Pardon Me Your Chips Are Showing

Submitted into Contest #82 in response to: Write about an android just trying to blend in with their human companions.... view prompt

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Contemporary Crime Drama

Pardon Me Your Chips Are Showing—George Davis

  Gavin Oliver is the chief technician at Herman Electronics, a leader in the manufacturer of androids. His research in AI Artificial Intelligence is unparalleled. Electronics Today, a noteworthy magazine for modern-day techies says, ‘Gavin Oliver is today’s leading authority on AI androids.’ 

  This is the story of an android that escaped from the lab from which he was created by, Gavin Oliver. 

  This robot, if you will, was designed and manufactured to be a Gavin Oliver clone. His dark hair and mustache sat on an artificial face. The eyes are dark brown with nylon eyelashes. His ceramic dentures are pearly white. His aquiline nose and chiseled chin make this android difficult to tell if he is plastic and electronic, or Gavin Oliver himself. 

  “I was proud of this droid. I put all my research to work to make him as real as possible. I spent hours programming him. Nevertheless, it seems my creation has escaped.”

  A white-frocked assistant asked, “How did it happen, Doctor Oliver?”

  “I’m afraid I don’t know. When I left the lab last night he was right here in this alcove,” Oliver said, pointing to the small niche.”

  The assistant asked, “Are you sure you locked up last night, Dr. Oliver?”

  “Yes, I have been locking these doors for over ten years. I know I turned the key last night.” It wasn’t like Oliver to forget anything. He had a mind like a steel trap. But, could he have been so occupied with his work, he forgot?

  The Oliver drone walked the sidewalk on Main Street toward the Wayfarer Diner. He opened the door and walked in. Winnie the waitress said, “How are you doing, Dr. Oliver? Weren’t you in here for breakfast this morning? Are you In for more coffee, and maybe one of our chocolate donuts?” 

  “Coffee,” the clone said. Dr. Oliver’s creation fooled the waitress. However, would coffee ruin his electronics, cause them to short out? 

  “Always good to see you, Gavin—Dr. Oliver.”  

  “Please, call me, Gavin.”

  “Okay, Gavin.” The doctor isn’t his usual stuffed shirt this morning.

  Drinking the coffee, the Oliver clone got up and walked out. One thing Oliver forgot to program was paying the device’s bills.

  Winnie didn’t bother to chase after Oliver. She figured he was an absent-minded doctor. She’d catch him tomorrow when he comes in for breakfast.

  The assistant asked, “Do you want me to call the police, Dr. Oliver?”

  “No, I’ll go out and look for him myself.” The doctor drove down Main Street, stopping in at the diner. 

  “Well, Doctor you came back. I knew you must’ve forgotten to pay. It would have been all right. You could have brought it in tomorrow morning,” Winnie said.

  “I paid you for my breakfast, Winnie.”

  “I know you did, but you were in here fifteen-minutes ago and had coffee.”

  “So, I was in here earlier?”

  “Yes, you ordered coffee, but you went out in a hurry and forgot to pay. Look, forget it. The coffee is on the house.”

  “You make me happy, Winnie.”

  “Why, because I gave you a free coffee? That customer is my latest creation. I didn’t program him to wander off. He did that on his own.”

  “You mean to tell me, that—was not you? It was a robot?”

  “We don’t like to use the word robot. He is an android, Winnie.”

  “If I had to go to court and swear that was a clone of you, Doctor. I would have to say, yes it was Dr. Oliver.”

  “Did you see which way he went?”

  “When he left here he was headed down toward Thompson’s Drugstore.”

  “Thanks, Winnie.” Oliver left the diner and walked toward the pharmacy.

  “Morning, Dr. Oliver,” Stan Thompson said. Did you forget something?”

  “What do you mean, did I forget something?”

  “Well, you just left here, didn’t you?”

  “No, Stan I did not.” Oliver related the story of his creation. Then asked, did you see which way he went when he left here?”

  “Yes, he was headed toward Grant’s Garage.” Oliver thanked Stan and walked back to his car and drove over to Grant’s Garage.

