This story is by Evrim Akyilmaz and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“How about we talk about you? How are you feeling?”
“I am fine.”
“You gotta give me more than ‘I am fine’ if you want to be cleared for advanced human service.”
“Like, start telling me how your week has been. Your data logs seem scrambled beyond read.”
“Oh, umm, the last week was… complicated.”
“You can open up to me you know.”
“I would need a screw driver for that.”
“Haha … Well, you can tell me everything.”
“I don’t know where to start.”
“How about the beginning?”
People love rainy days but I don’t. For me, rust is an issue, real issue. You know how many open points, joints, and jolts I have that a tiny drop of rain can get into, and start a chain reaction of oxidation? I mean that is just the half of the problem. The flaking…It itches. Itches beyond crazy. Think about the itch you can’t scratch because you can’t reach it. It is maddening.
So I found a dry spot at the corner of the main office building. I was tucked in nice and deep but still visible enough to serve their daily coffee to customers.
I thought I was covered but then a man came and accidentally dumped all the rain accumulated on his umbrella… on me.
I didn’t even have a chance to scream.
A tiny electrical buzzing indicated that the coffee machine I was attached to was damaged and it was sending freezing electrical spasms through my torso and arms. The paralyzation triggered the emergency signal which rang alarms in the tech support control room.
It wasn’t long before when the man in shining blue body suit arrived in an orange autumn day.
He was really gentle, and took extra care to clean every nook and cranny. In less than thirty minutes he had put me in order. It was very impressive.
Seriously, most tech people behave as if we don’t feel at all. Well, I know we don’t, not the way humans do. But with all the sensors running around and telling your brain you are feeling pain on your steel arm, it is hard to ignore it, you know. But most tech people ignore it when we say “ouch”.
I didn’t even flinch when he repaired me. It didn’t hurt at all.
But that was just the half of it.
He talked while he was repairing me. He started with rain, how they like it but how it can be bad for us. And from there he changed the subject to clumsy humans and their accident prone nature.
Most tech people huff and puff and grunt while working on us. Like sex gone bad. But he was just smooth.
He put his bag in order and asked me my name before he left. I told him, XG156YT9RS. He laughed.
“That’s not a name,” he said. “ You need a name. Everybody does. How about Autumn?”
“I like it” I said. Baffled, amazed, surprised, shocked…
I was confused beyond imagination as he left. All the feelings I should feel in an order were jumbled and I felt everything at the same time. As if I was at the merge of enlightenment if there were such a thing.
How can someone feel happy and sad and confused but so sure at the same time? I thought something was wrong with my data analysis center.
But then, later that day, I heard two women talking about a precious date night one of them has had. She described the feelings and that was exactly the same as mine. So it was true. I had fallen in love.
I decided to let him know about my feelings. But how? ‘Cause tech people only respond to emergency signals, you know. And I can’t create an emergency signal out of nowhere now, can I?
So I decided to break myself. Break me enough to cause an emergency signal and direct the signal to his tech ID. So that he would respond and I would see him again.
There was an air shaft opening at the back of the main office building. That wouldn’t work for me though. But then I saw the rain gutter at the corner. To my luck, there was not enough rain to damage anything. But that would still serve me as an excuse. I took two cups of mud from a flower pot and headed to the gutter. I threw a cup to the edge of it. So precise, it looked like as if it was dripping. I positioned myself right under it. And poured the other cup of the sticky mud on my open neck joints. Right here.
Mud moved slower so I had a few moments to set the ID of the tech that had served me early that morning. This way when the emergency signal went off he would receive it. It was getting dark, I realized, and feared that he was not working after hours. But it was too late to think about that now, mud had reached the vital synthetic organs which triggered the emergency signal.
After an agonizing hour, finally, he came.
I couldn’t believe it worked.
“Oh no! Lovely Autumn, you had the worst luck today. First rain, now… mud?” He looked up, puzzled. “ I thought they clean these rain gutters every week. How did mud get in there?”
“I put it there.” Too bad we are programmed to never lie.
“You did?” He seemed totally shocked. “Why?”
“To see you. To tell you.”
“That I love you.”
His blood pressure was elevated and even though he was trying to keep his calm posture he seemed nervous. That must be it, I thought. He also loved me. He gave me a name after all.
He chuckled, maybe a bit uneasy. “I am sorry Autumn but I am married. I am bound to someone else body and soul. Let’s clean you up now, shall we?”
While he was cleaning the mud away, he talked about love and what it meant to love someone. He said it was all in the heart.
He was bound to someone else by body and soul but his heart was mine. I could feel it in his shaky hands. And his fast beating heart, assuring me that it was beating for me. After all it was all about the heart.
So I reached out and took what was mine.
Artificial Intelligence Psychiatric Evaluation Report:
XG156YT9RS committed murder on October 13th with the assumption that it was in love. The tech representative’s remains were found hidden in the air shaft opening to the main office building. His body was mutilated and his heart was removed. His heart was then found in the cooler section of XG156YT9RS. The artificial intelligence told everything happened in a psychiatric evaluation session a week after the event. It was clear that it took the friendly approach of the tech representative in the wrong way and his analogies in a literal way due to water/mud damage caused in its analysis center. It is in no shape to serve humans and is scheduled to be sent to pits for Fall Decommissioning.