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The Machine

July 30, 2014
tags:

A piece of short fiction that acknowledges a stylistic debt to Mallory Ortberg’s wonderful Texts From.

 

 

 

hey

 

oh hey

 

you ok?

 

fine, you?

 

well
I wanted to ask you something actually

 

sure

 

ok, so
sometimes this gets awkward
I’m hoping it’s not going to get awkward but
it’s kind of got to the point where
look
can we talk about the machine?

 

what machine

 

you know, THE machine

 

there are a lot of machines, you’re going to have to be more specific

 

YOUR machine

 

i don’t have a fucking machine, okay

 

see, now it’s getting awkward
lemme start again ok
ages and ages ago your grandpa built a machine, yes?

 

i guess

 

and that machine hurt a lot of people

 

if you say so

 

yes, yes it did

 

your grandpa used to send it out ot hurt people and break their stuff and steal chickens

 

whats your point

 

well here’s the thing
the machine didn’t stop
your grandpa died, but the machine didn’t stop
it’s still doing what he programed it to do
every nght
it comes out of your bsaement and hurts people and breaks their stuff

 

so
like
you want me to apologize for my fuckin dead grandfather, is that it

 

no
no, I don’t
never mind

 

 


 

 

okay so

 

hi

 

i was thinking about what you said
about the machine

 

were you?

 

yeah but look i dont know what you want me to actually do though
i mean i went down and checked it out, yeah?
i guess it’s kind of possible that what you said is true

 

you guess

 

yeah i mean it does kinda look like it might have been out
at some point
recently-ish

 

it very definitely is out every night, trust me

 

well ok but even so
i had a look at it
and i mean, i know NOTHING about this shit. i dunno how it works. i didn’t see like an off switch or anything
so
i dunno what you want me to do

 

I think you would need to totally dismantle it

 

lolol
haha
as if
i told you, i don’t know shit about machines. i’d just hurt myself or something

 

I see.

 

 


 

 

hi, are you there?

 

i guess

 

so, you know we talked about the machine? well can I ask just one thing. a very specific small thing that I thnk you could do pretty easily.

 

uh
maybe?

 

you know the pincer?

 

uh

 

The big, grabby, sharp pointy bit on the front. You can’t miss it.

 

oh is that a pincer, i thought it was like… a

 

well, we call it the pincer because it’s what it uses to crush things and steal the chickens

 

k

 

our chickens, that it takes back into your house all the time.

 

it does that? ijust thought we had a lot of chickens lololol

 

no

 

lol

 

no.
so, could you try and just disable the pincer? that one thing would really make a huge difference. i’m pretty sure that if you get at it while it’s recharging, you could unscrew it easily.

 

haha sorry no way, that sounds dangerous.

 

please

 

i don’t think so

 

well can you let me, or one of our engineers in to try?

 

look
i can’t just go letting anyone in to mess with the machine
no offense but you might do anything

 

 


 

 

so how about you at least give some of the chickens back?

 

what chickens

 

YOU KNOW WHAT CHICKENS

 

yeah but
we’re using them now

 

ALL of them/

 

i dunno probably we use a lot of chickens

 

we use considerably less than we used to

 

so you’re used to it now, right
look but
look anyway
id love to help but
how would we even know which are your chickens
they all look like fuckn chickems
wouldnt wanna give you one of ours by accident lol

 

 


 

 

Hi.

 

you again

 

me again
I want you to do something.

 

lol don’t we all

 

Your machine doesn’t maintain itself. After your grandpa died, it shoud have fallen apart on its own by now.

 

IT@S NOT MY MACHINE

 

I know, I know it’s not. And I’m not asking you to do anything to it this time!

 

ok

 

This is about your uncle Joe.

 

what about him

 

I think he’s been oiling and fixing the machine. And I saw him go into your cellar with boxes, and the next night, the machine had new parts on it.

 

so

 

So he’s keeping it running, and he’s adding to it.

 

i don’t see what this has to do with me

 

well, can’t you make him stop?

 

he’s an adult isn’t he, i’m not responsible for uncle joe
not my problem sorry
talk to joe if you care so much

 

OH sure, I’ll just ask the guy running the machine that’s destroying my life to stop runnig the machine thats destoying my life when he’s clearly VERY invested in running the machine that;s destroying my life, sure, that’ll work

 

k

 

 


 

 

Hey.

 

the fuck is it now?

 

I saw you.

 

sorry dunno what your’e talking about

 

You were going into the basement with an oilcan and a screwdriver. Why?

 

oh ffs

 

What were you doing with the machine?

 

jeez just stop would you what the fuck is wrong woth you. i told you, i’m on your side, aren’t i?

 

Are you? Then tell me what you were doing.

 

look, it was too noisy, ok? bits kept fallig off and crashing and it was making this screeeeeching noise.

 

It was starting to break down!!! We’ve been trying to weaken it, and it was working!!!1

 

well it was too loud, and i was trying to sleep so i oiled it and tightened some bits up till it was quiet
i need to fuckin sleep
what do you expect me to do
???

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