Flash Fiction: Control

Courtesy Damn That Box

Terribleminds and my iPhone told me this story should be titled after this VNV Nation song.

She whistled to herself as she emptied the garbage cans. Most people were gone for the evening. The vast control room only had a few people in it. Even so, she had to wait until one of them left to use the bathroom, leaving a corner of the space unoccupied.

She smiled under the brim of her baseball cap as she moved to the back of the room. Quick as she could, she connected one end of the extendable USB cable to one of the terminals. The other end went into the smartphone in her pocket. A tap here, a slide there, the process was soon underway. These bozos already had the files in their system, all that she had to do was rearrange things a bit.

She’d been studying the file structure for weeks before the pink slip had come. Not that she got a physical pink slip, just a heartfelt talking-to about market shares, sustainability and a bunch of other buzzwords. Her contention that something vital had been lost, that the original vision of the founders was all but forgotten fell on deaf ears. It had all become about ad revenue and trendy programming. They’d finally gotten annoyed enough to find a reason for firing her, and this was how she was fighting back.

The process finished, she disconnected her phone and pocketed it as she walked away. She’d never been near the control room so there was no chance they’d recognize her. She returned the cart to where she’d found it and left the building. She didn’t get to see her handiwork until the next day.

Millions of people tuned in for another episode of the latest flaky reality show that afternoon. Sure it wasn’t the best show in the world, but it was fun to laugh at idiots as they sat around making hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode as they groomed, slapped and humiliated each other. It was what the viewing public expected.

What they got was totally different.

Foghat. The Ramones. Led Zeppelin. The Buggles. On and on through the afternoon and into the night, as people in the control room scrambled to find the worm that kept changing locations, one music video after another aired. There were a few entitled idiots who complained about missing their shows, but younger people had a good laugh at the expense of the programming department while digging on the tunes.

The girl was picking up some supplies, preparing for a move across town to a smaller apartment, when she caught a snippet of conversation.

“That’s some crazy stuff, man.”

“Yeah, I know. Who knew that MTV actually played music?”

It took every ounce of her strength not to burst out laughing. She smiled to beat the band, though, and there was a spring in her step all the way home.


  1. VNV Nation, good choice! I think they’d approve of the theme of this story.

  2. Yay for The Buggles as political statement! Gladdens made my eighties-loving heart 🙂

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