I thought this was a Fred Brown short story, but can't find it. In the story, an inventor (living alone in an isolated cabin I think) creates a machine that can deliver/create anything for him. He says :"girl" and a girl appears - a little girl (not what he wanted). In annoyance, he mutters "Hell" - and dies in the fire that consumes his home. Probably only a page or two long.

1 Answer 1


A Lot to Learn by Robert T. Kurosaka

Yet again a story from 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories edited Isaac Asimov.

It's so short I'll quote the whole story:

The Materializer was completed.
Ned Quinn stood back, wiped his hands, and admired the huge bank of dials, lights and switches. Several years and many fortunes had gone into his project. Finally it was ready.
Ned placed the metal skullcap on his head and plugged the wires into the control panel. He turned the switch to ON and spoke: “Ten-dollar bill.”
There was a whirring sound. In the Receiver a piece of paper appeared. Ned inspected it. Real.
“Martini,” he said.
A whirring sound. A puddle formed in the Receiver. Ned cursed silently. He had a lot to learn.
“A bottle of Schlitz,” he said.
The whirring sound was followed by the appearance of the familiar brown bottle. Ned tasted the contents and grinned.
Chuckling, he experimented further.
Ned enlarged the Receiver and prepared for his greatest experiment. With unlimited wealth, his next desire arose naturally from the lecherous D.O.M. deep within all of us.
He switched on the Materializer, took a deep breath and said, “Girl.”
The whirring sound swelled and faded. In the Receiver stood a lovely girl. She was naked. Ned had not specified clothing.
She had freckles, braces and pigtails. She was eight years old.
“Hell!” said Ned Quinn.
The firemen found two charred skeletons in the smoldering rubble.

  • 2
    Thank you. I was sure it was Brown, but was clearly wrong
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 9 at 16:43
  • 4
    What does "D.O.M." stand for? I've found "Dirty Old Man" which seems to fit the context, is that it? Commented Feb 12 at 11:51
  • @FabiosaysReinstateMonica The term (or anything with those initials) isn't used elsewhere in the story so it's not referring to anything story-specific. I think you're correct in your finding. I came across the same on acronymfinder.com, but I don't know how prevalent the acronym itself would have been in 1980. Commented Feb 12 at 15:00
  • 1
    Modern punchline is "an Instagram account appears" Commented Feb 12 at 15:43

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