Author : Suzanne Borchers

“Good evening, Susan.” The desktop robot’s eye blinked as the gender-neutral voice greeted her.

Susan had arrived home from an 18 hour shift of nursing casualties at the local pub/hospital. She slammed the front door behind her. “I have to remain cheerful, smiling, and upbeat for destitute, half-alive drudges caught in this never-ending fight for survival. For all the hapless, close-to-dead youth dripping with blood to broken-boned elders, all who have been victimized by roving gangs of filth stealing food and soiling homes, I have to …” Susan suspended her tirade at the robot. She tugged away from her skin the sopping uniform with its remains of someone’s supper dripping off of it onto the floor.

“How was your day, Susan?” the robot’s measured voice inquired.

“Look, you idiot robot, I’m tired, cranky, and reek of half-digested hamburger.” Susan reached up under her skirt and tossed her holstered gun on the desk. Then she began to pull off her clothes with uncoordinated yanks.

The robot’s eye blinked slowly. “Relax. Peace and calm, Susan. Peace and calm.”

“Do I sound relaxed? Do I sound peaceful? Do I sound calm?” Susan strode over to the robot.

The robot stopped blinking and stared past Susan.

“There is something you should know, Susan.” The robot’s smooth voice said.

“Shut up!”

The robot immediately ceased its vocal response.

Its eye blinked quickly at the intruder quietly advancing into the room behind Susan. It stared first at Susan and then at the intruder, then back again as another intruder paused in the opened window before stepping onto the floor.

Susan watched the robot in silence.

Its eye flashed colors at Susan and the intruders, one after the other.


Its eye produced a pulsing strobe toward Susan and the intruders, one after the other.

Her eyes widened.

She turned.

Too late.

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