Jamey tossed his voltmeter into a scattering of unusual, specialized tools as the machine’s power cycle initialized. The eyes opened. Blinked once, twice —

a successful systems check.

“Welcome back to the world of the living.”

Otto returned a blank stare. “I do not live.”

Jamey’s brow furrowed. “How do you feel?”

“I don’t feel.”

A slight lilt to the voice – did he imagine . . . ? Jamey called the bluff. “C’mon, braw. I know your processor and wetwork are working fine.”

Otto smiled; it was the first time his face had moved in weeks. “I feel awesome.

Jamey smiled back. “There you go.”

This flash fiction in 100 words was crafted for the M3 blog’s Flash in the Pan (tools).


  1. I think this is pretty awesome, Rob. Very much up to your usual standards.
    Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t been by lately. This week I’ve been busy planning to write and then writing a very triggering post dealing with my molestation story. I plan to publish it this Saturday, when Zero to Hero is over. In the meantime, I have the “fun” task of pulling myself out of the hole I’ve managed to throw myself into.

        • Well, you’re not exactly off. What I mean to say is I’m not committed to a concept in case I revisit it. I did sort of incorporate the “wetwork” to be a biological network – as to whether that’s a biological data bus or an actual organic component of a cyborg is up in the air, but you know how you turn a story over and over, and then when you’re done you have a certain concept of where your characters are at? I kind of left Otto’s precise nature up in the air – possibly to be continued at a later date. Thing is, I’ve already done some stuff with robots and robot apocalypse, post-apocalypse, post-post-apocalypse . . . I want to have it all fit like puzzle pieces but it’s like Otto fits somewhere in the upper-left hand quadrant where all I have so far is the border . . . all the work seems to have been done mostly on the lower-right quadrant.

          • Fair enough, Rob. I’ve noticed a lot of artists will leave interpretation to their audience, or rather, when they are queried about the meaning of an artwork, they leave it open.

            I guess it’s a little different from what you’ve told me… that you’ve left things open so that you have creative freedom to pursue things further later. But the aim to preserve creative flow is similar, I think.

            • Yep, and I did do it like that, but I often do – and for this story did – leave it somewhat vague because sometimes people will see something in it that I never thought of, and I might be able to springboard from that. I’ve toyed around with the idea of starting a story serial, and then inviting the readers to guess what happens next, and then to take it in a direction based on the most popular or best-sounding option . . . sort of an MMO choose-your-adventure.

              Then I realize that even if I were a full-time writer, I might not have the energy for it . . . but because the flash word restriction means you have to cut a lot of stuff out, I think it helps train us to figure out what needs to be included and what can be inferred or left to interpretation; I think that’s where I began really indulging that guilty little pleasure of “you tell me.

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