Wednesday, November 10, 2021

"Out With the Old" • by Eric Fomley



The process server I’d been dodging for months spotted me. I was taking the old boat out when I saw the sniveling little ‘bot coming down the pier. 

I gunned it.

“Oh,” he said to me over my HUD. “Running from a legal entity on a boat. Brilliant plan, sir.” 

I ignored him. 

When I looked back, the server ‘bot flashed some documentation to another boat owner who let him climb on board and take off after me.

“Damn it.” If he caught up with me… I thrust the throttle forward and the front end of my boat rose out of the water.

“You should slow down, sir. At this speed it’s nearly impossible to make course corrections.”

As if on cue, I wrecked on something hard. There was a loud crunch and I was in the air, plunging into the harbor. I surfaced and gasped, treading water. 

My boat sank, the back half barely propped up by whatever rocks I’d hit. The process server’s boat drifted past the wreckage, coming to a relative stop in front of me.

I squinted when I looked up. The ‘bot’s dull, yellow eyes peered overboard at me. 

“I told you to slow down,'' it said, as it opened its chest and produced a 3D printed waterproof box. It shuffled some paperwork inside and handed the box to me. 

“You have been served.”

I reached for it but let it drop into the water beside me. I didn’t need to look inside to see the divorce decree. It was over. 

My boat pitched, dislodging from whatever rock it was on, and disappeared into the harbor. The boat was all I had left of her, of us.

I guess it was time for a new one.

¤     ¤     ¤

Eric Fomley’s
work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Galaxy’s Edge, Flame Tree Press, and The Black Library. You can read more of his work on his website at or buy him a coffee in exchange for a story at