Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Helicopter Mom

Leslie What is a Nebula Award-winning writer and the author of the collection, Crazy Love, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in scores of anthologies and journals. Talk to her @leslie_what on twitter or visit her website at lesliewhat.com.

"Heat the mac and cheese when the timer beeps," said their mom.
Andrew loved her voice, She sounded like the hospital elevator woman who announced every floor. "Could I take you to Show and Tell?" he asked.
"I don't understand," said their mom.
"Show and Tell," Andrew said. "At school."
"You can't take me to school," said their mom.
"Mom!" called Andrew, but she ignored him as she often did. He dropped to the floor and plucked blonde curls from the faded carpet until the damage could not be disguised by combing fibers over the bald spot.
His older brother, Simon, sat at the desk, using their dad's computer. They weren't allowed to play games on school nights.
"Simon," Andrew said. "Will you ask her? Please?"
"Ask what?" said Simon.
"Ask Mom about 'Show and Tell.'"
"She's not my mom," said Simon. He jammed his fingers against keys until high-pitched music sounded and he yelled, "Yes!"
Fist pump.
"She won't talk to me," Andrew said.
"She will. Call her by her name," said Simon.
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Helicopter Mom by Leslie What.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

"Oh," Andrew said. "I forgot." Simon made him feel so stupid. "Alexa," Andrew said, "Can you come to Show and Tell?"
"I found Intel close to you," said their mom.
"I'll tell you played games," Andrew said, even though their dad wouldn't be home until they were in bed.
"Nobody likes tattle-tales," said Simon.
"Mom did," Andrew said. "Bio-mom."
"She's not here," said Simon.
"You're mean," Andrew said.
"You're stupid," said Simon.
Andrew hid four boogers in the carpet.
At five o'clock, their mom said, "The stove's preheated."
Simon stopped playing long enough to ferry the casserole dish over from the fridge.
In thirty minutes, their mom said, "Dinnertime." At six, she said, "Dishes."
Their mom used to say sleeping was Andrew's super-power. His bio-mom.
Andrew fell asleep and didn't wake until sunrise, when their mom said, "Time to get up, sleepy-head."
His eyelids were sticky with the white gunk their mom had called "sleep." His bio-mom. The white gunk came off when he rubbed his eyes. He ate it, got up, peed, trudged down the hall for breakfast. Simon was already bicycling to school.
"Alexa," Andrew said. "Do you know what day it is?"
"Today is Monday, April 22."
Andrew checked the fridge. No cake.
He poured himself milk while his strawberry toaster pastry heated. He hummed the birthday song before gobbling down his pastry.
Their mom said, "Brush your teeth."
Andrew didn't want to. He ran the faucet in case she was listening. His bio-mom used to say she had eyes at the back of her head but Alexa had ears in every room.
Andrew walked outside, way too early for the bus, and looked up to check if the moon still shone in the morning sky. The watery edge of the horizon rippled. A black bird, probably a crow, emerged from the ripples and grew bigger as it flew toward him. Lights flashed, probably its eyes. It clutched a glittering, silver fish in its talons. But when the crow reached his house, the silvery thing was just a foil-wrapped box. The crow wasn't even a crow, but a small helicopter, maybe a drone, something he'd seen on one of Simon's games. The helicopter stopped, hovered above the sidewalk. Its blades clicked and whirred. It helicoptered downward, wings whipping up the air like summer dragonflies. The drone released its package.
Andrew reached down to pet the sleek skin of the machine.
"Special delivery for Andrew," said their mom. Her voice came from a speaker in the drone. "Happy birthday to you," said their mom. "Hope you like your present."
It was a video game without any blood on the cover, but that didn't matter. "I love it. Thanks, Mom," Andrew said.
Their mom said, "You're welcome. Your father says just for today you can play it after school." As it hovered near his face, warm air tickled his cheek.
Andrew closed his eyes and whispered something he hadn't said in almost a year: "Mom," he said. "I love you."
"You love me," said his mom before lifting herself up and helicoptering away.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.8 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):