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Science Fiction

CHARLIE 11. “May I have a try? I am sure I can get it in.” Charlie intoned in his metallic voice. “Okay Charlie, just one try!” The four teenagers backed away giving each other sneering looks and giggling behind their hands. The basketball flew across the court, over the top of the goal post and smashed through Mr Smith’s front window. The young boys all suddenly disappeared, leaving Charlie standing in the middle of the court. Mr. Smith came striding into the court face as red as beetroot. “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing? Your owner will have to pay for that! You shouldn’t be allowed to play with those teenagers, you’re too strong. I’m going to report you to the authority!” “I am very sorry Mr. Smith, it will not happen again. I know how hard to throw it now, so that it will go in the hoop.” “You won’t get another chance, if I can help it. I’m going to have you banned!” “But, I said I am sorry Mr. Smith?” Mr. Smith turned on his heel and marched out of the court, muttering to himself, straight to Charlie’s front door. “Bruce, you get out here now! This android of yours is causing trouble again!” Bruce Brown opened the wire door slightly. “What is it this time Mr. Smith? Don’t you have anything better to do than pick on an android?” “He just put the basketball through my window. You’ll have to pay to get it fixed!” Bruce looked at Mr. Smith. He would like to punch him in the face, but he said --- “Okay, sorry about that Mr. Smith, just send the bill to me when you have it fixed, and I’ll have a word with Charlie.” Bruce slammed the door shut. That night as Leanne and Charlie got dinner ready, Bruce walked into the kitchen. “What were you doing today Charlie, you know you’re too strong to play games with the teenagers.” “I am sorry Mr. Brown, I just wanted to join in, it looked like so much fun, but I forgot to hold my strength back a little when I threw it, I will do much better next time!” “No Charlie, there will be no more basketball, okay? That is an order!” “Yes Mr. Brown.” “That really is a shame Bruce, can’t he have one more chance?” Bruce’s wife asked. “Not when it’s costing me money we can’t afford. Sorry, no more basketball!” The next morning Charlie walked the two young Brown children to School, then headed back home. As he passed the Ranch Café he noticed several skateboards left at the door by some boys who had gone inside to purchase a drink. “They will not miss one for a few minutes, and I will bring it straight back!” Charlie put a foot on the skateboard and started off down the path. He was going along quite smoothly when he turned the corner and was suddenly sliding down hill. Charlie tried desperately to stop but the speed kept building. “Out of the way please!” He yelled. People scattered in all directions as he sped along the footpath. He could hear people screaming and swearing at him, but he had no idea how to stop. Suddenly everything went black. When Charlie came to, a Policeman was standing over him. He was checking Charlie’s identity tag. “I’m sure Mr Brown will be pleased, when he receives this fine for reckless endangerment by his android, come on Charlie let’s get you home before you cause any more trouble.” When they got to the house, Charlie was banished to the recreation room. “I hope I haven’t caused any damage to him Mr Brown, but the only way to stop him was to trip him up, before he could hurt anyone.” “I’m sure he’ll be okay, they are built pretty strong, thank you for bringing him home, and I’m glad no body was hurt.” Bruce shut the door and looked at the three-hundred dollar fine in his hand for “reckless endangerment by an android.” On his desk he had a bill sent from Mr Smith, two-hundred and fifty dollars, for replacing his front window. This android was starting to be very costly. Bruce went into the rec room and sat on the sofa. Charlie was standing by the window. “What am I going to do with you Charlie?” You have cost me nearly six-hundred dollars in the last few days, I can’t keep paying out bills for your foolishness, like this. Explain to me why you do these things.” Charlie turned to Bruce. “I just want to blend in with everybody else. I want to be able to do the same things you and young Robert do. Play games, have fun with friends.” “ You’re an android Charlie, we bought you to help around the house, you aren’t supposed to want those things?” “I am sorry Mr Brown, I can not help it, I just want to be like everyone else.” Bruce had no answers. His android was supposed to help around the house, do the gardening, and look after any machinery around the house. Bruce had purchased him because the house had gotten so hectic, with him and his wife working full time and two teenagers starting High School, and now they had a baby on the way, as well. The way his android was acting now was like having an extra teenager in the house. “One more chance Charlie, that’s all. If you cause any more damage I will have to trade you in, I don’t have any choice.” “Yes Mr Brown.” That night Bruce had to go to a meeting, it would be a very late night for him as they usually went until around 3am. He gave his wife a kiss and said good night to his sons. “You look after our family Charlie, I will be home very late in the morning.” “I will protect them with my life Mr Brown, good night.” Charlie put the dishes in the dishwasher, put a load of washing on, cleaned up the kitchen and did some ironing. It was around midnight, the boys were in bed asleep and Mrs Brown had fallen asleep on the sofa in front of the television. Charlie knew she didn’t want him to wake her, just put a blanket over her and turn off the television, which he did. Charlie had settled down in a chair to read a science book, when he heard a small noise outside. It was footsteps, and they were just outside the lounge room window. He knew it wasn’t Mr Brown, because he could recognise his footstep. Charlie triggered a silent alarm at the side of the front door, so the Police were on their way. He woke Mrs Brown quietly and told her to go to the boys bedroom and lock herself in, which she did. Charlie stood in the shadows in the corner of the lounge room and waited. The robbers cut a hole in the window, reached in and pulled it open. As soon as the first robber had stepped in through the window, Charlie lunged and gave him an almighty upper cut to the jaw, which laid him out cold. The second robber stepped through the window and only had time to see his friend on the floor when a hammer fist hit his jaw and laid him out cold as well. Charlie grabbed the cord from the curtains and tightly bound their hands behind their backs. Charlie opened the door of the boys bedroom. “I have tied them up, you can come out now, it is all right.” A few minutes later sirens were wailing and Police cars skidded to a halt out the front of the house. They congratulated Charlie on a good job, and told Mrs Brown how lucky they were to have him. In the middle of all the Police cars and lights, Mr Brown raced in the front door. “What’s going on? Has anyone been hurt? What have you been up to Charlie?” “Your android has just saved your family from being hurt by a very nasty pair of robbers. We have been after these two guys for several months. They usually assault the women in the house and some have finished up in hospital in a bad way, you were very lucky tonight.” The Police Chief said. After giving his family a big hug and wiping tears from his eyes, Bruce took Charlie aside. “I am so, so sorry Charlie! How can I ever thank you for what you did tonight?” “I was only doing my job Mr Brown, but if you really want to do something for me, please help me to blend in with your friends and family. That is all I have ever wanted.” “Charlie, I promise from now on you will be included in everything we do. You are a part of our family and you are welcome to join in with us at anytime you want. Well, maybe you had better not play basketball anymore, or try to ride a skateboard in town, but anything else is fine!” “I agree Mr Brown, I will stay away from those things.” “Charlie, you can call me Bruce, you have earned the right.” “Thank you Bruce, Mr Brown!”

February 22, 2021 21:45

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