Read His Robot Girlfriend Online

Authors: Wesley Allison

Tags: #daffodil, #fantasy, #fiction, #girlfriend, #robot, #science

His Robot Girlfriend

His Robot Girlfriend
By Wesley Allison

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of
characters to actual people, living or dead is purely
coincidental.

Copyright © 2008 by Wesley M. Allison

All rights reserved.

Cover art: © Ekaterina Solovieva |
Dreamstime.com

First Edition

For Donny, Jerry, and Wes.

His Robot Girlfriend
By Wesley Allison
Chapter One

Mike’s life was crap. And every day he got up
out of bed and thought about how it was crap. Today he climbed out
of bed and made his way through the discarded clothing on the floor
of the bedroom to the bathroom. His worn image looked out of the
mirror at him. He picked up his cordless razor and turned it on
before remembering that it was Saturday. He stuck out his tongue at
his reflection. Slipping off his underwear, he tossed it at the
hamper just outside the bathroom door. It landed on the floor.
Turning on the shower, he stepped inside the glass-doored stall,
and stood beneath the spray. He took a deep breath and then began
soaping up and rinsing off. Pouring a handful of shampoo, he
scrubbed his scalp, rinsed, and then turned off the water. He
waited about two minutes-- partly to drip dry and partly because he
didn’t want to face the day-- before he climbed out of the shower
stall.

Once he was dry, he walked back into the
bedroom, crossed to the dresser, and pulled out a clean pair of
underwear. The underwear was so old that it looked more grey than
the white that it had been, and the material had worn through
enough that the elastic showed in the waistband. He slipped his
left foot in the leg hole and then the right, getting his big toe
caught for just a second. Pleased with himself that he had not lost
his balance, he went back to the bathroom and combed his thinning
and graying hair. It had been graying for a long time. It had only
been thinning, at least noticeably for a few of years-- just since
Tiffany had died. He brushed his teeth, and grinned at the man in
the mirror. It wasn’t a friendly grin. Back in the bedroom, he
slipped on cut-off jeans and a green t-shirt. Then he walked
through the bedroom door, down the stairs, through the living room,
and into the family room.

He touched the screen of the vueTee hanging
just above the fireplace to turn it on, then passed through the
archway and into the kitchen. Pouring a bowl of cereal, he sniffed
the milk before adding it. It was still good. Grabbing a spoon, he
headed for the worn recliner which faced the vueTee. The screen was
on, but it wasn’t alive with movement and sound. It still had the
browser up and it was still on the Daffodil site. Mike had followed
the link the night before from the very slick commercial he had
seen during the Tonight Show. On the left side of the screen was a
large yellow daffodil and on the right were four large yellow
buttons, arranged vertically. The first said Barone, the second
Amonte, the third Nonne, and the fourth PWX.

Daffodil wasn’t the largest manufacturer of
robots, but it certainly had the most cultural cache. Their
commercials were by far the best. Everyone seemed to be talking
about them. Mike could hum their jingle right now. The four buttons
corresponded to the four basic robot units that Daffodil produced.
Though there was some crossover between the four types based on the
many options that were chosen, the Barone was usually an aid to
adults—a robot maid, gardener, or grandparent. The Nonne was a
babysitter type: a tutor, a nanny, or again, depending upon the
options, a maid. The PWX was an industry grade robot designed for
use by corporations and government organizations as a receptionist
or a clerk. Finally the Amonte was a personal companion. It could
be configured as an escort, a friend, or a lover. As the commercial
said, it was “anything and everything you want it to be”.

Mike leaned back in the chair and pointed the
remote at the vueTee. He moved the curser over the Amonte button
and pressed. The body frame options screen came up, but there was a
small window along the left side that said “narrow your
selections”. You could narrow them by price. You could narrow them
by race-ethnicity. Or you could narrow them by gender. Mike ignored
that side of the screen and looked at the body build. If you were
going to dream, you might as well dream unencumbered. Dials allowed
one to set height, chest, waist, and hips. He had already filled in
these features the previous night. After that, one flipped through
a series of screens where prospective customers could change almost
every aspect of their robot. The head controls gave one control
over the shape and placement of eyes, nose, lips, and ears, but
also let one choose the forehead shape and jaw line, the hair color
and style, the type of chin, and the placement of freckles. Other
controls set every detail from fingernails to nipples. Mike flipped
through them. The last screen showed the price for his particular
build: $2699.00. That would just about wipe out his payNEtime
account.

Mike let his curser drop down to the search
bar. He moved through the postings about Daffodil. There were many
from people questioning certain aspects of the design, but few from
people who had actually purchased one. Daffodil didn’t disclose
their sales figures to the public, but experts estimated that they
had thus far sold only about 300,000 units. There were a few
messages from owners of the Gizmo robot, who went on about how
superior it was, because you set its personality before purchase.
There was only one posting that Mike hadn’t seen. He clicked on it
and an aging woman with orange hair appeared on the screen.


