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Final Fridays (by Natalia Yanchak)

Final Fridays (by Natalia Yanchak)

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,274|Likes:
Published by Natalia Yanchak
First short story from Natalia Yanchak. Listen to the podcast version here: http://soundcloud.com/nataliayanchak/final_fridays
First short story from Natalia Yanchak. Listen to the podcast version here: http://soundcloud.com/nataliayanchak/final_fridays

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Published by: Natalia Yanchak on Jun 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/15/2011

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Final Fridays
by Natalia Yanchak Elton's desk is in a cubicle that lies within a matrix of hundreds of other cubicles, sprawling across awindowless 32nd floor. Each morning he stares at the blank faces of his co-workers as they exit theelevator. Disenchantment ruminates as the week drags on.His eyes dart from his data screen to the clock at the top of his monitor. At the moment he sees 4:59update to 5:00, Elton spins down the cloud drives, gets up and grabs the jacket hanging on the back of his chair. He leans over, types his logout code and turns to leave. Blocking his path is a short hospitalityrobot holding a tray of steaming hot cups of coffee.“Leaving so soon, Mr. Barnes?” it utters.“What is this?”“Final Friday.“What?”“The final Friday of the month, everybody stays until 7PM and receives a complimentary coffee at5PM, to celebrate the time at which they would normally finish work.”“No. Uh - that's a terrible idea. I'm leaving.”“I understand,” it pauses, unmoving. “Mr. Barnes, I have just sent a non-compliance message toyour superior. Are you sure you would not like your complimentary Final Friday coffee?”“No, I'm leaving. Excuse me.” The giant tray of plastic coffee cups hinders his exit.“But enjoying a coffee is mandatory, under the Contract Code paragraph 244.8.”“Under the what now?” Elton notices his boss waddling through the trenches towards them.The robot continues: “The Contract Code. MM's standard code of conduct for all employees andproperty. Why, even I am obligated to enjoy a coffee once all other employee coffees have beendistributed. However, if I may, the heat of the liquid does not always sit well in my esophageal receiverreceptacle.”Gary has made his way over, holding a coffee cup in one hand, he hooks the other arm over thecubby wall: “Elton. I expected non-compliance of you earlier in the month, to be honest.”“What is this Gary? This tin can won't let me leave.”
 
“Sir, I am a hospitality robot, not a tin can and I take offence -”“Oh shush it, robot.” Elton is exhausted by the whole thing, part of him thinks he
could 
use a coffeeabout now. “Listen, Gary. I'm not doing Final Fridays.”Gary lets out an enormous sigh. “We all have to do Final Fridays.” He takes a sip of coffee.“Gary, come on. How long have we known each other? How many missions did we fly back in theday? I'll put in two extra hours over the weekend. I can synch the cloud from home...”The robot interrupts: “Your coffee is at its optimal temperature for consumption, Mr. Barnes.” Garyand Elton both ignore it.“I know you well enough, Elton, but things have changed around here. We have to stick to therules.”“Let me work form home. I swear the work will get done. We can uplink the research data via directstream. I'll put in the extra time and MM payroll doesn't have to know about the hours it takes me to setup the protocols.”Gary lets out a long, laboured breath and exchanges an impatient and defeated look with thehospitality robot. The robot moves aside.“Thank you, Gary. I'll make it up to you.” Elton reaches out to shake his hand. Gary grabs it firmly,before pulling back, forcing a smile. Elton steps into the aisle, putting on his jacket.“I'm sure.” Gary mumbles, walking back towards his own desk. Elton checks his pockets for his IDpack, which is still sitting on his desk. He steps back into the cubby to grab it.When he turns around to finally leave, the hospitality robot has returned to its original position,blocking his path.“Leaving so soon, Mr. Barnes?”“What? Don't you have any memory in there?”“I am equipped with a rewritable long-term data bank but my short-term memory bank is somewhataffected by the humidity of this coffee, and so my recall rate is only 8 seconds.”“I have to go. Please let me go.”“Don't you want your Final Friday coffee? It
is
mandatory, you know.”Elton closes his eyes. He imagines smashing the tray from beneath in a single, swift uppercut motion,sending coffee cups and hot brown liquid flying everywhere. Steam emits from the hospitality robot'smetallic exo-dermis, a white plastic cup lid lands jauntily on the robot's head. Elton's eyes open, he

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