Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Domestic Disturbance by Humphrey Erm

"Father, this could make your life so much easier"
"I have never needed anyone to take care of me before, and I sure as heck don't need a hulking piece of scrap metal to do it for me!"

I observed the old man and his son bickering amongst themselves. I had recently been purchased by the son for a moderate amount of money. From the data that he and my company have given me I know of the father's sick health, and of the nature of his personality. From what my cameras can pick up, I can see there was no exaggeration in how aggressive the man was.

"Get him away from me! It was thanks to him that I lost my leg!"

He was mistaken about that. Since I was just activated 2 days ago it would have been impossible for me to commit such an act which occurred in the old man's youth.

"Father, that was a long time ago, you need to forget that and move on. This robot had nothing to do with what happened to your leg."
"They're all the same the lot of them! Nothing but unfeeling metal buckets who wish nothing more than to kill us all!"

That too was an unjustifiable claim. While my kind has caused havoc upon the human race, those units have been successfully done away with, and all succeeding units ever produced have been programmed under the Non Organic Sentient Behavioral Doctrine. I am simply incapable of hurting a human.

"Well Father, tough break. I have already paid a deposit on it, and he is programmed to be here for one month at least. Regardless of what you want, it will be living here with you."

The father went mute, looking at his son in disbelief, then turned and opened the door to the apartment building and slammed it shut. There was a general silence once he had left the street, and I turned to his son to await any further commands.

"Well, here are the keys to the apartment. You already know what to do. Get the paper, cook his meals, and make sure he doesn't get hurt. Think you can manage that?"
"I don't think Mr. Colbert. I know. Your father will be safe in my care"
"Ok, well, I'll leave it to you now then. Gotta go home to my wife. I promised this little errand would be quick."
"You do that sir."

I watched him as he walked to his car and drove of. Turning my head towards the door I walked forward and opened it. I walked up the stairs until I saw a door labeled:

Nathan Colbert

I took out the keys and unlocked the door, and entered my master's home.

I was immediately struck in the head by a steel object. The force made my body fall down towards the floor, having no time to brace myself with my hands. I felt several more blows dealt to me spread unevenly around my head and back. I tried to get a visual of who was beating me, but the assailant kept my head down with the slams.

My immediate worry was the well being of Nathan Colbert. This perpetrator may have already hurt or killed him, which would be an immense problem for my company if either was true. Since I could still speak I called out: "Mr Colbert! Are you there? Are you hurt? Please answer me!"

No response.

At this time I sensed that my inner wires were breaking and tearing as well as my oil dispenser was leaking to critical levels. I calculated that I would most probably become un-operational within the next blows and be unable to continue my duty. My mother board was being chipped away for every smash against my head, my processing power was weakening. Having been built as a domestic robot I have no tools that can harm or protect myself, nor am I particularly well made to withstand such an onslaught.

My vision is going static now, and I hear no more audio either. Taking into account how much this assailant is hurting me, I doubt that any vital hardware will make it through. This must be the end.

Amongst the puddle of black gold and chips of metal I relinquish myself to the imminent destruction, and count the blows necessary to end me. Deep within my so called mind I damn myself for not being able to fulfill my orders, and wonder about the fate of Nathan Colbert and whether he is still alive. Perhaps he needs medical attention or has been locked awa--bzzp!


Orville Colbert was reading the morning paper the day after he had left the new domestic house hold robot to care for his father. Taking a sip from the newly brewed coffee his attention turns to a moderately long article entailing details of a recent robotic murder. It read:

Yesterday afternoon a robot with serial number 3215907 was found destroyed amongst some garbage cans within an apartment complex. Police have traced the number to a domestic robot under contract to a retired man living within the neighborhood of the deceased. Within his apartment there were obvious signs of violence and pieces belonging to the deceased robot. The man has now been taken into custody by the police under suspicion of robocide.

Orville started sweating and shaking, spilling his coffee in his hand so he had to place it down. At that moment his phone rang. Walking slowly towards the phone he picked it up.

"Son, its me..."

The End.

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