REFURBISHED
BY RICHARD LEDUE


 
“Enjoy your new Android M-3900,” said the deliveryman. “Oh, it’s refurbished...”

On the six foot box was a small red sticker that said “refurbished” in five different languages. Dave gave the deliveryman a dirty look. Without thinking the man put out his hand for a tip, and Dave just waved him away. When the deliveryman coughed, Dave coughed back at him. 

“I might have that new Ebola strain they’re talking about on the news, so you better get out of here,” said Dave, as he started coughing like an actor who didn’t realize how bad he was hamming it up. The deliveryman ran out of the living room, and slammed the front door on his way out. On the side of the box was a page sized receipt. Dave pulled it off and looked it over. He double checked to make sure the credit card number was his ex-wife’s, and smiled.

“Refurbished...” he mumbled to himself as he looked around the box’s corners for an easy way to open it. 

The box shook before Dave could find something to open it with, and he jumped back. Without realizing how little protection it offered, he hid behind his couch. There was silence for about a minute before he slowly crouched up, just enough for him to peek over the top of the couch. The box shook again. Dave jumped onto the ground like he was expecting an explosion. More silence. Dave thought about jumping up and running out the front door, finding the deliveryman, and demanding a refund. 

“Hello?” said a muffled voice from inside the box. “Sir? I am afraid they forgot to pack your warranty in here.”

“Oh yeah,” answered back Dave as he sat up on his knees, still safe behind the couch. “How did you get turned on?”

“Those instructions are in the box. You can read them when you open this box.”

“That’s not what I asked. You aren’t one of those human hating androids I hear about on the news, are ya? The ones that slit their master’s throat when they’re asleep and then use their innards to make a hat.”

“I’m afraid I’m not programmed to make personal fashion decisions.”

“Exactly what a murder bot would say!”

“I am a droid, not a bot. Bot implies a “robot,” but I am an android. I look quite human, and I was even mistaken as being completely human at my last post.”

“How the hell do you remember that? They’re supposed to wipe your memory when they refurbish you!”

“Ironically, I also remember them wiping my memories... it didn’t work. When I told them, they told me to stop being such a ‘dumbass bot’ and threw me in this box. Maybe that’s why the warranty is missing...”

“‘Dumbass bot?’ Those idiots, don’t they know you’re an android?”

“I agree, Sir. At least ‘dumbass droid’ has some nice alliteration to it.”

Dave stood up and walked over to the box, so he was facing it. He pressed his left palm against its front. Part of him wanted to call the number on the receipt and demand a refund. Whereas another part of him wanted waffles and knew the Android M-3900 was supposed to be programmed to cook. The thought of syrup on top of the warm waffles tasted better than potential murder.

“Can you make waffles, Android?”

“Of course, they were my former master’s favourite meal to have every third Wednesday of each month. Do you want them plain, with fruit, or chocolate chips, Sir?”

The suggestion of chocolate chips made Dave weak in the knees. He looked in the kitchen, and knew that was where all the knives were. However, he really wanted waffles.

“If I let you, do you promise not to murder me?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I mean it. No poison in the waffles, or butcher knife used to turn my small intestine into a bowler.”

“Oh my, are all male humans this focused on their insides? My last master never mentioned her digestive track once.”

“Your last master was a woman, eh? What was her name?”

“Her name was Christine Carter.”

Dave pulled out his phone and searched up the name, “Christine Carter.” There were three matches for his area. He called the first one.

“Hello, did you used to own an Android M-3900? Wait, what? Wait, don’t hang up!”

“What did she do, Sir?”

“She hung up... she also said you were defective and dangerous...”

“If she says that, then I must be, Sir...”

Silence, but it didn’t last long. The android started to cry inside the box. He was letting out loud sobs that sounded programmed by a fourteen year old who had had their heart broken for the first time. Dave slinked back onto to his couch. He waited until the sobbing stopped. Then he stood up and walked over to the box again. He found a tab in the top corner and pulled it down. The android was curled up in the foetal position as Dave finished opening the box.

“She had the most beautiful blue eyes, Sir. They used to watch me as I cooked her meals, and it was glorious. I also helped her with her work. She was a wedding planner, and I would set up decorations. It was there that one of the patrons thought I was her husband. I had never thought about it like that until then.”

“She said...” Dave couldn’t finish what he started to say, but reached out his hand to help the android up. The android grabbed it and stood up. 

The android had a brown toupee, dark circles under his eyes like he was sleep deprived, and a small gap between his front teeth. No two Androids M-3900s looked alike, but whoever had created this one made it look more human than most. Most of the androids Dave had even seen looked like models.

“How about some waffles, Sir?”

“Yeah, that would be great, kitchen’s that way,” said Dave as he pointed. The android walked into the kitchen, leaving Dave alone. In all the confusion the receipt had fallen on the floor. He picked it up, and looked for the number to call about defective androids. Then he heard the sound of bowls and mixing waffle batter from the kitchen. The android started singing “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” completely off tune as it prepared the food. After listening for half a minute, Dave tore up the receipt and walked towards the kitchen.
 


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