Coming Alive

Author: Fatemah Albader

“You look beautiful today, Maggie,” said Barry Chambers, of Barry Chambers & Associates.
“Thank you, Master Chambers. But I am obligated to answer that I always look the same.” Maggie wore the same yellow dress every day. It complimented her tanned skin and brought out the glaze in her eyes.
“It’s always business with you,” Barry sighed. “Who are the lawyers at Hologram Mania that I can contact?”
“There are fifteen lawyers that you can contact, Master Chambers,” responded Maggie. “The first –”
“No need to recite ‘em, just print ‘em out.”
“As you wish, Master Chambers,” said Maggie, in her usual monotonous voice.
“Maggie, how many times do I have to tell you . . . Barry’s fine.”
“Apologies, Master Barry.”
“Oh, never mind. Anyway, do you know where I’d find legal info ‘bout edible water bottles?”
“Yes, Master Barry. Section 209 of the Tech-Food Law, located on page 163.”
“Wow, Maggie. Brilliant.” His pale face lit up.
“Thank you, Master Barry, is there –”
“Go on now, Maggie.” Barry’s demeanor changed. “A client’s coming, and you can’t be around here when she arrives.”
“Yes, Master Barry.” Maggie walked into a dark room near Barry’s office, took a seat in the only chair in the room, and waited.
***
When Barry got home from work, he got into his blue-and-white pajamas, heated up the leftover spaghetti he had from lunch, then sat down to watch the same film he watched every night. It was about a robot who learned to think on its own. A scientist would ask the robot lots of questions until one day the questions awakened the robot. The scientist spoke the words: Do you know who made you? with Barry repeating the same question out loud.
The next day, Barry came in early, eager to talk to Maggie. “Maggie, wake up.”
She opened her eyes. “Good morning, Master Chambers.”
“Oh, not again. It’s Barry.”
“Apologies, Master Barry.”
Barry shook his head, pressed his thin lips together, and let out a huge sigh. “No matter.” He looked all eager-eyed. “Do you know who made you?”
“I do not know, Master Barry.”
Barry let out an even deeper sigh. “Well, what do you dream of?” Another question from the film.
“I do not understand, Master Barry.”
“When you sleep, what do you see or dream ab –” he stopped abruptly. “You gotta go. Camera’s showing a client’s coming.”
And off Maggie went, into the room where she waited for Barry when clients were around.
After the client left, Barry ran to the room where Maggie waited for Barry, but she wasn’t there. “Maggie!” He called out. He contemplated whether someone might have broken in and stolen her.
As he left his office to search for her, Maggie appeared. She looked straight at Barry as if awaiting instructions. Maybe my instructions weren’t clear today, Barry thought. He was relieved that Maggie wasn’t stolen. “Maggie, where did you –”
“I dream of clouds, Barry.”

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