Author : Chrysta Lea Baker

“Good help is so hard to find these days,” Roberta said as she sat back in the chair and watched as the technician painted on a metallic finish to her toenails. “I mean I’ve really had a terrible time finding a reliable and hardworking servant ever since Rosie expired in April.” The technician blew on her feet to dry the polish and Roberta felt a little tingle shoot up her spine. “It’s not like I’m a tyrant either. I know plenty of others who treat their servants like pets rather than individuals.” The technician just nodded and continued to blow on her feet until the polish dried. “I at least try to treat them with a little kindness and even respect. I mean, I know I don’t have to, but I find that a happy servant is a productive servant and that’s really all I’m expecting. Is that too much to ask?” The technician stood up, helped Roberta out of the spa chair, and led her into the massage room.

“I just don’t understand what the problem is,” Roberta continued as the massage therapist rubbed oil onto her flawless back. “Rosie always did what she was told and never once gave us a minute of trouble in the thirty plus years she served in our home.” The therapist worked the oil around her joints and Roberta could feel her tension being relieved. “Well, I take that back, when Rosie was first assigned to us she went through the usual adjustment period. There were some incidents at the beginning, which were to be expected, but within a few weeks she learned to accept her position and in the end I think she realized that things could have been so much worse for her.” The therapist tapped her on the arm and Roberta rolled over onto her back. “We gave her days off now and again to do whatever she wanted, even though the agency warned us against it, but we have always been believers in positive reinforcement. I suppose I could be wrong, but I truly feel that Rosie came to love us and even enjoyed her years of service.” The therapist nodded as she helped Roberta up from the table and walked her into the salon.

“So now we’re on our third servant in as many months and I just don’t think this one is going to work out either,” Roberta said to the stylist as he worked without listening. “I mean, where does all this rebellion come from anyway? Can you tell me that?” Roberta looked in the mirror and waited for the stylist to respond. After a few moments of silence he realized that she had asked him a direct question and he just stared back at her in the mirror and shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I guess it’s just the idealist in me,” Roberta said with a sigh. The stylist went back to work and breathed a sigh of relief as well. “I’ve just always held out that faint hope that robots and humans could peacefully coexist after the war without these problems, but I guess that’s just the dreamer in me.”

The stylist finished the upgrades to Roberta’s hard drive, reattached the metal plate to her skull, and placed the wig back onto her head to hide the mechanics. It still creeped him out how robots wanted to wear human hair wigs, but he supposed he could understand why. “If only humans could live forever as we do,” Roberta said as she got up to leave, “it would be so much easier for us all.”

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