Clockwork [preview]

I had originally planned to write and submit this for a short story collection titled Avatars Inc, back in 2020. Due to some things life threw at me, however, I missed the deadline, but I thought I'd hang onto the draft, change some things up, and see where I could take it. Hare's a snippet of my first attempt.

“Everything all right there, Carl?”

“Just peachy, Cap. Visuals bugged out on me for a moment again there. Had to wait for the service to restart.”

“Jeez, again? Your replacement surrogate will have an improved optics system, so hopefully...”

“Hopefully I'll get it before I retire.”

“We put a rush on it. Best we can do on our end. You know things have slowed to a crawl since the spike.”

“There's always a spike.”

“Be grateful you've still got somethin’ to retire from. A lotta folks...”


Carl let out a deep breath and twisted his right hand. His surrogate mirrored the action, turning the key in the GOCorp Delivery Vehicle's ignition.

“We all good?” Cap's voice popped in through the audio channel.

“All good,” Carl responded, moving the surrogate's hand to the center console. “Everything's in focus now. Resuming route.” The chrome hand tapped Carl's name on the console and opened a log window.


Carl sighed into the audio pickup of his VRS-WFH setup, crammed into a corner of his small Brooklyn studio apartment, as the surrogate stepped out of the vehicle onto a quiet street in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Okay, kiddo. Let's do this.”