I was only eight at the time, but I still vividly remember the sound of those prosthetic tool-hands pounding the surface of our luxury ground vehicle, bouncing off its smooth, composite skin and shiny windows like a hail of fists and fingers. The crowd of irate workers swarmed our vehicle at the gate to Dad’s tech plant, disconnecting their tool-hands, flinging them at us en masse. Every man and woman there had exchanged a real hand for a surgically implanted tool-hand, calibrated specifically for work in that plant. It was a condition of their employment.
* * * *
Dad sold their cryogenically stored organic hands to the medical market on the Q.T. and made a fortune. Then he laid the one-handed workers off.
My father was enraged at what he called their impertinence. “What right have they to protest my business decisions?” he shouted.
The next thing I knew, he’d stepped out of the vehicle to give the crowd a piece of his mind. Meanwhile, our chauffeur Richards sat at the controls of the vehicle, grinning from ear to ear. He knew the score. It was his fellow AI workers who’d replace them. They were willing to work for less and they didn’t require any expensive physical modifications.
The door to the vehicle flew open and Dad fell in, bruised and bleeding. They’d given him a piece of their minds, too. Richards gunned the vehicle across the deactivated electrical security grid. Some of the protesters managed to pursue us through the open gate, and got fried on the reactivated grid for their effort.
The incident at the plant gate gave me a valuable insight into the boundless wealth and power that would one day be mine.
I could hardly wait.
Thomas Koperwas is a retired teacher living in Windsor, Ontario, Canada who writes short stories of horror, crime, fantasy, and science fiction. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in:Anotherealm; Jakob’s Horror Box; Literally Stories; The Literary Hatchet; Literary Veganism; Blood Moon Rising Magazine; Corner Bar Magazine; Free Bundle Magazine.