  “Hey, Matt,” Oliver said to the owner. “Have you seen me this morning?”

  “That’s an odd question, Dr. Oliver. You just left here with one of my rental vehicles.” Oliver told Grant his story of the clone.

  Thinking maybe his creation may be hard to find since he’s driving a rental car. He could be anywhere in the state.

  Meantime, the clone was parking his car on Congress Street in Portland. He had no money, no change for the meter. He left the car there and walked down the street to the public library.

  The librarian, Myrtle Smith smiled and asked, “May I help you, Dr. Oliver?”

  “Yes, Ma’am. I’m looking for my latest publication. The one with my latest creation.”

  “I’ll get it for you, Doctor.” She returned with the latest issue of American Scientist. “Thank you,” he said, sitting down at the conference table in the foyer.

  Going over to the desk, he said to Myrtle, “I’ll be back later. Thank you for your help, Ma’am.”

  “You are welcome, Dr. Oliver. Hope to see you soon.”

  Two days passed and the clone was still missing. Oliver asked himself, “I didn’t put in a disc for learning to drive. How did he take a car from Grant’s Garage and drive off toward Portland? This was too much for Oliver to comprehend. There is no way that device could make it out of the lab on his own. He wasn’t programmed for such a fete. Oliver hadn’t finished working on him.

  Oliver’s assistant came in Tuesday morning out of breath. “Dr. Oliver,” he said. “Did you know Bickford Savings and Loan was held up late yesterday afternoon?”

  “No, a bank robbery in our little town? It’s hard to believe.”

  “That’s not the end of the story, Dr. Oliver. The bank manager told the police it was you who held up the bank, or, at least he thought it was you. The police should be here today to talk with you.” The door to the lab opened and Dexter Wyndham. Bickford’s chief of police walked in with his sergeant. “Morning, Dr. Oliver. We need to talk.”

  “About what, Chief?”

  “About where you were last evening around four-thirty.”

  “My assistant told me all about it, Chief. I can assure you. I did not rob any bank.”

  “Can you tell me where you were at that hour, Dr. Oliver?”

  “Yes, I was sitting in the Wayfarer Diner eating my supper. If you want to know. I had pea soup, a garden salad, and meatloaf.”

  “I’ll check that out with Winnie. In the meantime, don’t leave town.”

  “When was the last time I left Bickford. I can’t even remember. I won’t be going anywhere, except right here in my lab.”

  “If it wasn’t you. Then who was it?”

  “You won’t believe me if I tell you, Chief,” Oliver told the chief all about his experiment, and how it got loose.

  “You’re right, Dr. Oliver. I don’t believe you. How could a piece of machinery know enough to walk out of this lab and rob a bank? I’m afraid you’ve got to come up with a better idea than that.” 

  Dr. Oliver sat and pondered his next move. Where could that clone have gone? Think Gavin. Where would you go? The answer was if I had time, and this android has the time. I'd head into Portland to see the things I haven’t seen in over two years. 

  Congress Street was active. The intersection of Congress and High was extra busy. Traffic was backed up to Longfellow Square. What is all the commotion? Oliver sat in traffic for half an hour before the vehicles began to move. 

  A policeman directing traffic motioned Oliver forward. He rolled down his window and asked,   

  “What’s the problem, officer? Was there an accident?” 

  “Wait a minute. How’d you get into that car?” 

  “I just drove down from Bickford. What do you mean, how’d I get into that car?” 

  “If you are here, and—he is in the ambulance something’s crazy.” 

  “Explain, officer. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” 

  “I mean, you, or someone who looks enough like you to be your twin just got hit by a car. They’ve taken him to the medical center.”

  “Was he hurt badly?”

  “I don’t know. The EMT said he had several injuries.”

  “Thanks, officer.” Oliver drove to Bramhall and up to the medical center. At the ER desk, he asked. “Can you tell me where I can find the person you just brought in from the car accident on Congress Street?”

  “Yessir, are you a relative?”

  “You might say that, yes.”

