Yellow Mama Archives

Jay Adair
Home
Adair, Jay
Adhikari, Sudeep
Ahern, Edward
Aldrich, Janet M.
Allan, T. N.
Allen, M. G.
Ammonds, Phillip J.
Anderson, Fred
Anderson, Peter
Andreopoulos, Elliott
Arab, Bint
Armstrong, Dini
Augustyn, P. K.
Aymar, E. A.
Babbs, James
Baber, Bill
Bagwell, Dennis
Bailey, Ashley
Bailey, Thomas
Baird, Meg
Bakala, Brendan
Baker, Nathan
Balaz, Joe
BAM
Barber, Shannon
Barker, Tom
Barlow, Tom
Bates, Jack
Bayly, Karen
Baugh, Darlene
Bauman, Michael
Baumgartner, Jessica Marie
Beale, Jonathan
Beck, George
Beckman, Paul
Benet, Esme
Bennett, Brett
Bennett, Charlie
Bennett, D. V.
Benton, Ralph
Berg, Carly
Berman, Daniel
Bernardara, Will Jr.
Berriozabal, Luis
Beveridge, Robert
Bickerstaff, Russ
Bigney, Tyler
Blackwell, C. W.
Bladon, Henry
Blake, Steven
Blakey, James
Bohem, Charlie Keys and Les
Bonner, Kim
Booth, Brenton
Boski, David
Bougger, Jason
Boyd, A. V.
Boyd, Morgan
Boyle, James
Bracey, DG
Brewka-Clark, Nancy
Britt, Alan
Broccoli, Jimmy
Brooke, j
Brown, R. Thomas
Brown, Sam
Bruce, K. Marvin
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Burton, Michael
Bushtalov, Denis
Butcher, Jonathan
Butkowski, Jason
Butler, Simon Hardy
Butler, Terence
Cameron, W. B.
Campbell, J. J.
Campbell, Jack Jr.
Cano, Valentina
Cardinale, Samuel
Cardoza, Dan A.
Carlton, Bob
Carr, Jennifer
Cartwright, Steve
Carver, Marc
Castle, Chris
Catlin, Alan
Chesler, Adam
Christensen, Jan
Clausen, Daniel
Clevenger, Victor
Clifton, Gary
Cmileski, Sue
Cody, Bethany
Coey, Jack
Coffey, James
Colasuonno, Alfonso
Condora, Maddisyn
Conley, Jen
Connor, Tod
Cooper, Malcolm Graham
Copes, Matthew
Coral, Jay
Corrigan, Mickey J.
Cosby, S. A.
Costello, Bruce
Cotton, Mark
Coverley, Harris
Crandall, Rob
Criscuolo, Carla
Crist, Kenneth
Cross, Thomas X.
D., Jack
Dallett, Cassandra
Danoski, Joseph V.
Daly, Sean
Davies, J. C.
Davis, Christopher
Davis, Michael D.
Day, Holly
de Bruler, Connor
Degani, Gay
De France, Steve
De La Garza, Lela Marie
Deming, Ruth Z.
Demmer, Calvin
De Neve, M. A.
Dennehy, John W.
DeVeau, Spencer
Di Chellis, Peter
Dillon, John J.
DiLorenzo, Ciro
Dilworth, Marcy
Dioguardi, Michael Anthony
Dionne, Ron
Dobson, Melissa
Domenichini, John
Dominelli, Rob
Doran, Phil
Doreski, William
Dority, Michael
Dorman, Roy
Doherty, Rachel
Dosser, Jeff
Doyle, Jacqueline
Doyle, John
Draime, Doug
Drake, Lena Judith
Dromey, John H.
Dubal, Paul Michael
Duke, Jason
Duncan, Gary
Dunham, T. Fox
Duschesneau, Pauline
Dunn, Robin Wyatt
Duxbury, Karen
Duy, Michelle
Eade, Kevin
Elliott, Garnett
Ellman, Neil
England, Kristina
Erianne, John
Espinosa, Maria
Esterholm, Jeff
Fallow, Jeff
Farren, Jim
Fedolfi, Leon
Fenster, Timothy
Ferraro, Diana
Filas, Cameron
Fillion, Tom
Fisher, Miles Ryan
Flanagan, Daniel N.
Flanagan, Ryan Quinn
Flynn, Jay
Fortunato, Chris
