Tuesday, October 25, 2022

“Mother Noodges Best” • by Allan Dyen-Shapiro


Sure, the recruiter had told Junfeng about the brain surgery Tiger Software demanded of its employees, but still. “Boss, I can’t do this anymore. It’s dredging up too much trauma.”

Bob, Junfeng’s boss, flashed a sympathetic smile. “Who else would help maximize your productivity? You knew the procedure would draw someone from your memories who only you could see.”

HAUNTing—Human Ability Up-Regulatory Nudging of the Talented. Post-procedure, the only person tougher on Junfeng than he was on himself stood in front of him 24/7, an augmented reality version only he could see or hear.

“Fix your tie,” his mother said. “You look like a slob.”

Junfeng excused himself from the meeting and headed toward the restroom.

“Promise me you’re not going to touch yourself. That’s disgusting.”

“Mom, I’m exhausted. I need time off.”

“I didn’t raise a slacker.”

Junfeng pondered—what would distract his mom? Finally, he hit on it. “You’ll never have grandkids if you don’t let me socialize.”


Or not. A younger Chinese woman appeared beside Mom. Three children played underfoot.

“You’ll love marriage,” Mom said. “And AI kids behave better. Now, get back to work.”

“Listen to your mom,” Junfeng’s new wife said.


Allan Dyen-Shapiro is a Ph.D. biochemist currently working as an educator. He's sold stories to numerous markets including Flash Fiction Online and Grantville Gazette. He also co-edited an anthology of SFF set in the Middle East. He is a member of SFWA and Codex. You can find links to his published stories (and some freebies) as well as his blog, where he opines on matters of interest to those who might like his fiction (environmentalism, futurism, science, literature, and science fiction in all media), at allandyenshapiro.com. Follow him on Twitter (@Allan_author_SF); friend him on Facebook (allandyenshapiro.author).