[Media prompt] …every additional robot used in automation reduced employment in a given commuting area by three to six workers...
Three Crackers in a Shed
The forecast had said overcast skies, but it was raining again, sheets of it clattering on the tin roof. Dale Cooper stood at the door, a lantern hanging on a hook beside him. The building across the road stood in darkness. Like all the others, a hollow shell, sagging unhurriedly into oblivion. He turned at a noise behind him, but it was Tony lighting another cigarette.
“Where the fuck did you get those?”
Tony inhaled, the tip glowing in the dark, but didn’t answer.
Dale took a step out the door, peering into the gloom. He could see the old Halverson shopfront down the street. There was a lathe in there he wanted, but the Williams brothers has asked him to hand over his aging AK47 for it. And there were nothing worth trading for that. He would have to acquire it by other means, but that was easier said than done right now. They had a stash of Claymores, M18s that were reputedly still functional.
He unhooked the lantern and walked back into the building. He could see Tony now, sitting in the easy chair, his legs crossed.
“Give me one, you little fucker.”
The lantern illuminated Tony’s face, and Dale watched as he withdrew the cigarette from between his thin lips, blowing smoke out of the side of his mouth.
“He’s here,” said Tony, nodding at the door.
Dale walked back to the entrance. He walked quickly because he didn’t like waiting. Hooking the lantern to his belt, he pushed back the roller door. It was heavy and he yelled at Tony. “It’d be nice if you could give me a fucking hand.” Between the two of them, they manoeuvred an opening wide enough for an eight-wheeled AFV to lumber through.
Dale waited. When it stopped, water dripped from the armour plating and pooled around the tyres. Tony lit another hurricane lamp, cursing quietly when the wick wouldn’t light the first time.
“What do you call three crackers in a shed?” said a man, his head emerging from a hatch beside the gun turret. Before Dale or Tony could answer, he said, “A fucking army, that's what.”
Dale stared, the months of planning to pull this off silencing him for a moment. And then he held up the lantern and smiled and said, “Before this army goes to war against the robots, it’s going to take out those fuckers across the road.”