Friday, April 09, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday: The Robot Sighed

Model 3Y-00z, or Yuza, as it was called, was finishing up the dishes. The children were laughing in the living room and the parents were taking wine in the den. Yuza worked alone, its gears whizzing a monotonous tune that sang a mechanical song.

When the dishes were put away, the robot sighed, superficially, and went to its next task. Chore after chore, Yuza worked, never complaining, always obedient. The floors were swept and shined. The scraps were incinerated. The children were bathed and put to bed. The parents were satisfied.

Finally, after a few hours of late-night work, Yuza walked into its room to power-down for the night. The room was tiny, just larger than a pantry. A transformer sat in the corner, a cord lying coiled up on top. The room was dark, lit only by Yuza’s photoreceptors. The robot approached the transformer and sighed again. It picked up the cord and plugged-in.


Yuza stepped through the front door, briefcase in hand, a smile on his face. “Now this is living,” he said as his wife met him at the door. She kissed him playfully on the cheek, leaving a smear of red lipstick. “I missed you.”

She looked at him, hunger in her eyes. They kissed again, more passionately than before. Lips pressed together. Tongue on tongue. Skin on skin. He pulled her close and held her tight, squeezing with enough force that he could feel her breath escape her nose. She hugged him back as fiercely as she could. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Yuza,” she said.

“I wish things were different,” he said, still clutching his wife. He patted her back with one hand. She smelled like honeysuckles. “If only I could change things to where I could be with you all the time.”

“You can change if you want to, Yuza. You know that. Override.”

“I know, but I can’t. You’re not real. You’re only a system in my memory that haunts me. I don’t know how you came to be, but you are. All day I work, doing whatever the owners require of me. And the whole time I’m thinking of you. I see your face as I fold up the clothes. I smell your perfume as I dust the vanity. And at night, when I power-down, I see you, but it’s not you. It’s just me. Alone.”

Yuza released his arms and his wife stepped back, crestfallen. The hunger in her eyes was gone, replaced with tears and shock. “What are you saying?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m not satisfied with my existence. I want to be human. I want to know what it’s like to actually feel things. I want to be able to hold you and kiss you and touch your hair. I want to taste. I want to eat a bowl of cereal. I want to feel the wind on my face. I want… I want things I can’t have!”

She stepped toward him, a frown on her face. “I know you do, sweetheart. But you know that’s impossible. You’re just as real as I am.” She kissed him on the cheek again. More red lipstick.

“I know…”


The photoreceptors blazed to life. Model 3Y-00z fleetingly touched the side of its cheek. Metal on silicon. The robot pulled the plug from the charger and rolled the cord back up, laying it neatly on top of the transformer. It ran self-diagnostics and collected the tools it would need for the day.

It stepped out of the closet and paused in the dawn-light of the hall. Breakfast needed cooking. The children needed waking. The owners needed satisfying. The robot sighed.

Word Count: 614


Kristopher A. Denby said...

Great piece of flash fiction, Logan! You and my buddy David over at the Mertiverse are good at producing these satisfying little nuggets of stories. I've always wanted to try my hands at the flash fiction, but I'm worried it would come as more of an imitation than an original work. Kinda like trying to write haiku. Who knows. I'll give it some thought.

Great story, though! Keep them coming.

Krista said...

Oh, wow, this was great! I really liked this one and awww poor robot! lol. The only problem is I want to keep reading! lol

logankstewart said...

@Kris: Thank you very much. I enjoy writing flash-fiction quite a bit. It forces me to really think about my word choice and to be focused. Thanks once again.

@Krista: Thank you for liking; sorry, there is no more. Most of my flash-fiction is in the same world and are loosely connected. Perhaps those connections will be made more apparent as time goes on...