Amelia Gray / DEVICE


The young inventor created a device that could predict the future within one tenth of a percent of accuracy.

“Device,” he said. “Tell me the winner of this Saturday’s football game with Tech.”

“State wins,” the device said. “A man will pour beer onto his jeans.”

He thought of his girlfriend. “Tell me, will I marry Anne?”

“No,” the device said. “Anne will move to Missouri. You will find a similarly adequate mate. The colors
associated with your wedding will be sea green and ivory.”

The young inventor had been with his girlfriend for ten years. He felt the surprise with the composure of a scientist and knew that there was no use in arguing. He adjusted a knob on the device.

“Sea green and ivory,” the device said. The voice modulation sounded flat and bored, and the scientist made a note to swap out the vocalization for something a little more upbeat, perhaps accompanied by music.
“What will my eventual mate be like?” he asked, while making an adjustment to the machine’s color wheel.

“Skin, hair.” The device buzzed slightly. “Fingernails.”

“Not too much specificity there.”

The device stopped buzzing. “Grass and milk.”

“Will she be interested in science?”

Some process caused a turning-over in the internal works of the device.

The inventor tapped the panel. “Will we be happy?” he asked. He could hear the whirring material. “Device, will we be happy?”

The device was silent. After a while, the young inventor packed his things, took his lunch bag from the refrigerator and left.

The empty room had its own energy. “Algae and bone,” said the device.