Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Short Story - "Pepper" - Part I

Inspiration from BladeRunner, 1982

“Hello! How can I help you sir?” The brunette sitting behind the desk asked the tall gentleman, staring quizzically at her. The man looked back at the door, he seconds before walked through, debating his decision to find out more. The brunette cocked her head to the side sharply, showing impatience at the man’s lack of response.

“Sir, are you in need of maintenance or are you here for an inquiry?” The brunette added, attempting to coax a response out of the man.

“Maintenance?” The man, startled by the brunette’s assumption, added, “No, No. I am not one of them. I, um, I’m here for I guess, inquiry.” He waved his hand to motion the no response & furrowed his brow at his last statement.

“Okay. Please be seated. An advisor will be with you shortly. For precautionary measures, your visit will be logged due to the new Section 24 Agreement. To confirm, you are human, right?” the brunette prodded.

“Yes, Yes. I’ve been human for 31 years. What about you, Missy?” The man, annoyed, retorted back.

“Whether or not you are human is a standard question for this facility. Additionally, I am not governed to answer your question because I am not on trial here. Please state your full name."

"John. My name is John Strummer Morn. My father had a thing for The Clash." The man half smiled to the brunette, expecting a sign of emotional response from her. If she was one of them, she would know who Strummer was from the programming, but, she blinked without showing any recognition of the old name. She looked down and wrote in perfect cursive the man's name on the yellow sign in sheet. 

"Thank you, Mr. Morn. Please be seated. An advisor will be with you shortly.” The brunette repeated in the exact monotone she previously used to say this trained statement. 

“Oh, okay. My apologies miss. I did not mean to be disrespectful of this establishment. I have a situation and I don’t know how to handle it. How long is ‘shortly’ for an advisor?”

“Ten minutes is the maximum allotted time to keep a human waiting. We feel that is enough time before patience levels become an issue. Does your situation warrant the presence of an authority figure? 

"I'm not sure. I think the love of my life could be one of the androids but is pretending to be human. I can't tell. She breathes, she eats, she uses the bathroom, her body responds when I touch..." The man's cheeks became flushed at his embarrassing thought.  

The man could have sworn he saw a fleeting expression of emotion on the brunettes' face when her mouth parted slightly and her perfect makeup creased around her eyes. The mask went back up immediately or he could have imagined her worried response. The brunette looked up at the camera that was behind the man for her safety and then inched forward towards the man so she was out of view of the seeking eye. 

"The best test is blow pepper in her face. It's harsh, I know. If she is one of the androids she would have no reaction. It's not programmed for them to respond to the effect. If she's human, of course she'll sneeze. That's your test. That's the only conclusive test there is to try." The brunette whispered fast into John's face. The man gasped at the simplicity of her confession and the change in the woman he pegged to being one of them. How could he have missed something so simple, he thought.

The pair of strangers heard the loud footsteps coming closer from down the hall. A police officer appeared in the space of the hallway leading back to the facility. "Savannah, is everything okay?"

Savannah looked up at the police officer and smiled, rejuvenating her sleeping laugh lines. "Yes. We have a gentleman here for inquiry. Please let Dr. Feingold know. It has been 3 minutes of wait time, George." The policeman nodded and turned to go back the way he came. 

"Please be seated, Mr. Morn. An advisor will be with you shortly." Savannah once again, directed. 

"Are you human, Savannah? I assume that's your name?" John asked still staring intently at the brunette.

"Wouldn't you like to know... Please be seated." 

To be continued...


  1. Well well you already have me drawn in. I am so excited that you are writing another short story on here now!!

  2. Very interesting, wow cant wait, part 2 pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee...

  3. Nice job...i always admire writer who can write short stories and whole books...i don't think i could ever do that! :)

  4. have me interest peaked!

    Ali of

  5. I love how you tied "Strummer" into it. :) I also love the part about the pepper test - brilliant! Excellent writing, Chloe!!! I'm looking forward to reading more!


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