Author : Jacqueline Bridges
SWF seeking SM, 40-50, human or android. Looks not important.
The blinking type flooded John’s inbox. Delete, delete, del—he paused on the last: Android adoption today, new shipment, Middleton Square.
The Organization of GoodWill toward Men, Women, Children, and Android caught him as he slipped in.
“Have you considered adopting an Android, sir?”
John stopped, paying no attention to the aid, his eyes on the reader board above them. Android Adoption: Save a droid. Two models set for recycle.
The aid talked on, “We have many in need of a home. They’re very good companions, and still useful. No more shoveling snow.”
John cleared his throat, “I’m looking for a girl.”
“Yes, yes,” the aid’s voice rose with animation, “we have a number of females today. Many—“
“Seven.” John’s eyes went to the manifest list, “I’m looking for a seven-year-old.”
The aid recovered, “They’re often older, not the norm.” He referenced his list, keeping it from John’s view. “Oh.” He shrugged. “We do. She came in this morning…”
It was all he needed to hear. John stormed the registration table, fumbling for something to charge his account with. “Number 72108,” he spouted, “I’d like to make an order.”
The woman at the desk verified his registration. “Yes. You are clear to make an order.”
“I’d like the seven-year-old girl.”
The woman frowned at her keyboard, “Let me see what we have in inventory. A young girl–”
“She’s in there.” John tapped the table with his writing instrument, engraved with the GoodWill’s unification logo. “Came in this morning.”
“Ah yes,” the woman smiled. “Straight from Japan. Retrieved from the docks this morning.”
“Yes.” John grumbled. “Where do I sign?”
The woman nearly laughed, “It’ll take a while to process the paperwork and register the droid. And then there’s programming.”
His eyes dropped.
The woman twisted her lips, reading John’s disappointment, “Maybe we can speed this up.”
John’s urgency returned with the start of a smile.
The woman’s smile was more playful, “Let’s start with your registration.”
John pushed the buttons, signed the documents, and answered all the questions for programming.
“Alright then,” the lady clicked her tablet once more. “Your droid will update tonight at midnight. We’ve gone ahead and programmed her with the name you’ve chosen for now, Anne—?”
“Yes,” the woman fluttered her eyebrows, “a very pretty name.”
“Her mother chose it,” he said, “named after her grandmother.”
“Ah,” the woman cooed. “Yes, very nice.” She was used to this sort of thing, humans naming Androids. “Well, she’s all yours.” The woman motioned for someone behind her, “William, please take droid E0067 around for pick up.”
She turned back to John, “Here’s your slip—just follow the signs for delivery. William will meet you in back.” When John hesitated, she motioned to the crowd of protestors behind him, “It’s better this way.”
John grabbed the pink ticket from the woman and hustled to his car. He didn’t bother with a thank you or a pardon.
By the time he reached the loading area, his hands were moist, sticky with sweat. He gave himself a once over in the mirror, smoothing his gray hair in place, checking for food between his teeth, and for his final preparation he tried on a fatherly smile.
The girl was small, skinny, with hair lighter than he liked, but close enough. He held out his hand for hers and she slipped her small fingers in his,
“Hello father,” she said.
“Hello my dear Annacia. I’ve missed you.”