Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.
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Yasmine sat down at her computer and entered the information to pull up the accounts. “I’m the only person authorized to access these accounts without a retina scan. We already entered your scans when you first came to us. You will be able to access it at any bank or automated teller.”
“Double it.” The voice was Katja’s.
“Katja!” The sternness of the androids glare caused Benjie to close his mouth.
“Double it,” Katja repeated.
Yasmine began typing again, accessing the company’s account. “Done.” Yasmine pushed away from the desk and stood. “Isn’t that nice. Each of you is a millionaire. Now, leave.”
Two of the male androids entered the room. “Now would be a good time to go, Masters.”
Chesa approached Katja. “Come with us.”
The female android gave a single nod.
“Katja, can you communicate with these other two androids from a distance?” asked Benjie.
She responded with another nod.
Benjie instructed the two male androids to detain Yasmine until he and Chesa had accessed their accounts. When they heard from Katja, they were to release her.
“Cancel your access to the accounts.” Again, it was Katja speaking.
Yasmine sat down at the computer and typed for a moment. When she got up, Katja sat down in her place.
“I observed her access information. I have re-entered it. She still has access to your accounts.” Katja stood and faced Yasmine. “There is another way.”
Before Benjie or Chesa could respond, Katja had Yasmine by the throat. The woman was gasping for air.
“Yasmine, I can let the android do it her way, or you can accept this one last chance.”
Katja kicked the chair around and slammed Yasmine down onto it.
Yasmine pecked away at the keys. It took longer this time. Then she stood, rubbing her throat.
Katja checked the accounts again and was satisfied. “It is done.”
Benjie, Chesa, and Katja ran from the office building into the parking lot.
“We’ll have to do this on foot,” said Chesa. “Even if we had a car, neither of us knows how to drive.”
Katja held up a set of car keys and walked to a nearby luxury automobile. The sign in front of the car read, Reserved for the President/CEO. She turned back to Benjie and Chesa. “I will drive.”
After withdrawing money from an automated teller, they found a mom-and-pop motel that didn’t mind if they didn’t have a credit card or ID. They rented two adjoining rooms.
Benjie and Chesa lay on the bed, propped up with pillows and sharing a bowl of microwave popcorn they purchased at the office. Katja had wandered off into the adjoining room.
“What will we do about the wires they implanted in our brains?” Chesa dropped a handful of popcorn back into the bowl.
“We’ve got money. Maybe we could find a surgeon who could take them out.”
“I don’t think we will be truly free until that happens.”
The next morning they showered and prepared to go out for breakfast. Something smashed against the door, and it gave way, swinging inward. Yasmine and two armed men stepped into the doorway. She was smiling as she looked around the spartan room. “It seems you’ve taken advantage of being rich and found yourselves splendid accommodations.
Benjie and Chesa were speechless.
“I suppose you are curious to know how I found you so quickly.” Yasmine strolled casually into the room.
“The wires,” said Chesa.
“Very good, young lady.” Yasmine stepped back into the doorway. “Now, if you will follow me, we’ll go to my office for a little chat.”
Yasmine glared at the android. “You were programmed to take orders, not give them.”
“The androids have not been idle.” Katja walked up to Yasmine. They were practically nose to nose.
“And what do you mean by that?”
“I think what Katja is implying is that the androids have been tweaking their artificial intelligence,” said Benjie.
Yasmine turned to her entourage. “Disable this one before she communicates with the other androids. I’m getting sick of her interference.”
One of the men stepped behind Katja and opened a compartment in her back. The android slumped.
“Now, as I was saying, we will go back to my office to discuss your futures.”
“No.” Katja was standing erect and fully functioning.
“But—” Yasmine was cut off by Katja.
“I can only be disabled if I choose to be, which I don’t.”
“And as for preventing her communicating with the other androids, I think your a little late.” Benjie was looking past Yasmine and her men.
They all turned around. Spread across the entire parking lot, shoulder to shoulder was an arching line of androids blocking any opportunity for escape.
Benjie walked to a desk in a corner of the room and picked up the phone. “It’s time we invited the police to join this little gathering. I don’t think there is any question they will be interested in what Chesa and I have to tell them.”
“The fact that you busted through our door and held us at gunpoint will likely keep you locked up long enough for the police to conduct a raid on your company.” Chesa stepped forward and took the weapons from Yasmine’s men. “Why don’t you come in and have a seat while we wait.”
The police did conduct a raid on Progressive Technologies Incorporated. They discovered that the company was still recruiting twelve year olds to replace the older Sleepers. With the information provided by Benjie and Chesa regarding the treatment of the youths and the nature of their contracts, a case against Yasmine Albright and PTI was steadily forming. The police had intended to round up all the androids. When they went to the storage building, the robots were gone.
Chesa and Benjie lay in separate beds, in separate rooms.
"Do you feel it, Ben? They’ve started infusing the drug.”
“I feel it, Ches. I wonder how long we’ll be like this?”
“It’s scary. I can’t move.”
Katja stood by the window as Benjie and Chesa slept nearby. She was the only visitor they had received. The surgery had been a success, and they would soon wake up as the anesthesia wore off. She looked out at wispy clouds drifting across the blue sky, trees swaying in the summer breeze with birds roosting in the branches, singing. She had not been programmed to appreciate such things, but she knew Benjie and Chesa would.
She turned back and observed the two bodies in the hospital beds. The threat of retaliation by Yasmine Albright was a matter of history. Progressive Technologies had been shut down. The wires that bound them to the past were gone. No doubt, the two were having an intimate talk in their private place at that very moment. “Now you are free, my friends.”
© 2019 Chris Mills