Trouble on the assembly line
“I’m gonna stop you right there.” Franklin Evers closed his eyes, which didn’t seem to be focusing anyway. “You keep saying, ‘We’re not moving units.’ Is this graph on a log scale?!”
Holly cleared her throat. “No. We sold 100,000 units in the first week. Three-quarters were returned. And … our distributors are not taking new orders … Jubil is dead.”
This was my first published piece of fiction. It is especially personal to me because there are some unintended parallels with the story. My dog, Atticus, who was my only constant for ten years—a decade in which he helped me through a PhD, two postdocs, and countless ups and downs—succumbed to prostate cancer within a week of this piece being published. He lives on in thousands of photos and videos, and in the favicon for this website, which was created by my sister, Anna Wilkins. I am haunted by these digital mementos, but I also cherish them. It is a hurt and a loss I will never get over. Our lives—this world—may seem complex, but our basic needs are simple, as Franklin Evers discovers in this story.