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A Free Lunch

A Free Lunch

            “That robot took my Job!”, “What do you mean there isn’t any money anymore, how will I get paid?”, “My job doesn’t exist, what do I do now?”, “You bankrupted me! I want my money back!”. The mob screamed outside the offices of Weird Tech Innovations Enterprises.

            “Excuse me ma’am,” a voice said from the doorway, “the mob is preventing incoming shipments of raw materials from reaching us.”

            “When will the shuttles be ready?” the woman at the window asked as she peered down at the mob below her.

            “Tomorrow, but we won’t be able to start shipping with them until next week for logistical reasons.” Her assistant at the door checked over his notes on his tablet. “Of course, we still have enough raw materials to last us another ninety-two days, though it is a major drain on our energy resources. The government says they are still interested in our power plant technology; however, they do not want to give us a nationwide contract until the general populace adjusts more to the current changes.”

            With a heavy sigh the woman sat down at her desk. In the old days she could have at least said that she had a good job and made a lot of money. Today however she had personally helped remove money as the default currency. Over sixty percent of jobs had already been replaced with automation with the other thirty percent to be replaced over the next five years. This didn’t mean everyone was without work, as thousands of jobs were being created daily as everyone adjusted to the new moneyless society. “Philo, can I ask you a question?”

            “Of course,” he stammered.

            “Do you like your job? I mean, you’re not getting paid, that’s not how things work anymore. So, I need to know, why are you still here.” she looked up at him with a tired anticipation.

            He smiled and looked down at his tablet, for a few minutes he said nothing then handed it to his boss. On the screen was a news article about the impending change dated five years ago in 2020. It credited the change to MTI Ent. and its CEO Tulip Yıldız for building the technology that would make it possible. “I’ve learned that there is more to life than a paycheck, and I believe this company has created a positive work environment to move forward with that vision. We are granted free education, we work as needed, and are encouraged to pursue hobbies and activities in our spare time. I’ll admit the shock of little things like getting groceries without paying and giving up my vehicle took a lot of getting used to. Still, we’re finally seeing massive declines in conditions of anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and violence.”

            He reached down and flicked to the next related story, it was about a group of thieves that returned a hundred television sets they had taken in broad daylight. According to the article they had realized the futility of stealing in a moneyless society as there was no benefit to stealing them. “Why are you showing me these?” Tulip asked having read both stories repeatedly.

“Because ma’am, I want you to remember what you’ve done for all of us. Everyday I come into work I get to learn from one of the greatest minds in the world. It hasn’t always been easy sure, but it has never been boring and has always shown me a new way of looking at whatever oppressing problem threatened the company at that given time.” He took a seat across from her as she scrolled through other stories praising the work they had done.

Finally, she shut the tablet off and sat back in her chair, “Thank you Philo, I really needed that right now. You know Kim isn’t talking to me since she lost her job. She’s had several offers for new programming jobs, but she says she needs time. She’s also under a lot of fire when she leaves the house from similarly upset people. One group even threw rancid apples at her.”

“That’s disturbingly poetic, but it’s not her fault, that company had burnt their bridges with the rest of the technological community years ago, she can hardly be blamed for their collapse.” he defended.

Tulip sighed and turned back to the window, “We did nothing to incite this mob either but they are holding us responsible all the same.”

Philo stood and walked over to the window, “People like to see the worst because it distracts from their own lives. Now their lives have been taken care of, they only need to work if they want to, but people get accustomed to complaining. It’s a bad habit like swearing, but it won’t change anything for them or anyone else. They just need an outlet for their confusion and have chosen us.”

“I know you’re right but I still feel like I’ve failed them.” Tulip sighed.

“Give it a bit, they just need time to adjust to everything. They’ll see the beauty in their new freedom once they have time to sit down and really register the freedom that’s been given to them.” As Philo spoke a food truck had pulled up and started handing out various food dishes. Several people began slowly drifting away from the mob as they praised the wonderful food truck that gave them a free lunch. The two in the office chuckled as they realized all the lunches would be free now.

Writing Prompt:

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
— Abraham Lincoln

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