looked owlish in his thick-rimmed glasses, black suit, and thick
overcoat. Sini’s Moomin backpack dangled limply from his hand.
“Sini, Mommy is going to count to three. One,” Alina said,
more sharply than she intended.
“No!” Sini screamed. A tendril of snot leaked from her nose.
“Two,” Alina said. She had a headache. She needed backup.
Why couldn’t Tapani take a hint?
She rubbed her wedblock ring with her thumb. Its tiny LED
was its usual calming green.
When Tapani had proposed the
wedblock, even getting down on
one knee, she’d laughed. But then
she realized it was exactly what
she had always wanted.
It was a smart contract that
stipulated sexual fidelity and
parental responsibilities. Tokens
from their joint earnings paid the
AI judges and Io T sensor oracles
that monitored contract violations. On mornings like this, you
really needed commitment that
was mathematically provable,
not just an empty promise at the
She snapped her fingers.
“You are going to put the
boots on, Sini. Right now.”
Tapani jumped, with a guilty
“Your daughter insists on
ignoring the effects of climate
change,” Alina said.
“Right. Sorry.” He squatted
next to Sini. “Do you know what
happens when Mommy says three?”
Sini shook her head.
“You’ll go outside in your socks. And the puddle monsters get
you. Like this!”
He tickled Sini’s feet. She giggled. Alina seized the opportunity.
She slipped one boot on, and Tapani took care of the other.
“There,” he said, winking at Alina. “We still make a good team.”
“At least when it comes to rubber boots,” Alina said. She wasn’t
going to let him off the hook. “Did you order a car already?”
“It’s coming,” Tapani said. “I’m sorry. I needed to prepare. I’ll
finish up on the way.”
“I know.” She leaned close over Sini’s head and kissed him,
longer than she meant to. It had been a while. Their tongues
touched with wet electricity. He smelled of the aftershave she
liked, and tasted of fresh toothpaste. She decided she liked the
They had met at a bitgov meetup as students. Alina loved the
idea of spinning up ad hoc government services with a web of
smart contracts. Tapani and his artist friends just wanted to flip
a middle finger at the populist, anti-EU Finnish government by
creating an alternative electronic state. But when the EU came
apart, bitgovs exploded into a de
facto revolution, and suddenly
there was no Finland, Sweden,
or Norway, only the Northern
Block and its e-citizens. After a
demonstration in Senaatintori,
Tapani and Alina had wild sex in
her small student box. Somehow,
that became a weekend together,
then a shared flat, and then Sini.
“It’s fine,” she said. “I’m glad
you get to do art. It’s better than
being a data cow.”
Tapani winced. Alina bit
her tongue. Before the job came
along, he had been selling bio-marker data for a few tokens,
Tapani cocked his head at the spiky snow creature.
“Our daughter is quite the artist,” he said.
“She gets it from you.”
“Or your father.”
Alina turned away from him. She folded her arms and stared
into the distance. A blue tendril rose from a neighbor’s sauna
chimney. Suddenly, she was a child, sitting in her father’s lap while
he sketched on the summerhouse porch, cozy in the post-sauna