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the future of parenting

His Papa scowled at the screen.
"What is this malarkey?" He grumbled, getting the attention of Mama.
The boy shifted nervously as his parents squinted at the screen. They started jabbering about it, something about a conflicting data stream. They didn't seem too concerned.
But the boy was certainly worried. After all, last time there was a conflicting data stream, he ended up being renamed Abigail. And while he'd laughed it off at school on the swing sets with his friends, and insisted they call him Abe, it still bugged him. His teachers liked to use full names, after all. And what if this time it was worse, like he'd spontaneously get a stutter because the language center got all buggy? That happened to Miranda, and she'd never been the same since, not even when her parents hired a skilled programmer to fix their error.
"It's the Hendersons down the street. They got a boy the same age, maybe they just got to this part first, and got him placed in all the sports teams ahead of our son." Mama said, putting her hands on her hips and looking miffed.
"Over-achievers, always jumping ahead of the rest of us." Papa grumbled, and started tapping away rapidly. He stopped to hit the backspace a whole bunch, and Abigail almost expected to feel himself get stupider, or maybe his hair would change color. At least Papa didn't just hold down the backspace button; that happened to Everett, two grades ahead of Abigail, and the super-high IQ that his parents paid some hacker to put in got erased and they didn't know how to get it back, and they couldn't afford to hire the same guy. Poor Everett had to get held back a year.
"Can I take a look?" He asked meekly, already knowing the answer but unable to hold himself back. After all, he'd been sneaking peeks at the advanced programming books that only the teenagers were allowed to start messing around with.
"No." His parents replied in unison, their eyes still glued to the family computer.
"But I--"
"No!" His Mama insisted a little more harshly, and then smiled at him. "Why don't you go upstairs and play?"
He took off without a word, slightly terrified that his parents were going to ruin his life by the time he reached the top step. He couldn't wait for the day he turned thirteen and he could start programming his own life.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, September 20th, 2018
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