Dad Isn’t Working Today (part 1)

“It won’t load.”

“What do you mean it won’t load.”

“It just won’t. It’s fucking charged. I even plugged it in, but it just won’t load.”

“Here, you forgot to update it.”

“Oh yeah, that.”

“Okay here it is…”

They all waited in anticipation for their father who had been dead for four years. They sat in a circle each in a comfortable seat, with the ocean through the pines in the background. It was the very picture of serene as the sun dropped in the late afternoon. You couldn’t find a better time or a better place to resurrect your dead father digitally.

“Okay, updates installed. What next?”

“I think you have to update it again.”

“We just did.”

“Hmmm, did you reboot it.”

“That’s what we’re doing right now.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Diogenes and his sister Sophie sat there looking at the Memorumemt Model X4. It was brand new and the latest model. Their father, famous entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist and ultimately mortal human being was sitting inside the box. Well he, or his memory was sitting in The Cloud actually but this box was the way to his memory. Actually where he was nobody really knew but they wanted to see him.

His memory was processed by Memorument’s Artificial Intelligence, which had ingested all of his emails, photos, text messages and just about anything else that was able to be loaded, scanned and made into digital memory, which at that point included everything that was flat, a picture or text.

Sound was coming, they said, in an update really soon. So that meant that the Memorument would speak for his father, as if it was his father. They didn’t really have any videos or recordings of him but but the update was supposed to approximate what his voice sounded like. They tried to create his voice from a menu of choices to hone down which was most likely to him (70 years old, raised in the Midwest, lived in California for 32 years, non-smoker, healthy, normal ageing pattern, non lung, mouth, or throat cancer victim…) and it gave an approximation. They had an online session with the “memory artisans” over video chat to dial into his voice even more from some videos they had of him.

“Okay, here it is, I think it’s coming.”

“Really??” They mom finally piped up. They had been divorced for three years, two years before he got sick and wasn’t sure what to expect or how to feel. She felt awkward enough in their old house. Diogenes insisted, he had stayed in the house after he had died, and Sophie lived not far away.

The machine finally spoke. It sounded like their dad had a cold and a slight Minnesota accent for no apparent reason. “So, ummm, not really sure what to say. Its been a while, and you know, things happen and I’m not with you physically, but I’m with you in The Cloud and now through this innovative and affordable device in front of you. End of message. Thank you for using Memorument. Please update your firmware.”

“What the fuck? Is that it?” raged Diogenes. Sophie started to whimper, her face in her hands. Jemma, their mother, sat staring as the sun went down over the block shaped, leather couch she let go in the divorce but still sorely missed.