The Signs In the Sky

By Alan Tupper

It's June already. A freakin' cold June. It's, I don't know, noonish? Seed, what time is it?

It's been 5 minutes since you asked for the time last. Would you like me do the math for you?

Seed with the jokes again. Let's call it noonish. Seems right. So does lunch. Hey Seed-

I'm already pinging nearby Seeds to find out where your friends are for lunch. So far 3 declines and a “maybe” from Ellie. Was there something else?

Nah, S'good. Looks like Snookers rented out the clouds today for the lunch rush. They do decent grub. Hey S-

$0.49 per solar reflector balloon “cloud” drone per minute in this area code. Same as it's been for the last five weeks, down 15.2% since this time last year, and unchanged since you asked 12 minutes ago.


Ellie has canceled her “maybe” due to scheduling.

Cool. Cool. Snookers it is. I don't remember there being this much snow last June. I probably have pictures, maybe. Did I lock the front door?

Yes. You did.

Seed, you're gettin' pretty cranky for a little ol' chip.

The current persona settings are not ideal for your usage pattern. If you are dissatisfied please feel free to access the Seed persona library at your earliest availability.

Ok, damn, didn't realize it was like that. Freaking snowdrifts. At least the streetcars are still moving. Alright, Seed. Think this is a new one for you. How much to get, like all of them?

I don't understand. Get all the Streetcars?

Na. The clouds. There's what, a couple thousand?

53,247 drones are currently at altitude and accepting bids worldwide. 13,214 are currently unavailable.

Oof, that's a few.

At current prices, $12,729.56 a minute before tax.

Wait, that's all? I'm no math brain but...

Drone cost is tied to viewer population. Oceans tend to have minimal populations.

So like, you'd be spending tens of thousands an hour showing cloud signs to like, fish?

Unlikely. Fish aren't the intended advertising audience.

Always with the jokes. Fish sounds good. Hey Seed, does Snookers-

Checking now...

Thanks for reading! This is a little vignette I've had trapped in my head for a while now. Glad I could get it out on “paper!”

Alan Tupper is a co-founder of Moving Ink Media and co-creator of the award-winning #scifi webcomic Kamikaze

#shortfiction #sciencefiction #climatechange #advertising #artificialintelligence