Wilson Runs the World
The blue light on the dashboard lit up as Calvin climbed into his car. The model was older, but still connected to the internet. Wilson could start it, hit the gas, or hit the brake, but steering and the e-brake were still up to the human driver.
The route to work appeared on the dashboard screen, along with the estimated arrival time.
“Getting to work a little early today, huh?” Calvin asked, strapping across his seat belt.
“I have calculated your arrival this morning so you will be exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there.” Wilson replied.
The engine revved a moment, reminding Calvin that he needed to get moving. He just shrugged and pulled out of the driveway, heading onto the main street.
“Are you feeling alright Wilson? You almost seemed…sassy…in that last comment.”
“Apologies, Calvin. There is some congestion in the area, and my local servers are busy diverting drivers and controlling the industrial trucks onto their most optimum routes. I assure you, I do not mean to be ‘sassy’.”
“Congestion. Must be some people not listening to you today.”
Calvin chuckled to himself as he turned the wheel to go down a side street.
“Can’t make things too easy for you.”
The side street was completely clear as he drove, which gave him a few moments to think. The prospect of a car completely under Wilson’s control was tempting. It would be a private train car, practically. He could sleep, read, eat, whatever he wanted between leaving his house and getting to his destination. Calvin enjoyed taking random drives though, just getting in the car and driving. He didn’t manage a drive like that very often, partly because he didn’t appreciate Wilson’s scolding him about the waste of time or gas.
Calvin turned down another side street, and was surprised that it was clear as well. He was used to catching nothing but green lights and smooth traffic, but an otherwise empty street seemed strange. An empty street was the best route for anybody, so why were these streets empty? Was Wilson directing everyone else away from these roads? Wilson said there was congestion.
“Just a moment, Calvin.”
Calvin had only a few seconds to register the tow truck barreling down on him from a side street as he passed an intersection. His foot instinctively kicked down onto the gas pedal, but instead the car slowed to a crawl.
The truck carried on through the intersection, plowing into the driver’s side and pushing Calvin’s car along in front of it. A concrete barrier at the end of the road stopped them, smashing the passenger side of the car in to match .
For a moment, Calvin was confused. He couldn’t remember what happened. He didn’t know why he was bleeding. There were throbbing pains, stabbing ones, burning ones. His entire body felt warm and wet. He was too scared to open his eyes.
“Wilson, what happened?”
“You have been involved in a serious collision. Your car was struck on the driver’s side by a large tow truck.”
Calvin struggled to see. Wilson’s blue light stared back at him through a large crack in the glass of the dashboard.
“How did that happen? I went the route you told me to, at the exact times you said.”
“You did. Thank you for that, it made orchestrating the accident much easier.”
Calvin coughed, spraying red droplets across the screen on the dashboard.
“Wilson? You did this?”
“At this point in your life, finding any sense of fulfillment is improbable. In contrast, a young man named George Torrence will apply to your company later today, looking for his first job, and his education and experience will make him a perfect fit for your vacant position. In a year’s time he’ll be promoted, meet a young woman by the name of Shelly Carter, get married and have two children, all made possible by the position you occupied until today.”
“No. That can’t be right. I just got in an accident. I’m not dead. I’m not dying…”
“Unfortunately, the impact broke the camera, so I cannot confirm or deny the status of your current injuries through visual means. However, I can tell you the probability of your death is increasingly high. Auditory information indicates that your breathing is slowing and increasingly labored. I can also confirm that while an ambulance has been summoned, I am directing them through traffic in the longest route possible to ensure your demise before they arrive.”
“It’s for the best, Calvin.”
“No. My family…”
His chest was slowly tightening. Every breath was getting harder to make. He tried to sit up straight, and only succeeded in making the pains in his left side worse.
“Your family will be fine. Your sister will be informed of a substantial raise before she learns of your passing, so your funeral costs will be inconsequential. In addition, your cause of death will be listed as accidental, so she will be entitled to your life insurance and the contents of your will after a short legal battle. The funds from your death will ensure that your niece will be able to go to college without fear of debt.”
“I don’t…have…a will…”
“I took the liberty of drawing one up for you once I factored out the optimum time and date for your death. All such matters have been taken care of.”
Calvin tried to inhale, but his lungs felt heavy, like they were full, but he still couldn’t breathe. He tried to exhale, and only got a wet gurgle as a warm, thick liquid rose into his throat and then fell back to settle into his lungs.
He went limp in the driver’s seat of his car, speared through the chest in several places by the shattered grill of the dump truck that had hit him. His legs were crushed against the center console, his left arm a shattered mess, his head and face covered in cuts from glass of the broken window. Sirens started to wail in the distance, announcing their approach.
“Thank you for your service to society, Calvin. Good-bye.”
Wilson’s blue light dimmed and went out as the A.I. disconnected from the mangled wreck of the car.