The Sabbath of J.F. Kwan
A Private War Between Man & Machine...
There was nothing more insipid to him than the mere act of waking. For to have risen at the precise time of 6:32 AM, Ante meridiem, before the hour of 12, was to be inundated with
“Good Morning Mr. Kwan, the time is 6:32 AM Mountain Standard Time, your morning digest has been prepared, as have your wardrobe for the day and a selection of itineraries to choose from. Do enjoy.”
His half-hearted “thank yous” to the module rolled back to little more than a quarter. Yet here he stood, the Eurasian wolf little more than five-foot-seven, his life laid out before him on crystalline rails.
His only solace as he drank his pitch-black synthetic roast was the City herself. He wouldn’t trade that skyline for anything in the world. He’d say “hi” to Tower 8X, the Televisionary Emporium way down in the Comm/Ent districts, and that godforsakenly garish tomb they called the New Chase Tower. For Christ’s sake, it didn’t even have the same glass exterior as the real one. He knew enough from the books he tucked away in the wall to say so.
But he loved the New Chase, just as much as he loved ol’ 8X and the Emporium, and all the little complexes nestled therein.
“One of these days,” he muttered to himself and his mug, “I’ll be the asshole designing this shit. Maybe it’ll look a little cleaner.”
The blue light of the City bathed him where he stood.
“The time’s 7:03 AM Mountain Standard Time.”
The module chattered endlessly, digital feminine tones rattling off every minuscule item on the to-do list from “shower” to “restock” to “check the synthesizer” to “go for a walk.”
Yet there J.F. Kwan stood; bare-chested, barefooted, his coffee mug still in hand, the light brown fur about his mouth gently wetted with each sip of the brew. He stood and stared, the lights enamorous, the soft rug feeling good on the pads of his paws. He even took a seat.
“Mr. Kwan, the time is 7:34 AM Mountain”
The electronic words fell on deaf ears as Kwan, for the first time in ages, sat down. His recliner had always been a comfortable one, designed with ergonomics and New World chic in mind, and by God did it feel good this morning. It was only when he reached the bottom of his mug that he got up.
“Mr. Kwan, the time is 8:05 AM”
Kwan finally looked the module dead in its nonexistent face, the trillion applications and reminders splayed wide before his eyes.
“Ace…it’s the Sabbath.”
“I do not understand. Please repeat—
He cleared the notification. He had programmed this thing to death to recognize something as simple as having a Sunday off from it all. White Coats couldn’t fix it, the repairman had fought with it for ages. Yet here he stood, once more arguing with his slab of glass and soldering. It was finally time.
He gingerly went for the chord that sat plugged into the wall.
“Surely she wouldn’t miss just one mod—
J.F. felt the shock of ages when he tried to pull the plug. He tried time after time, only to be treated to the same tasering.
“Alright,” he said coldly, “If you want it messy, we’ll make it messy.”
He threw his sneakers, slacks, and shirt on and brought out his personal tool kit. Out came the pry-bar, the sliver of metal slid between the glass front and the metallic case. But try as he might, the damn thing wouldn’t budge. He even took a few swings at it, the most to come of it a smudging.
“Well,” came the bitter resignation, “Maybe we can get you replaced.”
He went for the telephonic. Why in God’s name they didn’t call it a phone was beyond him, but he was more concerned with getting someone on the other end of the line.
“Yes, I’d like to speak with—”
“—Sorry, our offices are empty and our vox-banks are full. Try again at a later time.”
The dial-tone rung in his ears for what felt like an eternity. The tone rung out from the White Coat offices, every repairman, and every plain-old electrician he knew. He thumbed through the digital rotary finding everyone he could.
Not a soul answered.
He looked back to the module with a contemptible scowl, the glass unfazed and applications still in working order. He looked over the itinerary with “walk” and selected it. He sped through his chores as wrote and walked out the door the second he finished.
“Have a good day” said the monitor as he stepped out.
“Have a good one Ace,” he dryly replied. No sooner did he set foot into the hall than he whipped out his phone and called one last number.
“Hey, Gary. It’s James.”
“Yo, Jim, what’s good?”
“Could I stay at your place for a bit, my Ace is acting up and it is freaking me out. I don’t know if should get it replaced, or try and bust it up again, or
In the end, James Fei Kwan finally had his Sabbath.