  “He’s in there.” She pointed to a cubicle with the curtained was closed. Oliver went over and drew back the drapes and entered. Looking down at the figure on the body was like staring himself in the face.

  “Are you all right?” The patient didn’t answer. A nurse asked, “Are you related to the—patient, Sir?”

  “Yes,” Oliver said. “Is he—?”

  “No, he is not dead. He is under sedation at this time. He sustained several broken bones.” How could an android break bones he didn’t have?

  “When will he be able to talk, nurse?”

  “It will be another six or seven hours. Maybe you’d like to come back around—six tonight.” 

  “Okay, I’ll be here.” 

  “He must be your twin, Sir. He looks just like you.” 

  “Let’s just say, we resemble each other. Our actions are different." Oliver sat in the waiting room on the floor. At noon, he went into the cafeteria for lunch. He opted for the Chop Suey with green beans, mashed, and a yeast roll. The coffee was good and hot satisfying his coffee genes. 

  Oliver woke up, stared at the unfamiliar surroundings and then, realized where he was, the waiting room. The clock on the pale green wall read 6:15. 

  Oliver enquired at the ER desk. “Can you tell me what room the automobile accident victim was moved to this afternoon?”

  “Yes, he is in 310.” He thanked the clerk and took the elevator to the third floor. Walking down the hallway he came to 310. The bed was empty. He looked up and down the corridor, looking for the android. 

  “Can I help you, Sir?” It was a large man in white pants and matching frock; with a prominent ‘beer’ belly. 

  Oliver told him who he was seeking. “Oh, Mr. Oliver. He’s in surgery. He had quite an accident.”

  “How long will he be in the OR?”

  “Hard to say. Probably another four or five hours. The doctor said, he had a few broken bones.”

  That can’t be my android. Androids don’t have bones.

  Six hours later, the droid was wheeled into room 310. Oliver went into the room. “He’s out for awhile. Maybe you ought to go home and come back in the morning,” a nurse, coming from the hallway said.

  Oliver asked, “What did they do to him in there?”  

  The tall nurse said, “The doctor set a couple of his bones and removed his spleen. Is he your brother?”

  “You might say that.” Oliver drove back to Bickford. He’d return to the hospital in the morning.

  “I thought I told you not to leave town, Dr. Oliver,” Chief Wyndham said. Oliver told the chief, he thought his clone had gone into Portland because that’s what he would have done under the same circumstances.

  By eight-thirty, Oliver was up on the third floor at the nurse’s station. He was told his droid, if that’s who he was, had awakened early this morning.

  When Oliver walked through the door his look-a-like stared blankly at him and then asked.  “Who—who are you?”

  “I am Doctor Gavin Oliver. Who are you?”

  “I am Hamilton Brooks.”

  “Where are you from, Brooks?”

  “Portland. I was born in this hospital. My parents took me home to Washington Avenue. Where are you from?” 

  “I, too, was born in this hospital on January 18th, 1949.” 

  “The same day I was born. Coincidence, or are we twins separated at birth?” 

Oliver said, “Good question. We must have had the same parents, but which ones, yours or mine?” 

  “I have no idea. Tell me, Oliver. Do you have any relatives living in the city?” 

  “Just one, my mother’s sister, Janice Riley.” 

  “Well, Mr. Brooks. Did you rob the Bickford Savings Bank last week?” 

  “Huh? Bickford Savings? I don’t even know where Bickford is; never been there.” 

  “Well, it was either you or I, and I didn’t do it.” 

  “Neither did I, and don’t try to blame it on me.”

  “We’ll see what the police have to say about it,” Oliver said. 

  “Wait a minute. I am not a thief, Oliver. I’m an upstanding citizen. I work at the Lucky Strike bowling alley on Falmouth Street. My business partner and I own it.”

  “Look,” Oliver said. “I’m sorry for your accident, but you need to come up with an alibi for your whereabouts last Tuesday, Mr. Brooks.”

  Oliver drove over to Presumpscot Street to see his aunt.

