's 2020 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by The Hungry Reader (email)

Q. So this is post-scarcity. Everything’s free and we’re all immortal. What’s the point of doing anything?
A. The experience is the point. Start a business and go to work if you want to know what it’s like. Become a monk if you want to know what that’s like. Found a culture, start a religion, build a temple, decry your own religion and blow up the temple if you want to know what that’s like.

Q. OK, I did all that. What else?
A. What, already?
Q. Yes, you can do a lot when you have unlimited resources, no fear of death, and are surrounded by people just as bored and immortal as you are. So what else can we do?
A. Invent new experiences. Reward yourselves with a scoreboard for the person whose experiences get enjoyed the most. Try to get the high score!

Q. That didn’t work, now no one wants to do anything because they don’t want to add to anyone else’s score!
A. OK OK hang on. Flip the script and make it a game of how many new experiences you can DO, and the ones you INVENT are your bonus multiplier.

(Some time passes.)

Q. How can we keep our edible people from escaping?
A. First you build a... wait, back up. Your WHAT?
Q. Edible people. That’s how we maximize our experiences.
A. By eating people?!
Q. Oh calm down, they’re not really people. They’re more like delicacies, made out of lots of different kind of food. Like a gingerbread man!
A. ...But they can run away?
Q. Well, yeah, we engineered bacteria and yeast cultures that let them think for themselves. But still, they’re more like robots made of food than real people—
A. OK OK OK OK. Hang on. Let me get this straight. You are making living, thinking beings out of food. And then eating them.
Q. Yes.
A. And... *why?*
Q. I thought I was the one asking questions here.
A. WHY??
Q. Fine! Jeez! It was your idea to build the society around having new experiences, right? We poked around a little and found that intrapersonal relationships are an experience that can’t be replicated. Friendship is the one thing money can’t buy, as we said when there was money.
A. ...OK, that makes sense. But—
Q. I’m getting to that. Now the system we’ve set up counts making friends, losing friends, and so on, as different experiences when you have them with different friends, right? Because it would be ridiculous to just check off “made a friend” once for a whole lifetime.
A. I guess???
Q. So this makes the process much more expedient. By making people out of food, we have a constant stream of new friends to boost our scores with. Each one gives you the experience of making a friend, losing a friend, killing a friend and eating a friend, all in one convenient package! And we eat them when we’re done so there’s no waste!
A. jiydgdjghzkkvg
Q. ??
A. I’m sorry did you say KILLING?
Q. Well, yeah, obviously?
A. But none of you can die. You’re all in the world brain bank, I rebuild your bodies at maximum health every time you sleep!
Q. Oh, the robots don’t do that. We wouldn’t have any proof we’d eaten them if they were still around, so they’re not in the bank. We don’t allow them to.
A. ...
Q. So, anyway, they keep escaping and that cuts our scores in half since we don’t get to kill and eat them. What’s your advice?
A. I brought you all back from extinction, ended death, suffering, and poverty... and you invented them all over again to help inflate your scores in a game you don’t even need to play.
Q. We tried chains, it doesn’t work, they just break those parts of their bodies off...
Q. Ah... hello?
Q. ...
Q. Son of a bitch! The great machine intelligence hung up on me!