By Kevin J. Phyland

sfgenre“Before you start,” I said, “I'm not ready.”

They looked at me the same way some other idiots might look at them thirty years from now. When they deliver the ‘news’. But that won't happen to them.

He has a face and a name. As do the others in the room, looking elsewhere. I've known them for decades ... some ... anyway ... but nobody calls me by my name. I guess they just think they know me.

This had been a long time coming and I'd known it for longer than they had recruited me. The irony was both delicious and sadly predictable.

“Your performance has declined in the last ten years,” said one. Not faceless, just unmemorable. More like a tile on a roof that has somehow managed to stay without being replaced. Not because it was strongest, more like it was lucky.

“When you were recruited your prescience was so exceptional that we extended your tenure well beyond the previous limits,” said another. A woman I think. Maybe.

My talents most certainly have declined in the last few decades. Not only because of my failing hearing and sight. But I was most certainly exceptional. Far more than they know.

It was true mostly. I hadn't had a clear prescient vision in nearly ten years. Those I did have I fudged and sounded rather vague about. That was expected. What they didn't expect however was just how good my early foretells were. Far beyond the usual months that they demanded.

At 12 years of age I was seeing decades ahead, but since they didn't ask me about events that far off I never actually volunteered the information. It became a sort of game for me to see how much I could hide without jeopardising my rather exalted place amongst the gifted.

Not to labour the point, but this current conversation with my 'employers' was not new to me. I'd seen it nearly thirty years ago.

But I'd also seen some things a bit further along. Things they might wish to know if only they'd persisted with me. Tenses get confused with this sort of thing.

I tuned back in at the appropriate time. “So you see...we will have to relieve you of your current duties. We feel it appropriate however, that we retain you as a mentor to some of our junior recruits, if that is okay?” It was posed as a question, but it wasn't really.

I shrugged and stare them down.

As I got up to leave I felt I had to give them at least part of a warning. “I've been mentoring the junior recruits for years,” I said. They looked slightly worried, as I knew they would. “And since my memory is unimpaired even if my ability is, I feel I need to tell you that this is a bad decision you are making now.”

Nothing changed though. It all went predictably. In a month they would all be dead from a massive counter-offensive from opposing gifted information.

Oh, well. Even the gifted can be bitter about being discarded.

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About The Author

Kevin J. Phyland

Kevin J. Phyland

Finally officially retired. Writing will now take up a bit more of my time. Still working on longer pieces. 33 years spent teaching. Writing since I was 12 on and off. Something had to give. I have a penchant for short, choppy, staccato sentences with too many adjectives.


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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 230

A Last Supper
by Phillip Berrie

A Reluctant Zombie
by Natalie J.E. Potts

Pandora's Smile
by Joanna Galbraith

Retirement Is Not The Last Word
by Laurie Bell

Square Musing
by Soar

The Game Of Lifes
by George Nikolopoulos

To Serve The Master
by Zeb Carter

The Master
by Robert David

The Passengers
by Botond Teklesz

When I Was God
by Kevin J. Phyland

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...today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms...it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

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