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FOR WRITERS: I’ll Show You Mine


Some of you may have heard that we’re running a little flash fiction contest. The theme this year is “Renewal”, and some folks have had a hard time wrapping their minds around it and figuring out how to construct a flash fiction story from it.

Angel had a great idea – to invite the folks who aren’t eligible to enter – Scott, the judges, and MCB – to write their own stories as samples.

Here’s Scott’s – the other folks are encouraged to add their own to the FB thread, and we’ll post them on the site too.


The System
J. Scott Coatsworth
299 Words


Hank stared at his three-dee screen in disbelief.

“We’re sorry. We are unable to renew ‘My Gay Cyborg Boyfriend.’ This book has been checked out by the System.”

What the hell was the System doing reading gay porn? He’d been crazy-busy, called in three times that week for unpaid overtime in Reprogramming. People were losing their shit in record numbers these days.

He blamed the System.

“The System will save mankind,” they’d said when they launched it two years before. “It will reorganize every aspect of our society.” He’d even helped create the monster. Hell, it was a paycheck.

Bad idea, though. Fucking recipe for a Terminator, if you asked him. Not that they had.

The reality had turned out to be much more banal. All those new “sharing economy” jobs? Now run by the system. And people had little to do from day to day, as The System took over more and more of their daily work. Thank god for Government Cheese. He snorted.

Autos that flew themselves. Hotel rooms that self-cleaned and rented themselves. Hell, he bet even movies would watch themselves one of these days.

And now the goddamned system was reading his library book.

He’d had enough.

He pulled out his touchboard and accessed the grid, logging in with a dummy account he’d created years before. For all its complexity, programming hardware was still a lot more straightforward than the wetware of people’s brains.

When he’d helped build the System, he’d left himself a backdoor, just in case. He’d been an untrusting bastard even then.

Was it still there?


He snuck inside. This was gonna take some time, as the System was spread throughout Thundercloud. He’d have to lock the door behind him.

He grinned.

Time to give the System a little renewal.


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1 thought on “FOR WRITERS: I’ll Show You Mine”

  1. Well, I haven’t yet seen any other entries in the Ineligible To Enter the Renewal Contest Contest, but I enjoyed this one tremendously. Got a great smile out of it at the end. I’m penciling Scott in for at least the USD 13.97 third place cash award. Now c’mon, you Ineligibles! Show us what you got!


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