A New Cassandra

“I quit,” Henry said.

“You can’t quit,” Tom said. “You’re the boss.”

“Well I quit web design. Let’s build our own website instead. No more clients constantly complaining or changing their minds over and over,” Henry said. “What do you think, Tracy?”

“I think that we should continue designing websites until your new website’s a sure thing,” Tracy said. “Let’s not get crazy.”

Tom nodded. “I don’t mind a side project. What do you have in mind?”

“Fortune telling,” Henry said. “It shouldn’t be too hard to write some vague, self-fulfilling prophecies. I have a bunch already written.”

“So, just randomly generated fortunes?” Tracey asked. “Like a fortune cookie without the cookie?”

“What if we made a robot fortune teller?” Tom asked.   “The fortune could come out of its mouth.”

Tracy started taking notes. “It could make cute robot sounds, like blurp beep bip beep.”

Henry smiled. “Thanks guys. I think this is going to be really great.”

A few weeks later, the website was ready to test.   Tracy called it The New Cassandra. Henry wasn’t thrilled with the name. “But no one listened to Cassandra,” he said.

“But she was a famous fortune teller,” Tracy said.

“I like it,” Tom said. “Can I go first? I want to see what the fortunes are like.”

“I think I did a pretty good job with them,” Henry said.   “Go ahead.”

Tom answered a few questions and clicked the button to get his fortune. Blurp beep bip beep. “You are starting to feel self-conscious, and rightly so,” he read.

“That’s his fortune?” Tracy asked.

“Pretty good, huh?” Henry said.

“I don’t know what to think,” Tom said. “Tracy, why don’t you try it out?”

Tracy sat down and answered the questions. Blup beep bip beep. “You’ll have a terrible day.”

“Try it again,” Tom said.

Blurp beep bip beep. “Everyone will forget you.”

“Again?” Tom said.

Blurp beep bip beep. “All your friends are imaginary,” Tracy read. She frowned. “Tom, this is terrible. Are all the fortunes like this?”

“Like what?” Henry asked.

“Mean-spirited and depressing,” Tracy said. “No one wants to hear stuff like this.”

“But aren’t fortunes supposed to sound like approaching doom? That’s what Cassandra did, isn’t it?” Henry asked.

“This is the New Cassandra,” Tracy said. “Make it upbeat.”

“But writing new fortunes will take forever,” Henry said.

“I think she’s right,” Tom said. “If people want to be depressed, they’ll watch the news.”

“Fine,” Henry said. “I’ll see what I can do.”

It took a few more weeks, but once again they sat down to test out the new website. “I’ll try it out first again,” Tom said. He answered the questions. Blurp beep bip beep. “You will have a great day.”

“Try it again,” Tracy said.

Blurp beep bip beep. “You have great potential.”

“Again?” Tracy said.

Blurp beep bip beep. “You are loved.”

“That’s much better,” Tracey said.

“I think this could be pretty popular if we advertise it right,” Tom said.

“You think so?” Henry asked.

“Yes,” Tracy said. “But don’t quit your day job.”