Author : Todd Hammrich

On his final day of work the robot A9327R activated with a slight jerk. He was quite pleased that today he would be done with his projects. Long ago he had been created to serve as the monument upkeep specialist and had quite a job set before him. They were old, full of historical significance (though that sort of thing was beyond his grasp) and they were falling apart. Now, he was happy to report, things were much better.

He knew of course that they were not completely restored, heavens no, but they were as good as his abilities allowed him to make them. More could be done, if he knew how to run the great machines and tools of his creators, but his skills were simple and his intelligence not great enough to learn anything else. A few more simple tasks and the drain on his power pack (it had gone far too long without recharging, but he found no masters to help) would be too much and he would deactivate for the last time.

With careful measured steps, conserving as much energy as possible A9327R began his march to the monuments. It wasn’t a long walk, but it was dangerous because the roads were full of debris and other hazardous materials. Not in his monuments though. Oh no, not there. Once on his grounds he emerged into another land. It was crisp and clean, plants neatly tended, pathways always clear of anything that may get underfoot, and it was a slice of perfection. And it was his area to tend. Indeed, having seen no one else for many, many years, it was possible his alone.

Slowly he made his rounds checking that everything was in place. Cleaning where he saw it needed it and ignoring that which would take too long. He had to make it to the little ones today, as they were his final project. He was right on time though and would be able to finish this one right. This memorial was newer than the others. It had been installed the last time he had seen his masters.

It was beautiful (or to his circuits it seemed) all made of marble and delicately done. There were 4 young children hands together playing a game. Though A9327R knew they were statues, like the one of the very tall man, he couldn’t help but feel awe in reverence of them (little masters as they were). The only problem was that for the past week, they had not moved, as they should, around and around in their little circle. So he had saved it for last, knowing it would be the last thing he would do.

For nearly three hours, a master of restoration, he worked. Gears were cleaned, cables tested, and electronics doubly tested. Finally A9327R climbed out and away from the children and waited while the power ran through its own checks and finally, ever so slowly, the children began to rotate in their little circle, like an endless game of tag. And A9327R made his way over to the closest bench and sat like a master with a sense of pride and slowly deactivated.

The children rotated merrily on their endless circle singing their soft song in a place dedicated to the dead. The place where the walls hold the dead heroes of its dead nation. The place where Lincoln and Jefferson and the tower of Washington stand, like sentinels watching over the ruined wasteland of Washington D.C. The children sang slowly:

Ring-a-ring o’ roses,

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall …

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