SepSceneWriMo #21

A synthetic female voice joined the mesmerizing images on screen. Its liquid smoothness detailed the flow of air currents, the curved lines of weather fronts driving as battle brigades up through the Southeast United States. It went on to highlight the jet stream, a great looping wave, which would bring freezing rain to the Great Lakes and the Eastern seaboard. The sequence came together seamlessly. The demo was flawless.

“What do you mean, the weatherman is dead?” Hank Rowan stood in his trademark blue suit, his sunshine-yellow tie hanging loose around his neck. “People need the weather to be explained.” He slapped the eight-foot wide screen with the back of his hand. “They want me to tell them tomorrow will be a great day for a picnic or when to run from a hurricane. They trust me. They…”

“Nobody trusts the weatherman.” Channel director Sallie Trevors, black pantsuit shrouding her skeletal figure, pointed a finger at the program manager and nodded. “People trust their social connections. They trust targeted information sent directly to them.” She waved for Hank to take a seat. On the screen the images ran through a comprehensive but silent report. “In a word, they trust the system. The computer system that, whether they know it or not, is designed to earn their trust.”

“Manipulate it, you mean.” Hank shook off his blazer like a snake from its skin. He threw it around the chair and sat. “These weather models, they’re not always right.”

Sallie sipped her copper-colored insulated thermos, and licked her lips, the sickly green tint of her diet drink a line like a french mustache. “When was the last time you had to read a meteorological chart? A barometric table of numbers or run a spreadsheet of historic storm surges?”

“That’s what computers are for. But computers can’t communicate the human side of climate, of floods and drought. Of storms that wreak havoc and leave people homeless or dead.”

“We’ve got human-interest newscaster for those stories. And we’ve got her.” Trevors tilted her head toward the screen.

Sliding in from the right came a buxom woman in a vivid blue dress. Her neutral painted nails at the end of her model-perfect hands and arms, together with an indeterminate race made her appear as a weather goddess. The constant buzz of whispers on the set quit dead. She moved like a river, never taking her virtual eyes from the camera.

Hank couldn’t help himself. “Wow.”

“Yeah, she’s something.” Trevors clinked her thermos on the glass table. “I’m sorry, Hank, but the decision’s been made. Cloud Weather’s record speaks for itself. Its AI voice engine, its instant access to every weather event on the planet, they proved it. People just want the facts when it comes to the weather. And their massive computational capability…  You can’t compete—not with them, not with her. We have to let you go.”

Hank Rowan forced his gaze away from ‘Andrea’—your All-Weather correspondent. Behind her the fully integrated CGI presentation continued to loop, a scene of wind speeds, cloud water content and a rolling five-day forecast for the Eastern seaboard.

Hank twitched his mustache and spoke to the channel director. “You know, the solar cycle is cranking up. What happens when the next Carrington Event destroys all this,” he scanned the set, “all this technology?”

Andrea’s disembodied voice answered for the crew, “Current probability of a G-5 class CME stands at point-five percent for the next three years. There is little danger for the foreseeable future.”

“Yeah.” Hank donned his jacket. “As if the Universe cares about your probabilities.” He left the studio carrying his box full of snow globes, each one having been jostled so that, even in Miami, it began to snow.

15 thoughts on “SepSceneWriMo #21

  1. I enjoyed reading the scene. I am not sure about all the feedback but I do not see what they seem to see. Different strokes for different folks say I.
    As to the story, if people want facts and only facts or more accurately not facts but projections based on weather science models of varying reliability we already have the weather readily available 24 hours a day on the web for everyone in the developed world and beyond. I don’t see the need for the gal. If one wants to look at beautiful women in beautiful dresses the internet has a universe of such images that one would not be able to exhaust in two life times. And what happened to the We movement. Will the station get boycotted for their using an image of a young women, sexually attired?
    Loved the last paragraph. I could feel the weatherman’s thoughts and loved the jostled snow globe and the resulting thought of the beginning of snow in Miami. Adds a cinematic sense.
    As to the CMT EVENTS I would like to keep those that give us the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) and Southern Lights (aurora australis) – beauties of nature. Just keep the power low.
    Don’t talk of quitting. Talent like yours is not to be lost or locked away. As the Vikings said years ago to jump to another scene – Bravery to go forth is half the Victory. (yes I capitalized bravery and victory, screw the rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the world is full of generalizations. I know a guy in San Antonio who watches the weather in Spanish. Does he speak it? No. Does he get what he needs from the graphics? Sure. Does he wait in anticipation for the fleshy, cartoonish chick with 10 pound eyelashes and Cadillac bumper boobs in a dress a size too small to strut and smile and laugh her way through whatever the national weather service has laid out. Hell yes.
    Hail and tornado alley will make you a radar junkie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Two things – do we need the defintion “not entirely human, not quite machine”? Synthetic is synththetic. “pleasant”, “pleasing” “androgenous” “easy on the ears and psyche,” blah blah. We know no more about from the proposed definition of synthetic than we started with.
    next – Judging by the weather “babes” from across the globe “People just want the facts when it comes to the weather” is one of your sweeping people-not-required generalizations. If there was no demand for tight clothes and short skirts/dresses on a bevy of often buxom, toothy personable meterologists or simply weather readers why are they there? Why do they they arrive from the cornbelt into major markets in droves? Why does every c market station that can fog a mirror with hairsprayed has been anchors have a perky weather girl? Cable and broadcast offer NOAA’s robot purporting clow-uh-dee skies. Alexa can tell me the temperature. But neither is cheerful 5AM eye candy.
    Speed bump alert. —all with the silky voice of ‘Andrea’ your All-Weather correspondent—returned to purr out the future. Just write the sentence. I’m old and have enough trouble getting from her to there without the potholes. How about all wrapped in the silky voice of la dee dah? Do we need to know she’s returned? Where did she go?
    Okay – that was my last one, swear to god. I thought we’d take a month to fix our bad habits and stop posturing with words. Happy Halloween!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Points taken.
      I had the “nobody trusts the weatherman” quote in my head, had to come up with a supporting story.
      I may never cure my writer’s issues. I’m about September’d out, anyway. Gonna have to quit this false dream and work on my code to get this grey-haired programmer a job.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t give up on the dream, fuckin’ work at it. I send you to tomes of insight and rehearsal technique that I doubt you’ve cracked. Because for some reason you think if you squeeze hard enough it’ll come out right. The only way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one until you have a toolbox full of alternatives. The phony academic pontification riff you picked up somewhere and can’t shake like an Afrin junkie is like having a nursery rhyme stuck in your head. The second you see those em/en dashes come out for anything but an interruption cast them out. They are telling you Dave, buddy, write the fucking sentence, will ya? Work. Lanham and work. Look at your work. Work at your work. Write from exercises to hit a mark. Listen to dialect instead of inventing it. Transcribe 10 minutes of gator hunters. Transcribe a weather “babe.” Work at it. Coding is wonderful for employment work, but ya gotta work at your dreams. You can’t tread water in the same place and wish.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. In a far away galaxy, a mole decided to put his theory of the absurdity of the universe into practice by absurdly claiming he would give up on something he wants to do that he is doing right now. He also wanted everyone to praise him and encourage him which was his secret motive.

            Liked by 1 person

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