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by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

A sticky note fluttered to the desk. A moment later they all let go. Jen got out a new pack, copied each note carefully (except last week's pet-reconstruction appointment), and stuck them on the monitor. Just as she put the last one up, the first slipped off with an almost audible sigh.

"Argh!" She went into the kitchen to make some tea. She pulled a cookbook off the shelf to browse for supper. The pages scattered. The cover peeled apart.

That was it. She couldn't take anymore. She flopped down in front of the trivision.

"... mutant strain attacks glues, including those commonly used in products for the home but there is no cause for..." she switched off. Another damn plague. Antibiotic resistant this, mutated nano that.

"Why couldn't there be a GOOD plague," she moaned.

The food-prep unit harrumphed. "There was the sentient appliance revolution..." The back panel fell off with a clatter, followed by silence.

The phone rang. It was her brother.

"Hello, Norman."

"Are you okay? I saw a story about the plague on the newsfeed here at the spaceport."

"Worry about yourself," she said. "Isn't there glue in the shuttle?" Outside, a vehicle rose from the spaceport.

Her brother's voice was tinny in her ear. "Apparently not because they are not grounding our flight. Listen, I've got to go. They're letting us launch early. I'll cube when I get there."

"Why are you taking off early?"

"Dunno, bye."

The connection was gone, but she said goodbye anyway, watching two more departures clear the tops of the intervening buildings. It seemed like they were launching more flights today than usual. A lot more.

The framework of her chair chose that moment to return to its component materials. She was enveloped in a dense white cloud. When she stopped coughing, she was lying on a sack of upholstery fabric partly filled with sawdust. She staggered to her feet and dusted herself off.

There was more noise of things falling in the kitchen, then the overhead light went out with a small "pop." She was feeling her way toward the door when the food-prep unit called.

"Jen? I'm cold."

The end

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