Author: Hillary Lyon

In a far corner of the town’s public dog park, K’wren took out a small soft cloth from her designer back-pack purse and began polishing her gold-plated robodog. “I love how you shine in the sun,” she gloated out loud. It wagged it’s tail.

“Now, that’s a beaut,” a young man, unknown to K’wren, offered as he sauntered up to her.

“We think so,” she smiled, standing up.

“What do you call it?” the young man queried. He had a mild manner and the wild hair so many idle youths sported these days.

“We wanted to call it Gizmo, but that name was already registered.” She shrugged. “So we decided on Gadget, instead.”

“Ah, so it’s registered as Gadget?” Hearing it’s name, the robodog displayed an open-mouthed smile, and looked from human to human. It again wagged its tail.

“We’ve been too busy, so—” K’wren, slightly embarrassed, continued awkwardly. “We haven’t gotten around to registering it.”

“It seems docile, affectionate, even,” the young man observed, changing the subject.

“Yeah, we paid extra for the affection upgrade—I insisted on that,” she stressed. “Like everyone else, my husband always wants the latest techno gadget—no pun intended. I agreed to the robodog, but only if it had the Pure-Love brand affection chip factory-installed.”

“Does it need exercise?” The young man wondered aloud, as he swept his arm to indicate the dog park. “Or fresh air?”

“Nah, but its owner does.” K’wren put the polishing cloth back in her jeans’ pocket. “Obviously, it doesn’t need sleep, or food—though it’s batteries need recharging every week or so, depending on use. And there’s no pooping, either,” K’wren giggled. “Which I appreciate.”

“Does it play fetch? Retrieve?” The young man teased. “Because if it did, that would make your robodog a—”

“No, it’s not a golden retriever,” K’wren blushed. Was he flirting with her?

“I suppose Gadget makes an excellent guard dog, though,” the young man winked at K’wren.

“Not at all,” she laughed again. “We didn’t opt for that upgrade. Where we live, we have security guards and gates, so we didn’t think we’d need it. And I mean, after all, the gold-plating was expensive enough!”

“May I?” The young man motioned to pet the robodog.

“Sure,” K’rewn replied. She loved the attention her Gadget attracted; in her mind, it made the robodog worth every shiny penny.

The young man knelt beside the robodog, reaching into the pocket of his second-hand coat as he did. Cooing sweet words and promises to Gadget, he surreptitiously withdrew his personal mini-taser.

“So,” K’wren sighed, relaxing in the warm glow of this friendly encounter with a handsome young stranger, “which of these dogs running around this park is yours?”

Wearing a mischievous grin, the young man rose to face K’wren. “Oh, I don’t have a pet,” he answered as his mini-taser connected with the bare skin of K’wren neck. She tumbled heavily to the ground like a dropped sack of dog food. The young man swept up the gold-plated robodog in his arms.

Gadget wagged its tail and licked his face with its silicon tongue. “But I do now.”