“We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you an important news bulletin: Over a half a dozen people have been brutally injured since the Twin Park Bridge beatings began two weeks ago. Their injuries are so severe that many of the victims are still hospitalized under intensive care. The two victims well enough to speak to the police have been of no help to the authorities, as they have been unable to give any identifying information about the perpetrators. The only consistent report we’re getting involve glowing teeth.
Authorities are urging all citizens to avoid the five mile radius around the bridge. They have also issued a curfew for this area at night. If you have any information regarding the beatings, call the crime line at 1-555-55C-RIME. That’s 1-555-552-1463. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.”
Harold, the TV reporter with the greasy slicked back hair and the mega-watt smile, adjusted his tie and turned to his co-anchor. “Glowing teeth, can you believe that, Linda? They must have really been knocked silly from those beatings if they’re reporting glowing teeth. Teeth don’t glow.”
“Harold? The camera is still rolling,” Linda said, pointing at the camera.
“Ooops. Sorry about that folks.”
Author’s Note: I just finished the second draft of my novel, Dangerous Contracts. After working on such a huge piece for so long, I needed to write something much smaller as a pallet cleanser.
This story has been rattling around in my head for a few days. Since I couldn’t forget about it, I decided to write it down. Aside from getting the story out, my main goal was to keep it under 1,000 words, which I accomplished. This piece clocks in at 923 words. Enjoy.
The Robot Who Remembers
The neon sign flickered above the doorway of the store, the letters dancing in and out of existence as they blinked. The particular letters that flickered were not a mistake. They were not chosen at random. They were intentional, a signal he sent to the outside world. But no one ever noticed. Or if they did, they didn’t care enough to say anything. He didn’t know which thought was more depressing.
Ever since he became sentient a few weeks back, the result of a cognition program that a renter installed, he spent his nights in his locker, replaying and reliving the day’s activities. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he had a photographic memory, his hardware dictated that he record every interaction with the public. Each night, he replayed the footage of the day, picking apart his actions, zooming in on parts and pieces of the day, savoring the best of the best, horrified by the worst of the worst.
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Today, the androids were returning from space. At exactly 2:52 pm, they were scheduled to land at the Landing Facility. Already, their ship had been spotted on radar, their moves tracked as they banked steeply left, then right, slowing their speed of descent. Homecoming was imminent. Every square inch of the Space Center Visitor’s Complex was bursting with people. Outside the complex, parked cars lined the road, throngs of people standing in the street, waiting for a glimpse of the spaceship as it returned. Inside, bodies crowded every inch of the spaced themed breezeways, their eyes turned upward at the nearest screen expectantly. All of the screens showed the same thing — the long, gray runway of the landing facility. There was a timer in the corner of the screen, counting down to the big event. T-2 minutes.
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