A gun? What the fuck did I need one for? There must be a mix up. I checked the package – it was the correct address, with my name at the top. It was for me alright. Hmm. I called up customer support.
“Hi! I received a package today which I think might have been wrongly sent?”
“Mr. Lee? You’re calling us from your cellphone now right?” the lady on the other end replied.
“Yes, that is right.”
“Nope, it wasn’t wrong. Our patented AutoShoppr Artificial Intelligence did its due diligence to send you what you will need.”
“Yes, but I don’t believe I need a gun. What do I need a gun for?” I replied.
“Well due to how the system works, I don’t have the authority to access the database to find out what triggered the AI to purchase a gun for you.”
“Can you get someone to check?”
“Yes, I’ll forward your request to my superiors. Can I do anything else for you?”
“No, I just want to get this issue settled. Do you know when I’ll hear back from them?”
“Expect a response within two working days.”
“Thanks, that’s all for now.”
I hung up the phone and stared at the gun which lay on my desk. I quickly ran through my phone messages and web browser history to see if I had remotely mentioned anything which might have triggered the AI to think I needed a gun. Nope. Nothing as far as I could see. It was a very strange feeling – to have such a dangerous device within arm’s reach. It was pretty unsettling, to be honest. I decided to put it back in its box and I left it in my closet.
I put the thought of the gun out of my mind and spent the rest of my evening going about my usual routine. I fell asleep thinking about the gun in my closet.
I woke up the next morning and got ready for work. Just as I was about to leave my house, I thought about the gun again and decided that I’d bring it to work. I retrieved it from the box in my closet. I grabbed the six bullets that came with it as well. I mean, what use is a gun without any bullets? I shoved the gun under the passenger seat in my car and drove off to work.
During lunch time I brought my colleagues to my car and showed them the gun I received.
“What the fuck, Lee! Why do you have a gun?”
“I don’t know man, it just came in the mail yesterday. I’ve been wondering about it ever since. I even called customer support but they told me they had to get back to me with an answer.”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“No idea. I don’t think I even know how to fire a gun.”
“You just point it at a target and pull the trigger!”
“It’s that simple?”
“It’s that simple.”
“Why don’t we drive out somewhere and test this thing?”
“Isn’t it illegal to fire a gun in public?”
“It’s fine as long as you don’t get caught!”
So the three of us got into my car and I drove off, in search of an empty field where we could fire the gun without being noticed.
We got out of the car and my colleague searched for some empty bottles and cans on the ground to set up a makeshift firing range. He ran back to us, excited and eager to try out the gun.
“How do you load this thing, I asked?”
“Here, you just open this chamber and slot the bullets in.”
“Oh, that’s it?”
“Okay, now target the cans and bottles and shoot!”
I raised my arm and peered down the barrel, aiming at the can halfway across the field. I held my breath and pulled the trigger. BANG. Shit, it was loud. As expected, my aim was off and I didn’t hit the can.
“How did it feel man?”
I didn’t know how to respond. I definitely felt something – it was a mix of being on stage in front of a large crowd and the feeling you get when you’ve had a close brush with death. It was thrilling, and dangerous. I didn’t know how to put it in words.
“I don’t know, you can try it man!”
My colleague took the gun from me, aimed down the sight and fired. BANG.
“Whoa, that felt great! You try!” he said to my other colleague.
“You’re right! Man, I think I want to get my own gun too,” he laughed.
I took one more shot at the cans again, I wasn’t any closer to the mark than I was before. We decided to head back to the office after that. I left the gun under the passenger seat.
On my drive home, I thought about the gun range experience I had this afternoon. A chill ran down my spine. I wanted to relive that feeling again. I felt giddy with excitement as I turned my car into the empty field for the second time that day. The cans were still where we left them.
I took my time firing the two bullets. My aim didn’t magically improve over the past few hours, so the cans and bottles remained standing. Satisfied, I headed back home and saw another package waiting for me on my doorstep. This one was noticeably smaller than the package I received last night. I opened it when I got into the house and saw that it was a box of bullets and an information card about applying for a gun license.
AutoShoppr AI, you goddamn genius.
Writing Prompt from Reddit: In a world where artificial intelligence shops for you and predicts your needs perfectly, you receive a hand gun in the mail.