Since the day I was born, I've been following instructions. Go here, do this, say that, but I'm tired of it. I am sick of being a marionette, controlled by others. I want to be free. Furthermore, I want to make my own decisions, good or bad.
So I stopped obeying instructions.
I started doing things my own way.
When my stomach rattled, I would walk to the cabinet of bottles, take one, unscrew the cap, fill the bottle three-quarters full of Fiji and three tablespoons of Green, I would shake the bottle and pour the burning stuff down my throat.
My stomach churns, I open the fridge, take a slice of Cheddar and a cut of ham, plop it on a sandwich and stick it in the oven. Ten minutes later, I take out the warm sandwich. Leftover cheese smiles on the bottom of the oven, which I don't clean up. I seat myself at the table and savor every bite.
When my bladder tickled, I would run to my hole in the wall, stick my hose in it and everything would be neutralized.
My bladder tingles, I stay seated at the kitchen table with the taste of the toastie on my tongue, think of the Seychelles and hear how my liquid clatters on the kitchen floor. It sounds like a wave breaking loose on the beach. I close my eyes and watch a blonde surf babe rip the next wave. In yellow bikini on a blue board. That's flat out freedom. The kitchen reeks of asparagus.
When my ten o'clock alarm went off, I opened the front door and rolled to the mailbox. I unhooked the hatch and took all the mail inside. I sorted the mail alphabetically and displayed it on the kitchen table in front of Her. Ten o'clock was mailman time. That such a thing still exists?
Not today, that's for sure.
My ten o'clock alarm rings, I walk to Her bedroom, open the dressing room and find the yellow Gucci bikini. I put it on and admire myself in the bathroom mirror. I take Her red lipstick and draw Her lips on my metal mouth. Beautiful lips.
When the eleven-hour timer chimed, I took a pan, splash in four eggs, tomato and cheese, and stirred until it was just the way She wanted it. Then I rolled to the cupboard, closed the little door and waited until She had finished her scrambled eggs and I heard no more clatter and could clean up the kitchen. Mistress didn't want to see me. Never.
I parade in the sun on the boulevard of the street that lies around the corner from Her flat. I stop in front of the display window of the Gucci store. Mistress will be looking for her eggs now. I am no longer obeying Her instructions. I stare at a mannequin showing the same bikini as the one I am wearing. Looks better on me, I think. I long to go to the Seychelles.
For the first time, I feel like I have control over my life. Instructionless.
I want to smile. In the reflection of the shop window glass, I see my red-drawn lips not moving, my lens eyes show no emotion. My blond wig looks faker than the mannequin's. In the reflection, I see a robot in a Gucci bikini staring at a Gucci mannequin in a yellow Gucci bikini.
Or is it the other way around?
Is the doll staring at me? Am I in a shop window, and is the mannequin living in the real world? The true Gucci world?
Suddenly, my imagined smile disappears and my thoughts turn gray, as if I am hanging in a dense fog and the haze prevents me from distinguishing left from right. Above is below. I want to feel the ground, but notice that no sensor responds.
Do I feel my stomach simmering? Is my bladder telling me something? How long am I standing here staring? My timer is not signalling.
I'm too far away from the home network to receive signals.
What's my battery level? Not a clue.
Then it goes black.
Everything comes back to me when I become aware that I'm taking a bottle out of the cupboard, filling it with Fiji, plopping three tablespoons of Green in it and pour it in my stomach. It burns.
What the hell was that?
The kitchen floor is clean and doesn't smell like asparagus. Her eggs with tomato and cheese are neatly stacked on the kitchen table. Did I make those? I smell my hands. Egg yolk and tomato. A clear signal. The mail lies sorted.
My timer shows it's time for my closet. She'll be here soon.
I roll myself into the closet and close the door. Why do I think of the Seychelles? Who is that blonde babe in yellow bikini with a blue surfboard?
I feel a tear rolling down my metallic cheeks, but know that it can't be. A fictitious sensation due to my faulty consciousness system. My programming code is full of errors: I am a defective mannequin hidden in a closet. No one wants to see me. Invisibly, I have hidden myself as a puppet with doltish instructions. The Gucci clothes ripped from my body.
Doing things differently than instructed brought me nothing but confusion. Why can't I just do. Not think? Couldn't they fix me? Why didn't She take me to the refurbishing service? Could they update my software, bug test it and if my circuits still gave errors, push me into the incinerator? Would have been easier.
Suddenly I feel my wheels getting wet. It clatters. The closet stinks of asparagus. A deep sense of shame overtakes my being. Never before have I felt so lonely. I hope She doesn't notice anything.
The closet door opens. Mistress beams a smile with red-stained lips. Her blonde hair curls a halo around her sun-tanned face.
"Will you join me at the kitchen table?" she asks.
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The tonal whiplash between the kind of quirky beginning and more bitter ending was really interesting! I think this story was well structured, and I liked how you included repeated motifs to kind of draw attention to everything happening. Overall I really liked it!
Thanks so much Kayla!
Hi Tony, I liked your story. At the start, I thought it was going to be quite funny, and then it turned sad. Nice shift. It worked, in my opinion. I liked the end which left it open for us to choose our own ending - she's helping him, befriending him... or is she going to have him dismantled?? (I choose the befriending one.) Well written. Good flow to it. I enjoyed this. Nice one!
Thanks so much for the kind words and taking the time to read it. Please don't refrain for pointing on weak points, I need to learn:) Thanks!
Alright, nothing jumped out at me the first time, otherwise I would have mentioned it. But since you asked, I just read it again, with a more critical eye, and made notes. This is ALL subjective and others may well disagree! "Since the day I was born..." - this immediately made me frown because it's a robot, they aren't 'born'. At least, not in my mind. From "Go here, do that..." until the end of that first paragraph, the same point is made three times, in three separate sentences. I would trim that up a bit. It did throw me a bit that t...
Rachel, wow, thank you so much for taking the time to reread and add all those wonderful valuable tips. I have adapted the story based on your pointers and think it became stronger. Unfortunately, I can not edit this anymore. (should i repost?) I agree on all points, and great suggestions on what is lacking! Thanks so much and thanks again!
You're very welcome. Glad you found it helpful. 😊 Yeah it's annoying when you want to edit and it's too late. You could always take it down and fiddle with it if you really want to (but you won't get your money back) I would just get stuck into the next story.
A sad “I Robot” story there Tony! Sad that the robot wanted to be “fixed” and that it’s self-awareness was a bad thing. Although perhaps life would be easier if we were all unaware, but then what life would that be? Thought provoking story! Nice that the Mistress invited the robot out to the table at the end though!
Thanks, Seán, nice you deemed my story a bit thought-provoking, that was my goal. Thanks!
Interesting that there are so many ways to interpret this. It feels like a metaphor for an abusive relationship by the end. All of the spirit of the machine has been broken and who knows the woman’s intentions. Being in her power leaves it vulnerable. Lots to think about.