TANSTAAFL – Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction

Every Wednesday we get a new picture prompt for the Friday Fictioneers, a writing challenge graciously hosted by our Fairy Blog Mother Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
The task of the challenge is to write a story: beginning, middle, and end, in 100 words or less. You can find all the Fictioneers’ stories when you click on the Froggy. Please read, comment, and if you like, join the fun. Everyone is welcome.


Jean Hays
Image ©Jean Hays. Used with permission for this Friday Fictioneers Challenge only. Any other use of this image requires Jean Hay’s permission.
I just lost my job. I thought it was secure, but I was wrong. Art, science, politics, construction, whatever it is, they can do it better than us. And they know it.

“We want you to keep your dignity,” they tell us while giving out the dole. Call it basic income, it’s still a hand-out. Alms.
I could pursue my interests, like my friends do, but I’d still feel empty. There’s no satisfaction in handouts. That’s why I’ll get a symbiont cyber-uplink tomorrow. There is one thing we have that robots desperately want to learn from us: Emotions.

(100 words) TANSTAAFL: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

I pledge

I’m doing the NaNoWriMo after all. Call me Insanity.
Anyone else?


65 thoughts on “TANSTAAFL – Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction

    1. They may find that we’re obsolete. If we’re lucky they’ll leave us in a controlled habitat, like the other original inhabitants of the planet. For reference… I’m glad you find it scary, I do too. Thank you Joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This complaint felt so familiar that I thought we were in the present, but then you subtly position us in the future–I enjoyed this! Sad…Made me think of the novel Feed by M.T. Anderson. Have you read it? Not the same thing you’re writing about here, but your piece sparked the memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dale. The future is already here, only in a more benevolent way than my story. I’ve read about people with paralysis who experienced feelings in robot prosthetics through a brain implant. Can you imagine? There are always two sides to new technology.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece, I can definitely see this happening. Though teaching robots emotions – yeeks! And where you wrote that the robots “want” to learn them from us – they already sound self-aware. Double yeeks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the ones in my story are self-aware. I wonder if they ever achieve that… and I wonder why they shouldn’t… and if they could, why shouldn’t they have emotions? Do we need hormones for that? Could they have coded hormones? And the other day I’ve read about a paralyzed man with a brain implant who could feel his robot prosthetic… I think this is great. Err, and thank you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So, you wrote something futuristic. Good. I’m with Sandra on that. We all got nostalgic on our stories, to a point. And, yes, I expect s-f from you a lot (although don’t let that limit your scope, either!). Good story, Gabriele.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 🙂 SF comes naturally, probably because I work in IT and read a lot about new developments. Makes my imagination run wild. On occasion I write fantasy, or bloody murder.


      1. I’d like to see how you would handle a different genre next time. I try to be flexible in that area. Actually, my philosophy is, if a story needs to be told, tell it. Whether it’s a romance, SF, dramatic, comedic, etc., if it needs to be told, by all means tell it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In this story, the robots are the employers, and the government. If I wanted this to go anywhere I’d have to decide if they even still need money. Who do they trade with? We have the STATE festival in Berlin this year, and there is a bit of media coverage about exactly these questions of awareness, emotions, and so on. Fascinating stuff.


    1. They absolutely are, for now. But when they start to program themselves, and maybe someone throws some other ideas into the equation… things might change. I’m glad you liked, thank you Russel.


  4. That is scary. I hope I don’t live long enough to see humans become extinct. Of course, I doubt I will but it’s still scary. It reminds me of Data on Star Trek. He wanted emotions and finally got them only to keep turning them off. Good writing, Gabriele. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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