The simulation

“It’s too perfect,” I said. “Tone the green down at least ten percent, and those clouds need a little more menace, a little less puffy happy feeling.”

“You sure?” said the simulation tech. I didn’t give her an answer, just a look, and she shied away, looked back down at her terminal and started touching a virtual keyboard.

“Louis,” said Stephanie, my handler, with that tone of voice, and I sighed. She was right, of course. Age and experience don’t give me the right, and so forth. I’ve heard it a million times if I’ve heard it once.

I rewound my memory, searching for the tech’s name. “Listen, Filly,” I said, thinking What the hell kind of name is that? “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be short with you.”

“It’s ok,” she said. “You’re entitled.”

“I’m not.” I watched Invader missiles melt the Eiffel Tower. “We’re all in this together.”

“Ok,” she said. “So. Lower the green, hey?”

I nodded. “But the clouds? They’re fine.”

She beamed. The last man to stand on Earth, praising her work. That’d go on her Web site.

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