Flash Fiction Friday: Memory in the Age of Cybernetics


First Iteration – The Wonders of Modern Technology

…Access Denied. Incorrect Passcode. Please Try Again…

…Access Denied. Incorrect Passcode.

…Please Try Again…

…Access Denied…

…Please Try Again…

…Incorrect Passcode…

…Please Try Again…

…Please Try Again…

Second Iteration – Memory in the Age of Cybernetics

Time to declare war, I think, on the passcode. Bloody useless things really, when you get down to it, and there are so many. A code for this, a code for that, remember throw in some Capital LeTters in odd places just to make it interesting, and if one is feeling particularly clever one can throw nu4mb8rs6 i4n at random, because numbers are the spice of life, or something. And above all, whatever you do, don’t write your password down. Or so they say. But when you’ve got forty-five and a half, sometimes a memory aide is called for. Human memory isn’t what it used to be, back in the days before computers. Of course, even in those forgotten days of yesteryear there were and passwords, and passcodes, and magic words.

In the beginning there was “Open sesame,” well not really. In the beginning there was probably something along the lines of “Argh,” and there was another pre-historic bastard, perhaps the original pre-historic bastard, wondering if the cave man outside had put the stress on the “r” or the “gh.” In any case, eventually there was “open sesame” which seems suitably random as far as magic passwords go, but turned out to be less foolproof than hoped. The password, therefore, has never been quite as effective as advertised but still one must have one, or six, or seven, or forty-five, and occasionally, but only occasionally mind you, one of them can slip your mind. This can be extremely frustrating, and, as in the present instance, unfortunate.

This is not merely an academic exercise, a literary exorcism of frustration. It is true I ma have been waxing philosophical, but I do that when I’m nervous. And I am. Nervous, I mean. Very nervous, in fact, and with good reason. This, you see, is a Nuclear Storage Facility, one of seven, and it is filled with very complicated machines and computers and such all designed to keep very, very bad things from happening, and those do work remarkably well. Except when they don’t. Like now.

Fortunately there are contingencies and fallback plans that, as far as I’m aware, should function perfectly. Unfortunately, like all sensitive information, these contingencies are protected by a passcode so that only those with proper authorization can trigger them. I, myself, lack the necessary authority, but see that gentleman over there in the cap, sweating profusely and looking like he’s a mere ten seconds from a breakdown, that’s Jacobs and he does have the necessary authority. He has also, however, forgotten his passcode, which is, as I said, most unfortunate. By my count he has tried forty different passwords so far, and he appears to be running out of ideas and time, can’t forget time. The giant clock counting down to our own private doomsday makes sure it’s never far from our minds.

Oh look! He’s trying again. Faster damn you! Type faster!

Access Denied. Incorrect Passcode…

Third Iteration – The Definition of Insanity

…Please Try Again…


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