I love my Daffodil. He
does everything for me—takes care of the bills, fixes my meals. He
drives me to visit my friends, and he rubs my feet every night. His
name is Andre. I just don’t know what I’d do without
him.”


Probably move to Florida,”
said Mike.

He flipped over to Today Saturday. As he
watched Tania Marquez read through the top stories of the day, he
thought about purchasing a Daffodil. Twenty seven hundred dollars
was a ginormous amount of money to spend. If he had still been
married to Tiffany there would be no question. He wouldn’t have
bought one. He would still have wanted one, but he wouldn’t have
bought one. Oh, Tiffany might have gone for a five hundred dollar
model designed just to clean the house, but she certainly never
would have let him get the one that he had designed online. Of
course if she had still been here... Oh sure, he might have
fantasized about a Gizmo Sexbot, but it would have remained just a
fantasy. Besides, he didn’t want a Daffodil for sex—well, not just
for sex. If he was going to get one, it would be for companionship.
It would do all the things that it was capable of doing.

The rest of the morning, Mike watched the
vueTee. After Today Saturday was over, he turned to the Cooking
Channel and watched Café Italiano, Breakfast at Bloomberg’s, and
America’s Test Kitchen. When Noon Buffet came on, he turned off the
vueTee and picked up his texTee. The New York Times had already
downloaded, so he flipped through the pages. Most of it was
politics. Mike didn’t hate politics, like everyone else he knew
seemed to. It was just that there didn’t seem much point to it at
the moment. All three major parties had chosen their candidates
even though none of them had yet had their convention, and it was
more than six months till the general election.

The paper bored him after a few minutes, so
he clicked through the book menu. He had the first chapter of The
Janissary Tree, so he read it. When he was done, he still wasn’t
sure if he wanted to spend $17.99 for it. He flipped over to Moby
Dick. He had the whole book. Before this year, he hadn’t read it
since college and wanted to read it through again, annotating it
along the way—just because. It was slow going. Here it was April,
and he was only on Chapter 24: A Bosom Friend. He tossed the texTee
onto the floor beside the chair.

Though he wasn’t really hungry, Mike decided
that it was lunch time, mostly out of boredom. He went to the
foyer, where his tennis shoes sat on the ceramic tile. Slipping
them on, he grabbed his keys and wallet from the small shelf on the
wall and headed out the front door. Climbing into the car, he drove
down the block and around the corner. He thought about stopping at
Hot Dog Paradise, but there was a long line of cars in the
drive-thru, so he went to McDonalds. The girl at the window could
have been mistaken for a real person at first, but just like in
every other fast food drive-thru window, she was a robot. She was
probably a Gizmo Servbot, though McDonalds had their own custom
build that wasn’t quite like anywhere else.


I’ll have a McMeatloaf
sandwich,” he said.


Would you like that ala
carte or with an Arch Value Meal?” She had that slightly tinny
voice.


Value meal.”


Would you care for fries,
side salad, fruit slices, or yogurt sticks?”


Fries.”


And what would you like to
drink?”


Diet Pepsi.”


Your total comes to
$17.96.”

Mike swiped his cash card through the slot
just below the window.


Thank you for choosing
McDonalds. Please pull forward.”

At the next window a girl, a real girl this
time, handed Mike his drink and then the bag with his McMeatloaf
sandwich and fries. He drove back home and returned to his recliner
to eat.

The vueTee had automatically turned off in
his absence, so he turned it back on. He watched Face the Nation as
he ate. Catherine Garvey was interviewing all three presidential
candidates—one at a time. The Republicans had nominated another old
man. The Democrats had nominated another old lady. It was the same
old thing. Barlow said lower taxes. Wakovia said balance the
budget. Only the Greens seemed to have picked anyone who wasn’t a
cookie-cutter image. Mendoza was young, attractive, and idealistic,
and probably didn’t have a chance in hell of getting elected
because she had inherited all the problems of President Busby. As
long as there were troops in Antarctica, nobody was going to vote
Green.

When he was done eating, Mike looked around.
He really needed to clean up the house he decided. He would get up
and clean for a half hour. He could manage a half hour. By the time
he had emptied and then refilled the dishwasher and emptied the
trash compacter though, he didn’t feel like continuing, even though
only fourteen minutes had passed. He sat back down watched more
vueTee, dozing off after a while and waking up just in time for
Deal of the Century. Then came Rat Race and then Pajama Party. He
opened a can of soup for dinner and went to bed after Saturday
Night Live.

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