Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






art by Seth Alan Bareiss

Experience

Ephiny works as a theatre maker, writer, and arts manager in Melbourne, Australia. Her fiction has appeared in Silver Blade, Fried Fiction and Silver & Green Magazine, and is forthcoming in Postscripts to Darkness. More info at ephinygale.com.
I examine the girl across the table. Well dressed, in that way that seems to afflict young people, where the sleeves of the suit jacket have been properly tailored but still give the vague impression of playing dress-up. Glasses. I wonder if they're cosmetic, to try and blend into the industry. Polite smile. She fiddles subtly with a ring on her middle finger.
I realize I've been silent too long, and perhaps that's getting a bit mean.
"When I took this job," I say, "we had a seven-day handover."
The girl nods. "That must have been nice. It must have been nice to get to know each other, you know, as people."
I'm thankful I only have to spend fifteen minutes with her. At most, she is a third of my age. She has only seen four shows in this theatre.
"You got excellent test scores," I say.
She looks bashful. "Best in the country, I'm told."
With particularly high scores on "vision," which is laughable.
I slide the saucer with the pill across the desk. It sits beside her glass of water. "Well, when you're ready."
She stares at me for a moment. Takes a swig of the water and drops the pill deliberately into her mouth. It's too big to swallow comfortably. She grips the arms of the chair, her eyes snap closed and her head slumps forward, shaking slightly.
I've seen two of these before and they still worry me.
I had the pill made yesterday, with the help of the technicians from NextGen Human Resources. I'm assured it only contains my professional memories. The nooks and crannies of each theatre, the first show I directed when I started here fourteen years ago. The latest statistics on what draws thirty- to sixty-five-year-olds (our key demographic) through the gilded doors. More than forty-five years' experience condensed in a single capsule.
I worry it also contains the memories of Leo and me making out in the wings, after-hours on the opening night of The Merchant of Venice. The gorgeous prop that probably would've been thrown out if I hadn't rescued it and brought it home, even though I really shouldn't have. The bottles of liquor I hid in my office for a couple of years, back when I was courting a not-quite-depression. Other transgressions I have forgotten even happened, but might be in the pill regardless.
I remind myself I am retiring, and even if the girl knows and tells, very little will happen to me.
After a minute or so, she opens her eyes. There is something older and sadder in them. She clasps her hands on her lap and furrows her brow. "I'm sorry," she declares, "I didn't know."
"About what?"
"Everything you did to get here."
I feel it catch in my throat, then--the exhaustion, the bleeding fingers, the rejected social events, the men who left me because I was never home, the child I put off until it was too late--and take a long swig of my own drink. I tell myself the girl doesn't know all of this.
"Oh. Well. Not your fault," I say. "You got the best test scores. You'll do the best job."
We stand and shake hands. She says she'll take good care of the theatre. I take my box of possessions and leave my office for the last time.
I think of all the times I've been rejected for lack of experience. And I laugh.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, January 28th, 2013

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

5.1 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us