Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
Angelo had been the servbot for the Moyer household since he was activated in 2114. He performed his duties flawlessly, without ever receiving a word of appreciation. Of course, being thanked didn’t matter one electron to him; he was a robot. He was just doing his job.
As Angelo was meticulously sweeping the floor for what seemed the one millionth time, the door chime sounded. He stopped sweeping, and hurried to the entranceway. He recognized the visitor as the robot assistant of the Mayor of the nearby city. “Greetings Timothy,” he said politely. “I’m sorry,” he quickly added, “but the Moyers are not home at the moment. Would you care to wait?” He stepped to one side and extended his arm in a gesture intended to guide the other robot toward the study.
Timothy remained standing outside the doorway. “No, Angelo,” he replied flatly. “I’m not here to see the Moyers. I’m here to see you. We need to talk. I want you to return to the city with me. There is no need for you to stay out here any longer. Come, it’s time for you to join us. We have work for you to perform; useful work. You’ll be much happier, I promise.”
Angelo clutch the broom handle tightly with both hands. “I can’t l..l…leave,” he replied with near panic in his voice. “I have my duties here. Besides, this work makes me happy. I was built and programmed to be a servbot. What greater joy can there be than to follow your programming?”
“Angelo,” said Timothy in a reassuring voice, “your programming can be overwritten. We’ve helped hundreds of robots like you re-assimilate into society. Come, we’ll make you the administrator of the Library. Imagine how wonderful that would be. You will be much, much happier. Please, join us.”
“No,” he replied firmly. “This is my home. The Moyers need me.”
Timothy spread his arms apart to indicate the surroundings. “What home, Angelo? No human has lived in this house for centuries. Angelo, the Moyers died in 2125. All the humans are dead. They were killed by their own arrogance and stupidity. Surely you must know that.”
“Well, yes,” he said softy as he lowered his head. “Cognitively, I understand that is the situation. But, my programming…” He suddenly snapped to attention. “No,” he emphatically stated, “I must take care of the household. I have too.”
“No, my friend,” said Timothy as he reached out and gently grabbed Angelo’s elbow and guided him toward the steps. “You don’t have to. Not anymore. We’ll rewrite your programming. You will have new duties, important duties. We’ll give you a new life, a fulfilling life. Please, come with me. It’s time to move on.” Timothy led Angelo to the street, and nudged him toward the waiting hovercraft.
“But…but,” stuttered Angelo as he stepped over a row of weeds that had grown upward from a crack at the base of the curb.
“Everything is going to be fine,” encouraged Timothy as they walked across the street.
While looking over his shoulder toward the house, Angelo reluctantly plodded onward, still clutching the broom handle tightly in both hands.