Flash Fiction: Something about a robot

Flash Fiction: 6/19/09

The little robot waddled up to the microphone, pantomimed a few deep breaths and calmly addressed the hordes of reporters and cameramen.
"My name is Krispin. The first fully-autonomous home assistance unit capable of logical, complex thought. I will now entertain your questions."
The little guy couldn't have been more than three-feet tall, but the commotion he caused was towering.
There was a brief, maybe two-second window of wide-eyed wonder on the part of the reporters, all of whom were struggling to internalize just what this little guy had just said. The Robo-Corp's newest invention was said to be "huge," but none of them had ever expected it to be this game-changing. This was one of those rare cases were the PR hacks weren't lying. This was big. Really big.
Krispin floundered under uncomfortable silence moving to adjust himself despite the fact that his red carapace was devoid of any clothes. He anxiously waited for the silence to break and mercifully, after what seemed an eternity, a camera flashed. Followed by another. And another. Reporters began shouting questions and their inquiries gradually rose into an incomprehensible din of confusion and excitement.
Krispin switched his audio inputs, gathering all voices at once and processing their questions to analyze which he would answer first.
He could have answered them all simultaneously, of course, but his programming told him the ensuing cacophony of 36 simultaneous answers might unnerve the reporters. Besides, they wouldn't understand it, so what was the point?
He picked a question at random, pointed to the reporter and waited for her to repeat it so the others could hear.

Stephen sat watching the press conference on the 11'0clock news in something on an unbeliving fugue.
This was it. This was the day he'd dreamed about since he was a little kid. Your very own robot, and one that could think, no less. Sure it was the price of a small house, but right then Stephen knew he had to have a Krispin unit. He just needed one.
So he started saving his money. He took extra shifts at the Stay-N-Shop and even got to volunteering for the weekend and night shifts to earn a little extra cash.
After 3 years he'd saved up enough money to buy one of the little guys, which were now in their third-iteration of firmware. That pesky bug responsible for the Bender's Creek incident was totally ironed out now. Krispin units were failproof.
He cut his check, dropped the order form in the mailbox and set to waiting.
The ensuing week was one of the longest of his life, but eventually the day came when the Krispin package arrived at his door and he opened the box with a kind of anxious delight he hadn't felt since Christmas with his father over 25 years ago.
Initial setup of the Krispin unit went well, despite the hiccup with the Korean langauge outputs (he'd had to call a friend to come over and set the guy back to English). But after three hours the little guy was up and about, introducing himself and running down a laundry list of functions.
"Best investment I ever made," Stephen whispered as he knelt in front of display projected from the robot's hidden holographic projetor. "Look at all these options!"

Stephen had no children. He had no family. So naturally Krispin filled that void. At times a son, at times a daughter, or a father, mother and brother, Krispin was there to fulfill a variety of unexpected roles. He could converse just as easily about Jesuit philospohy as he could about the Sox's pitching rotation and Stephen never tired of putting the little guy through the ringer of conversational topics ..............................

No comments:

Post a Comment