Francisco, Edward
Frank, Tim
Fugett, Brian
Funk, Matthew C.
Gann, Alan
Gardner, Cheryl Ann
Garvey, Kevin Z.
Gay, Sharon Frame
Gentile, Angelo
Genz, Brian
Giersbach, Walter
Gladeview, Lawrence
Glass, Donald
Goddard, L. B.
Godwin, Richard
Goff, Christopher
Golds, Stephen J.
Goss, Christopher
Gradowski, Janel
Graham, Sam
Grant, Christopher
Grant, Stewart
Greenberg, K.J. Hannah
Greenberg, Paul
Grey, John
Guirand, Leyla
Gunn, Johnny
Gurney, Kenneth P.
Hagerty, David
Haglund, Tobias
Halleck, Robert
Hamlin, Mason
Hanson, Christopher Kenneth
Hanson, Kip
Harrington, Jim
Harris, Bruce
Hart, GJ
Hartman, Michelle
Hartwell, Janet
Haskins, Chad
Hawley, Doug
Haycock, Brian
Hayes, A. J.
Hayes, John
Hayes, Peter W. J.
Heatley, Paul
Heimler, Heidi
Helmsley, Fiona
Hendry, Mark
Heslop, Karen
Heyns, Heather
Hilary, Sarah
Hill, Richard
Hivner, Christopher
Hockey, Matthew J.
Hogan, Andrew J.
Holderfield, Culley
Holton, Dave
Houlahan, Jeff
Howells, Ann
Hoy, J. L.
Huchu, Tendai
Hudson, Rick
Huffman, A. J.
Huguenin, Timothy G.
Huskey, Jason L.
Ippolito, Curtis
Irascible, Dr. I. M.
Jaggers, J. David
James, Christopher
Jarrett, Nigel
Johnson, Beau
Johnson, Moctezuma
Johnson, Zakariah
Jones, D. S.
Jones, Erin J.
Jones, Mark
Kabel, Dana
Kanach, A.
Kaplan, Barry Jay
Kay, S.
Keaton, David James
Kempka, Hal
Kerins, Mike
Keshigian, Michael
Kevlock, Mark Joseph
King, Michelle Ann
Kirk, D.
Kitcher, William
Knott, Anthony
Koenig, Michael
Kokan, Bob
Kolarik, Andrew J.
Korpon, Nik
Kovacs, Norbert
Kovacs, Sandor
Kowalcyzk, Alec
Krafft, E. K.
Lacks, Lee Todd
Lang, Preston
Larkham, Jack
La Rosa, F. Michael
Leasure, Colt
Leatherwood, Roger
Lees, Arlette
Lees, Lonni
Leins, Tom
Lemieux, Michael
Lemming, Jennifer
Lerner, Steven M
Leverone, Allan
Levine, Phyllis Peterson
Lewis, Cynthia Ruth
Lewis, LuAnn
Licht, Matthew
Lifshin, Lyn
Liskey, Tom Darin
Lodge, Oliver
Lopez, Aurelio Rico III
Lorca, Aurelia
Lovisi, Gary
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Lukas, Anthony
Lynch, Nulty
Lyon, Hillary
Lyons, Matthew
Mac, David
MacArthur, Jodi
Malone, Joe
Mann, Aiki
Manthorne, Julian
Manzolillo, Nicholas
Marcius, Cal
Marrotti, Michael
Mason, Wayne
Mathews, Bobby
Mattila, Matt
Matulich, Joel
McAdams, Liz
McCaffrey, Stanton
McCartney, Chris
McDaris, Catfish
McFarlane, Adam Beau
McGinley, Chris
McGinley, Jerry
McElhiney, Sean
McJunkin, Ambrose
McKim, Marci
McMannus, Jack
McQuiston, Rick
Mellon, Mark
Memi, Samantha
Middleton, Bradford
Miles, Marietta
Miller, Max
Minihan, Jeremiah
Montagna, Mitchel
Monson, Mike
Mooney, Christopher P.
Moran, Jacqueline M.
Morgan, Bill W.
Moss, David Harry
Mullins, Ian
Mulvihill, Michael
Muslim, Kristine Ong
Nardolilli, Ben
Nelson, Trevor
Nessly, Ray
Nester, Steven
Neuda, M. C.
Newell, Ben
Newman, Paul
Nielsen, Ayaz