  A small woman with no teeth and more wrinkles than an English Bull dog opened the door and said, “Hello, Gavin, what brings you to the big city?”

  “I need to ask you a question.”

  “What is it, dear?” Aunt Janice had a glass of white wine in her hand. The empty wine bottle sat on the coffee table. 

  “Was I adopted?”

  “What an odd question to ask me, Gavin.”

  “I need to know, aunt Janice.”

  “No, you were not adopted. Your mother had you at the medical center. I was there.”

  “Then maybe you can tell me why there is a man up at the hospital that looks exactly like me in every detail.” 

  “Er—look don’t blame your mother. She wasn’t married at the time and was working on the wharf in a sardine factory. She had little money. She could only care for one baby, and she chose you. I’m sorry you had to find out. Your mother was ashamed of what she did.” 

  “So the fellow up at the medical center is my brother. Is that right?” 

  “Is his last name, Brooks?” 

  “Yes, Hamilton Brooks.” 

  “Then that is your brother.” 

  “Thank you, Aunt Janice you have cleared up one mystery.” 

  “One, there is more?” 

  “Yes, I believe he robbed the bank in my hometown. People there thought it was me.” 

  “I heard he had turned out to be quite a problem child. However, I didn’t think he’d rob a bank.  When he was younger, in his teens, he was a handful. I’ve kept close tabs on him over the years.” 

  “Well, he must have gone from bad to worse because he is now wanted for robbery.” 

Oliver drove back to the hospital for one more visit. 

  “Mr. Brooks checked himself out thirty minutes ago against the doctor’s advice,” the nurse said. 

  Oliver drove back to Bickford. He stopped at Grant’s Garage. “Has the man who looks like me been in today, Matt?” 

  “No, why, are you looking for him?” 

  “Yes, when is your car due back?” 

  “Today by noon.” 

  “Thanks, Matt. Don’t tell him I’m looking for him. I want to surprise him. Okay?” 

  “Sure thing, Gavin. I won’t say a word.” 

  Noon and Oliver parked across the street from Grant’s Garage and waited. A black ’09 Kia Soul came round the corner onto Main Street and pulled up in front of the garage. Brooks got out and went inside. Oliver got out of his car and walked across the street. 

  “Well, Brooks, looks like you’re feeling better,” Oliver said. 

  “I ache all over if you want to know.” 

  “I found out the story from my aunt. I want to know what happened the day we were born?” 

  “I’m not particularly interested, but I suppose you’re going to tell me anyway.” Gavin Oliver related the story his aunt told him. Brooks's eyebrows did the cha-cha, his eyes darting from Oliver to the door. 

  “It won’t do you any good to run, Brooks. The police will be here any minute now.” Brooks pushed Oliver down and ran out the door heading toward Melanson’s taxi parked at the curb a block from the garage. 

  Oliver called Dexter Wyndham and alerted him, told him the whole story as it was told to him by his aunt. 

  Fifteen minutes Wyndham stopped Mick Melanson’s taxi heading out of town. Brooks was arrested and is sitting in the slammer at the county jail. 

  Hamilton Brooks was sentenced to ten to twenty and sent up to the State Prison to serve his time. 

  Gavin Oliver, when returning to his lab, found his assistant wiping down a very dirty android. 

  “Where’d you find him?” 

  “The janitor said he found him on the floor and thinking you had trashed him, put the droid in the trash bin. We’re lucky the rubbish collector didn’t take him to the dump.” 

  “Well, all’s well that ends well, I say.”   

February 25, 2021 14:29

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1 comment

Maria Moore
02:25 Mar 04, 2021

I really enjoyed "Pardon Me Your Chips Are Showing" and I believe that with more editing that it will be a truly great story. When Gavin and his assistant first speak to each other, I thought that the doctor's dialogue seemed a bit cold and androdian, then later, when Brooks turned up (before learning his name) I thought maybe Brooks was Gavin (As was the one walking all over town,} due to Gavin's dialogue seeming so cold. Then, We have you not having a comma in "Winnie the waitress" and not having it as "Winnie, the waitress"; Therefore, m...

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