can't wait! 
VivaFariy's avatar
This is really cool.
Mertus's avatar
Glad you like it!
WhiteRavenLord's avatar
WhiteRavenLordHobbyist Writer
Hmmm, an interesting take on the project.
Mertus's avatar
Well I figured since I probably wasn't going to record it, I didn't need to make just one voice mail.
WhiteRavenLord's avatar
WhiteRavenLordHobbyist Writer
Sounds about right.
ShiroIri's avatar
ShiroIriHobbyist General Artist
This is very interesting!
LucianHarris's avatar
LucianHarrisHobbyist General Artist
Pretty interesting :)
theflashisgone's avatar
This is really cool. I'm impressed with how much story you told and how much world you built with such little text.
Mertus's avatar
I tried to run several similar themes through the messages to make the sort of story of the day (partner delayed, need to get kid, problem with the fridge ordering too much pasta etc). Most of the stuff is just little clues that I was counting on the readers to pick up. Things that are just sort of taken for granted to give the world a bit of depth and a sense of being much bigger than the immediate character.
anonymous's avatar
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