A Futuristic Fable of Revenge

I had that sinking feeling again. She’d asked me to leave. Not the ideal end to a first date. She had as much to drink as I did. If not more. That’s what I said.

I wasn’t impressed with her condescending attitude either. She was exactly the sort of woman who internet dated. Bitter and past her sell-by date. I told her that as well. She shouted something about the irony, then chucked my coat at me. She slammed the door, nearly catching me.

I shouted that I wouldn’t pay her to embarrass her in front of the neighbours. Typical.

Rain, rain, hopeless rain. Once I was young enough to stagger home in inappropriate clothing in torrential downpours. Now I had a chesty cough and an expensive suit that didn’t react well to rain water.

I heard a siren in the distance and thought she might have called the police. I hadn’t done anything worthy of their attention, but I knew they’d take the woman’s word over mine any day of the week. Local politics relied on reputation as well. If I was seen being collared by some overbearing halfwits with power complexes it was unlikely I’d get the nomination for next year’s tilt at a parliamentary seat.

I’d only just got over the bit of silliness about the planning permission for the new sports complex.

I nipped round the corner, merging in with a crowd swaying under a bus shelter. I had no intention of getting a bus either. As I said, reputation matters. I clicked the app quickly, making sure I didn't keep the phone on show for too long considering the type of people I was mixed in with. The police car swirled past. Lucky. The cab was next to me by the time I'd watched the flashing blue lights disappear towards the High Street.

No driver. A driverless cab.

Novel.

I got in. Warm and surprisingly comfortable. I was never one to stand in the way of progress. Progress to profit in my book. A quote flashed up on a screen. Surprisingly reasonable. And no need to tip.

A swath of faces, each and every one of them tinged with jealousy, watched as the car door slid softly shut. The tinted windows provided much needed respite from the world and all it’s wants. I settled back. Maybe a nice brandy with one of those Cuban cigars I’d been saving.

'How are you today sir?'

The car had a voice. There was some soothing classical music as well. I'd not noticed.

I muttered something. I usually avoided speaking to cab drivers. Most of them would struggle to read a voting slip let alone put a tick alongside the correct name.

'I'm glad to hear that sir. How was your date?'

I had absolutely no idea how the car knew I’d been on a date. My phone was flashing. I got it. Bloody app integration. The taxi app was linking in with my dating app.

'Was she a bitch sir?'

Damn right she was. Damn right.

'They need to learn a bit of respect don't they sir?'

Respect indeed! That's what's missing from society today. The bloody car spoke more sense than most. Progress.

'She did call a cab for you though, didn't she sir?'

I was thinking about that brandy. What was this music? Very familiar. Very familiar indeed.

'Pity.'

One thing I'd do in Parliament is push back on all this political correctness that's seeped in since the 1970s. It's what any decent man would want. My constituency.

'Rock a bye baby on the tree top….'

I heard a clicking sound from the doors. Reminded me of the black cabs with the auto locking doors to stop the unwashed running off without paying. Bit rich the computer cab thinks I'm likely to do a bunk.

'When the wind blows the cradle will rock….'

Something spraying me….burning….

‘Down will fall baby cradle and all.’

What the hell is this? What? My GOD!

'Acid sir. Acid.’

‘Goodnight sir.'