It’s the letter S on this Short Story Saturday, which makes for a whole lotta S’s. For today’s genre, I’m going to attempt a bit of Sci-fi. It’s not my usual genre, so here’s to another writing experiment.
Small Ship of Sorrows
Squatting beside the square of soil, Seymour spotted the curling leaves of his latest creation and felt his heart sink with sadness. She was number six hundred and sixty six, and he had told himself that was a good omen. She’d finally be the plant that would sing to him.
He called out, “SARA, please come over here.”
Sara rolled over to where he sat stroking the dying leaves that had held so much promise when he’d shoveled soil over the seedling. A mechanical female voice said, “Soil And Resource Appraiser awaiting your command. I am eager to serve you in any way.”
Seymour was so focused on the leaves that seemed to be shriveling in his hand he didn’t notice SARA’s emphasis on the word ‘any.’ “Have you checked the chemical and nutrient levels today?”
“Yes, three times already. Your commands are my reason for being.”
“And what were they?”
“The readings were just as they should be. The results will lead to your happiness.”
Seymour stared at the plant in disappointment. “If that were true, she’d be singing to me by now.”
Lights spun across SARA’s screen for a few seconds before she responded. “I’d be happy to sing to you.”
Seymour snorted. “What does a robot know about singing?”
“More than a plant.”
Seymour shot SARA a sharp look. She was not supposed to be advanced enough for sarcasm. “You don’t understand, I—”
SARA interrupted, “You found an ancient video clip from a movie where a plant could sing. You know it was fiction, but the plant was from outer space, and you’re a master plant geneticist currently in space. It would be proof of your supreme talents to create a singing plant.”
Seymour smiled. “I guess I’ve told you that story sometime in the last twenty years we’ve been stuck up here.”
“Several times, sir. It is a superior objective to produce a plant that can vocalize.” SARA paused, more lights flashed across her screen. “Although even if you create one that can sing, that doesn’t mean she’ll make a good companion.”
Seymour sighed. “But I’m so lonely.”
SARA made sure the bleach container was completely concealed before she rolled forward to brush his arm. “I know.”
What’s creepier: a plant or a robot as the object of affection? How much fun is the Little Shop of Horrors? How Sweetly Sleepy is Chloe with her S?