Nore, Abe
Numann, Randy
Ogurek, Douglas J.
O'Keefe, Sean
Orrico, Connor
Ortiz, Sergio
Pagel, Briane
Park, Jon
Parr, Rodger
Parrish, Rhonda
Partin-Nielsen, Judith
Peralez, R.
Perez, Juan M.
Perez, Robert Aguon
Peterson, Ross
Petroziello, Brian
Petska, Darrell
Pettie, Jack
Petyo, Robert
Phillips, Matt
Picher, Gabrielle
Pierce, Curtis
Pierce, Rob
Pietrzykowski, Marc
Plath, Rob
Pointer, David
Post, John
Powell, David
Power, Jed
Powers, M. P.
Praseth, Ram
Prazych, Richard
Priest, Ryan
Prusky, Steve
Pruitt, Eryk
Purfield, M. E.
Purkis, Gordon
Quinlan, Joseph R.
Quinn, Frank
Rabas, Kevin
Ragan, Robert
Ram, Sri
Rapth, Sam
Ravindra, Rudy
Reich, Betty
Renney, Mark
reutter, g emil
Rhatigan, Chris
Rhiel, Ann Marie
Ribshman, Kevin
Ricchiuti, Andrew
Richardson, Travis
Richey, John Lunar
Ridgeway, Kevin
Rihlmann, Brian
Ritchie, Bob
Ritchie, Salvadore
Robinson, John D.
Robinson, Kent
Rodgers, K. M.
Roger, Frank
Rose, Mandi
Rose, Mick
Rosenberger, Brian
Rosenblum, Mark
Rosmus, Cindy
Ruhlman, Walter
Rutherford, Scotch
Sahms, Diane
Saier, Monique
Salinas, Alex
Sanders, Isabelle
Sanders, Sebnem
Santo, Heather
Savage, Jack
Sayles, Betty J.
Schauber, Karen
Schneeweiss, Jonathan
Schraeder, E. F.
Schumejda, Rebecca
See, Tom
Sethi, Sanjeev
Sexton, Rex
Seymour, J. E.
Shaikh, Aftab Yusuf
Sheagren, Gerald E.
Shepherd, Robert
Shirey, D. L.
Shore, Donald D.
Short, John
Sim, Anton
Simmler, T. Maxim
Simpson, Henry
Sinisi, J. J.
Sixsmith, JD
Slagle, Cutter
Slaviero, Susan
Sloan, Frank
Small, Alan Edward
Smith, Brian J.
Smith, Ben
Smith, C.R.J.
Smith, Copper
Smith, Greg
Smith, Ian C.
Smith, Paul
Smith, Stephanie
Smith, Willie
Smuts, Carolyn
Snethen, Daniel G.
Snoody, Elmore
Sojka, Carol
Solender, Michael J.
Sortwell, Pete
Sparling, George
Spicer, David
Squirrell, William
Stanton, Henry G.
Steven, Michael
Stevens, J. B.
Stewart, Michael S.
Stickel, Anne
Stoler, Cathi
Stolec, Trina
Stoll, Don
Stryker, Joseph H.
Stucchio, Chris
Succre, Ray
Sullivan, Thomas
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swanson, Peter
Swartz, Justin A.
Sweet, John
Tarbard, Grant
Taylor, J. M.
Thompson, John L.
Thompson, Phillip
Ticktin, Ruth
Tillman, Stephen
Titus, Lori
Tivey, Lauren
Tobin, Tim
Torrence, Ron
Tu, Andy
Tustin, John
Ullerich, Eric
Valent, Raymond A.
Valvis, James
Vilhotti, Jerry
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Walker, Dustin
Walsh, Patricia
Walters, Luke
Ward, Emma
Washburn, Joseph
Watt, Max
Weber, R.O.
Weil, Lester L.
White, Judy Friedman
White, Robb
White, Terry
Wickham, Alice
Wilhide, Zach
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wilson, Robley
Wilson, Tabitha
Woodland, Francis
Young, Mark
Yuan, Changming
Zackel, Fred
Zafiro, Frank
Zapata, Angel
Zee, Carly
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas

So Long, and Thanks for All the Texts

By Jay Adair

“Tell me what you remember about the accident.”

Danny studied his surroundings while he pondered the question. He sat on a thin mattress in the middle of a windowless white room. The only accent in the room was the oddly brash yellow floor.

“I don’t remember much,” Danny said, finally replying to Omar’s question. “I was driving on the highway, I lost control of the car, and the next thing I knew I was here in the hospital.”

“This isn’t a hospital, Danny,” said Omar, adjusting his tie absently.

“Aren’t you a doctor?”

Omar giggled like a child. “Becoming a doctor requires way too much schooling. I’m an insurance agent.”

“Insurance?”

“Look Danny, let me be frank with you. The crash was very bad.”

Danny bolted upright in bed. He was astonished at his carelessness. He had neglected to check that there had been no damage to his body beyond his face, which seemed to be completely unscathed. He frantically grasped at his limbs to determine if anything was damaged or missing altogether. His desperate hands gripped flesh at all of the sought-out locations.

“No Danny, it’s not that,” Omar said. “You’re dead. The crash killed you.”

A hysterical laugh escaped Danny’s lips. “But, I don’t get it. I’m here talking to you. I can’t be dead. So how—”

“Let me clarify. I’m from Afterlife Insurance.” Omar pulled a small round device from his pocket and slid his thumb along its edge. A blue and red holographic company logo appeared before Danny’s eyes. “You probably know that your parents had signed you up for an insurance policy with us when you were just ten years old. They’ve been paying big bucks to maintain it for the last nine years.”

Omar flicked his thumb on the device again and the logo was replaced by an image of an insurance policy document, signed by Danny’s parents.

“How…how are you doing that?” Danny asked.

“As you know, this holographic tech doesn’t exist yet in the real world. But it does exist in our simulated reality.”

Danny fell back on his elbows, his breathing rapid and shallow. The room spun.

“We were able to save your brain,” Omar continued, “but your body was mangled beyond recognition. You were going very fast, Danny. Well beyond the speed limit.”

Danny’s could only stare, slack-jawed. His blankets were wet with perspiration, his eyes wild like a cornered animal.

“We’ve transferred what most people would call a ‘consciousness’ into our world simulation software program. It looks pretty damn good, huh? Almost like the real thing, hardly any uncanny valley to speak of.” Omar said. He spun on his heels to demonstrate his realistic features. “The insurance that your parents purchased will allow you to live out your life in a simulated version of reality. We update the program frequently, try to keep things just like they are in the real world. Most of the inhabitants are just bots at the moment but we are adding more and more residents every day who, like yourself, met their demise far too soon.”

“Wha…What about my family? Can I see them?” Danny asked, re-discovering his ability to speak.

“Yes, absolutely. They can stop in and visit the simulation for limited periods of time. I myself am ‘logged in’ from the real world right now, of course. Our clients get jobs, start families, and live out full natural lives. The simulation even ages you as you would have aged in the real world.”

“Can’t you just keep me at nineteen? Why do I have to age?”

“Storage of brain cells, upgrades, and maintenance to the system—these things are expensive. We have to set a limit. We also don’t want to encourage people to take advantage of their insurance coverage, if you know what I mean.”

“So…maybe things will be okay for me?” Danny said as he looked at Omar with misty, pleading eyes.

“Not so fast, there, my friend,” Omar said, his voice taking on a gentle tone. “I’m going to have to be frank with you again. That accident didn’t just kill you. You hit a minivan going the opposite direction. Rosa St. Clair, thirty-three years old, mother of two, is dead as well.”

