Author : Trent Isaac
The man wrestled a pile of rods, plates, wires, lights, and fingers through the door and let it crash in a heap.
“Or there’s this one,” the man said as he swabbed his bald head with a towel.
Brennan scratched his arm through the frayed hole in his sweater as he compared the two robots. One was nearly seven feet tall. Its white plastic helmet and gloves gleamed, and its black body reflected bits and pieces of the robots on display around it. The second robot looked like a skeleton marionette that had been buried by an avalanche and left to rust and petrify. The man wrapped the second robot’s boney, copper arms around the waist of the nearby security robot to stand it up.
Brennan read the patch on the man’s uniform. “Johnny?”
Johnny looked up.
“Is he supposed to only have one leg?”
“Uh… no.” Johnny chuckled. “For the missing leg, I’ll drop this little guy’s price to 5,000 dollars.”
He patted the robot on the back and the metal man’s right eye popped out and shattered on the floor.
“Or if you want to leave here with absolutely no worries, you can take this specimen for just 3,000!” He motioned to the black and white giant. With a shrug of his shoulders, he added, “We overstocked.”
Brennan eyes rested on the limp marionette. The ding at the corner of the android’s mouth gave the bot a crooked grin. Brennan gripped the multi-tool in his pocket.
“Okay, I’ll take him.”
The man nodded and punched some numbers into the giant’s back. The robot whirred and its eyes flickered on.
“No, the one-legged one!”
“Brennan?” called a feeble voice.
“Yes, Grandma, look what I found!” he said as he rounded the corner into her bedroom. The robot followed, rolling on his modified foot. Brennan hoped his grandmother would think he had found the robot by the side of the road. His grandmother might not approve of him spending money this way, but she wouldn’t throw away something that still had use in it.
“Oh, Brennan, I don’t need that thing,” said his grandmother. She straightened her shoulders and looked at him from her chair. Lifting her arm, she pointed at him with her bone-like finger.
“Listen here,” she said. But a cough stopped her. To him, the cough sounded like a car backfiring. She swallowed, opened her mouth, and coughed again, and could not stop until she had drunken a glass of water.
“I’m going to be gone most of the day, now that I’m moving rubble for Mr. Fleischman’s company,” Brennan said quietly. “It’s a nice robot, Grandma.”
His grandmother looked the mechanical man over.
The metal stick figure tilted his head at her. Then the robot zipped across the floor and reached out his boney hand. His fingers clicked in their sockets as he stroked her shoulder. The android’s other hand took the glass she was holding and returned it to the stand. He lifted the pitcher of water and refilled the glass in slow, jerky motions.
The wrinkles on her face relaxed and she said, “Yes, I see that now.”
She closed her eyes and crossed her feet, her real foot sliding over the prosthetic one.
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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