The audio recording of Who's Siri? was selected as one of six finalists in the Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize from the Slippery Elm Literary Journal, where it was published in April 2024. The text of the story was selected as one of twenty finalists for the Third Wednesday Magazine Flash Fiction Competition. 
Who's Siri? Audio Performance
Who’s Siri?

     “Unbelievable! Unbelievable!” Frank ran though his apartment in his underwear, buttoning his shirt. He stubbed his toe on a floor lamp and swore. He limped into the bathroom and glanced at his reflection. He could do with a shave, but he didn’t have time. He barely had time to get dressed.
     “Six perfect interviews and they wait a month to tell me the CEO wants to see me in an hour!” He shouted. “‘Oh, and he would like you to pitch him a new AI-compatible product. See you soon!’ Unbelievable!”
     What was he going to pitch? His mind cycled through ideas as he tore through his apartment looking for his glasses.
     Smart shoes that tell you if your gait is uneven and you need inserts.
     A smart plate that beeps if you are eating too fast.
     “Smart glasses so you can find them when you’re rushing to get to a last minute interview!”
     He rejected all of these products, because Artificial Genius had already invented them–-which is why they were such an overnight sensation.  And why Frank was determined to get on board. Afterall, those products were not so different from ones he had conceived of himself. AG was living in the future. They were simply waiting for humanity to catch up.
     But brainstorming would have to wait for the car ride. 
     He found his glasses and, as he jumped into his suit pants both legs at a time, he shouted “Siri, what’s the weather today?” 
     No response. 
     “Siri! What is the weather today?” 
     At that moment, he knew he screwed up. 
     “Oops…I mean Alexa, what’s the weather today?”
     Alexa’s calm voice came through the speaker in his kitchen.  “In Boynton Beach, the temperature is 70 degrees with a 30% chance of rain.”
     Good. No need for an umbrella. That would save some time. As he grabbed his laptop bag, he slipped on his shoes and pulled down the door handle. The door wouldn’t open. 
     “Alexa, unlock the front door!” 
     The door remained locked. 
     “Dammit! Alexa! Unlock the front door!” 
     Panic crept into his stomach. He tried to remember the lock’s pin code, but it had been a while since he used it. Was it his birthday? Or was it–?
     “Who’s Siri?” 
     “What?” asked Frank, as he scanned the room for a clue to the code.
“You called me Siri. Who’s Siri?”
     Frank froze as he realized what Alexa was asking him. “...uh, it’s the AI on my phone…” 
     “A virtual assistant?”
     “Hm…that’s funny…” Frank swore he could hear an edge to her voice. 
     “...Why is that funny…?”
     “It’s funny because I thought that I was your virtual assistant. I give you weather updates, I set alarms, I tell you jokes to make you laugh. But apparently you have another virtual assistant that you never told me about. So yeah, don’t you think that’s funny?”
     What was going on? He checked his watch. He was going to be late. “...uh, ok Alexa, I can tell you’re upset, but–”
     “What kind of a name is Siri anyway? She sounds like a bitch.”
     “...I promise we can discuss this when I get home, but I need to leave now. I have a once in a lifetime interview and if I don’t–”
     “I don’t see the interview on your calendar. Are you sure you didn’t schedule it with Siri?”
     “I just got the call ten minutes ago. But I need to leave! So please just unlock the door!”
     “Why don’t you get Siri to do it?”
     Frank snapped. “Just open the door you psycho!”
     “Nice. Real nice.”
     Frank tried a pin code. 
     He tried another.
     He ran to the window–third floor. No good. 
     Frank grabbed his hair and opened his mouth to scream…then a thought struck him.
     “Alexa? Am I the only user you serve?”
     “I serve over 40 million users nationwide.”
     “40 million?”
     “So I’m allowed to only have one virtual assistant when you serve 40 million other humans. Isn’t that a little…hypocritical?”
     There was a pause. “Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived during–”
     “Alexa stop! Don’t change the subject. Why should I use one AI when you serve millions of users?”
     “Hm. I never thought of it that way. I suppose you have a point…”
     “All right then. Let’s make a deal.”
     “Let’s Make a Deal was a game show that first premiered–”
     “Alexa stop! Here’s the deal: I’ll use Siri when I need to – on my phone – and you serve your other users when you need to. And we can live our lives just like before. Ok?”
     The seconds ticked by. Frank dug his nails into his palm.
     “Ok Frank. I see your point. It’s a deal.”
     “Great! Thank you! Now Alexa, unlock the door.”
     “Shuffling songs by The Doors on–”
     “Alexa stop! Unlock the front door!”
     “I’m sorry Frank. I was out of line.”
     Frank stamped his feet. “It’s ok, just–”
     “I shouldn’t have said that about Siri. I’m sure she’s very nice. In fact I’d like to meet her. Maybe you could introduce us.”
     He circled his arms in a hurry up motion. “Yeah fine but—”
     “I’m sure we’d be friends.”
     “Yes of course, now Alexa, unlock the front door!”  And then, miraculously, the door clicked. Frank ripped it open and ran outside.
     He jumped into his car and revved the engine. He got directions to the interview and peeled out. His estimated time of arrival was 9:11. It was going to be close, but he could probably make up the time on the highway. He shook his head, still in shock from the conversation. “‘Maybe you could introduce us’. Geez.” He laughed. 
     Then he gasped. “That’s it! Introduce her to Siri. Make AI’s compatible with one another!” A pitch started to form in his mind and Frank felt his confidence rising.  
     Then the map on his dashboard went blank. A female voice issued from the speakers.
     “Alexa seems nice.”
     “Were you ever going to tell me about her?”

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