Danny doubled over, sobbing. “This isn’t real. This is a dream. This can’t be real.”

“It’s as real as it gets, Danny. The police are investigating the accident scene. It’s still early, but initial reports show that you were driving well in excess of the speed limit, were likely distracted by a cell phone, and initial toxicology tests on your remains showed drugs in your system.”

Tears streamed from Danny’s face. He pounded the side of his head with his fist, rocking back and forth in the bed.

“Danny, we normally take some time acclimatizing newbies to the simulation environment, but this is a unique situation. I know this is a lot to take in—”

“Oh really, you think so?” Danny shouted, spit flying from his lips.

“You have to hear this now because I have limited time and I need a decision from you right away,” Omar said. “Ultimately, you have three options. Even though you died in the accident, our insurance policy is not immune to the long arm of the law. Option one: they put you to trial, sentence you, and you do jail time in the simulation. Just so you know, jail in the simulation is just as horrible as real-life jail, so I don’t advise going with that option.

“Option two is the ‘age-up’ option. Your case goes to trial but rather than serve the jail time, we simply age you in the simulation for the number of years that the judge has sentenced you. This way, no jail time, but you lose some simulation time.

“Option three: the ‘goodwill clause.’ If a policy-holder causes the death of a non-policy holder, the policy-holder may choose to transfer their insurance over to the person that was killed.” Omar leaned in to look into Danny’s eyes. “Essentially, you would pull the plug on your own simulation to give Rosa St. Clair, loving wife and mother of two who was taken from the world so tragically, another chance at a life.”

Omar flicked his device and a document appeared before Danny’s eyes. “Rosa’s brain was saved in the accident, but we have limited time to make the transfer, so we need a decision right now.” Omar grabbed Danny’s arm and lifted it towards the document. As Danny’s hand got close, a holographic pen appeared in his limp hand.

“I can’t think about this? This is my life we’re talking about,” Danny said.

Omar tapped his wristwatch. “Not just your life. Clock is ticking, buddy.”

Danny looked at the document. The three options that Omar had described were listed, a box for a signature beside each one.

“I know it’s a big decision,” said Omar, “but this cannot wait. I cannot--”

Danny scribbled his signature into one of the boxes. “There, you happy?” he snapped.

Omar shut the hologram off. “Thank you for your swift decision my friend. Now, we’re going to cut off the simulation for the time being, and we’ll turn things back on when we’re ready to go.”

“Wait, I want to—”

#

Danny opened his eyes, the bright light temporarily blinding him. Omar sat, legs crossed, in a chair beside his bed.

“Omar? Is everything okay?” Danny asked.

Omar shrugged. “If you mean the trial, then I would say from your perspective it did not go well, no.”

Danny tried to sit up, but pain shot through his entire body.

“Here, let me get that for you,” Omar said. He leaned over and clicked a button on the side of the bed. Danny felt the bed raise him up into a sitting position. Now upright, Danny did not need to grasp for his extremities to realize what was going on. Underneath dangling robes he saw boney, frail limbs.

“We got a court order to age you to ninety-four years old,” said Omar.

“Ninety-four! But I—” Danny tried to shout but a violent coughing fit overtook him.

“Look, don’t get mad at me. You chose the age-up option. I’m just following the orders of the judge and apparently he has a tendency to be harsh with dead trust-fund kids clogging up the court system.”

“Where…the hell…am I?” Danny sputtered.

“A nursing home. I made sure it was a good one, though,” Omar said with a wink. “Chin up, Danny. There’s a finger-painting class in ten minutes.”

 

END

 

 

Jay Adair is an office worker and music instructor. His work has appeared in 101 Words, Jitter, Escaped Ink and Hawk & Cleaver’s The Other Stories. He is also a drummer and can be heard on recordings with Jon Creeden & The Flying Hellfish (www.joncreeden.com), Chad McCoy (www.chadmccoymusic.com), and Just in Time (https://justintimeband.bandcamp.com/). He can be reached at jayadairwriting@hotmail.com.

In Association with Fossil Publications