Author: David Henson

She’s dead.

She can’t be dead. And quite talking to yourself. I thought you, I, we … got passed that.

Stress, like from killing someone, resurrects bad habits.

She was never really alive. Not in a human sense.

But in an android sense, she was. And now she is, I assure you, dead. Look at the odd angle of her neck. Her spinal cable is broken. And they’re going to think you killed her.

She fell down the steps on her own.

Well, there was that nudge.

Not enough for her to fall.

And when she reached out, you didn’t try to grab her.

She’d have pulled me down with her.

And she scratched your arms. Oh, yeah, they’re going to say you pushed her. No one will believe an android would lose her balance.

Her oscilloscope must have malfunctioned.


I’m going to wake her up.

Don’t touch the body. You’ll leave DNA.

My DNA’s already on her.

Let’s go to bed. Get a good night’s rest. Things won’t seem so hopeless tomorrow morning after the sun chases away the spying eyes.
Those are stars.



Listen. Hear that?

I don’t hear anything.

Kitchen clatter. I smell coffee.

I don’t hear or smell anything. She’s dead, I tell you. Look for yourself.

You look. I’ll wait here.

You know that’s not possible.

OK, we’ll both go to the stairs, but I’m not looking. I’m keeping my eyes closed.

You realize that if your eyes are closed so are mine. We’re liable to fall down the stairs, too.

OK, OK. I propose a comprise. Let’s wait here in bed for an hour. If she hasn’t brought coffee up by then, we’ll go look.



See? She’s still sprawled at the bottom of the stairs.

Maybe we can repair her.


“What happened?”

“You fell down the steps. We … I fixed you. I feared you broke your spinal cable, but you just twisted it.”

“You put my head on backwards.”

“I’m no expert.”

You’d think she’d be a little grateful.

Give her a minute. She’s probably disoriented.

“I can’t walk around with my head on backwards. I’m going to the android hospital.”

“Sorry but your warranty’s expired. I keep getting calls to purchase an extension, but I don’t trust those people.”

Tell her she can adapt.

“Can’t you just walk backwards?”

“Backwards? Backwards. I remember now. We were at the top of the stairs. You told me to hurry up then you pushed me. I fell backwards.”

Uh oh. Say something.

“Not a push. A tiny nudge. You lost your balance ‘cause your oscilloscope malfunctioned.”


“I have rights. I’m going to the police. You’re in big trouble.”

Stop her.

How? She’s strong.

She’s not allowed to hurt you. I’ll grab her. Now!

“Let go of me. I’m warning you. You know how strong I am.”

“You’re not allowed to hurt me. Forget about the police and make a fresh pot of coffee.”

That’s putting her in her — Ugh … can’t breathe.

“You’re …choking … me … Not …allowed.”

“I warned you. Now you let go first.”


Whew. That was scary. I thought for a minute she was going to strangle us.

Android safety protocols are supposed to be foolproof. She must have been bluffing.

Do androids bluff?

I think it’s a glitch because her head’s on backwards. I think—

“Hey, down there. Bring up my coffee.”


“Here’s your coffee. We … I was thinking you should go to the android hospital. I’ll find some way to pay.”

“Never mind. I’ve decided I prefer my head this way.”

See what you’ve done?

Quit talking to me.