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One Day of Dumb

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title.


Laura leaned forward and rested her head against forearm, before relaxing into a slumped position. She had heard the lecture the teacher was giving every year for the past six years, each time with a slight variations, but always the same message. She didn’t need to listen to the stupid message again, she practically had it memorized.

No, wait, she did have it memorized.

Of course, she did. She and all of her classmates, and all the kids in the next room over, and all the kids in the school older than ten.

She relaxed and started to fall asleep.

“If you would be so kind, Miss Charleston.” Laura’s teacher’s voice spoke just behind her, startling her awake. Laura looked back and up at Ms. Reid.


“What are the basic four tenets to remember for tomorrow?”

Laura rolled her eyes, and started quoting the rules. “Don’t take chances. Don’t make decisions with lasting consequences. Conserve. When in doubt, don’t.”

Ms Reid looked down at Laura a moment longer, lips pursed. “And what does that mean to you?”

“Don’t be dumb.”

“Yes.” Ms. Reid started walking back to the front of the classroom. “Don’t be dumb. Up until now, on the Reset Day, you’ve been sheltered. Your C-chips’ controls were transferred to a secondary system, one too immature to achieve sentience. Tomorrow you won’t have that luxury. Tomorrow, you will experience your first day without assisted consciousness, while the collective reboots. Your decisions will be questionable, your choices either too many or too limiting. You will not have access to the knowledge you have today, as your connection will be cut off. You will experience what used to be experienced by only the old and infirm: the inability to recall information that you haven’t actually learned.”

She paused for a bit.

“So, follow Miss Charleston’s advice. Don’t be dumb.”

Next to Laura, Sean raised his hand.

“Yes, Mr. Richards?”

“But, well, instead Reset Day supposed to our one day of dumb?”

Ms. Reid stared a him for a bit before responding. “Indeed.”

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