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The robot Robot by Rhys Griffiths

The robot Robot

by Rhys Griffiths
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Robot knew, because he’d seen it on a televised cartoon, that human’s tapped their foreheads to let others know that they were thinking. Sometimes they pretended that they had an itch on their crown, and this meant that they were thinking too. Robot assumed that this was a kind of brain massage, though it had nothing in its information banks to prove this. Sometimes, alone, Robot would practice its thinking in the mirror.

Robot’s owner had two names, the first of which was Michelle. She told Robot to call her Michelle, despite Robot’s programming which told it to call her ‘Miss/Ms./Mrs. <surname></surname>.’ Michelle was having dinner with a male companion who was called Mr. Rekubak, and who Michelle called “Stuart” or “Stu.”

Another thing common among highly-functioning living things was their ability to form attachments to each other. This was similar, Robot believed to its own attachment to Michelle, only humans could make multiple attachments in their lifetime, without rebooting. There were different forms of attachment but the most sought after seemed to be romantic and familial. Michelle had a romantic attachment to Mr. Rekubak, and he to her.

“I’m making a romantic meal for Stu,” said Michelle, one morning, exactly a year after she had first met him. This meant that Robot would be making a romantic meal for Mr. Rekubak. “What shall I make, Robot?”

Robot ran through it information banks, searching for meals containing ingredients commonly believed to be “aphrodisiacs,” cross-referenced these with known culinary preferences for both Michelle and Mr. Rekubak, and then finally against established working flavor combinations. While it did this, Robot tapped its forehead. Michelle laughed.

“You’re cute, Robot,” she said…


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About the Author

Rhys Griffiths

Rhys Griffiths is a book editor by profession and a graduate of the Oxford Brookes Creative Writing masters program. Based in Oxford, UK, he has published a small number of fiction and non-fiction pieces and is currently writing his first novel.

Story Discussion

Stories by Rhys Griffiths

The robot Robot by Rhys Griffiths

The robot Robot

This sparked an activation in Robot’s GuardDog protocols, and it seized Mr. Rekubak, pinning his arm behind his back. When the conflict had dissolved and Mr. Rekubak’s heart rate had dropped, Robot let go. Mr. Rekubak took this as his cue to spin around and punch Robot in the face. Normally, a human being would find it nigh on impossible to damage a robot barehanded, due to their inferior strength and general ignorance of robotic functions, so Robot allowed the blow to his him square on. There was a loud noise, which Robot assumed was the bones in Mr. Rekubak’s hand.

From the corner of its vision, Robot saw an analog signal creeping inwards. Images of Mr. Rekubak nursing his fist and of Michelle crying disappeared behind a veil of zeros and ones.

What happens to Robot? Find out in this new story from Rhys Griffiths!

Read More

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