This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #35. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by mirceaianc at Pixabay.com.
The picture sparked memories of the first time I saw someone painted doing what amounted to android face. That is why AI will eventually take over the world and kill us all. I was at Pier 39 in San Francisco with my family. We were from the Bay Area. I don’t know why we did touristy stuff when we went back. Anyway, this story is about that guy, but not really. It’s a look at prejudice from a comedic slant. I’m not sure that’s still legal. I’m actually pretty sure it’s not, so… shhhh…
Fired again. Sexual improprieties, they said.
Murphy had no rights, no recourse. There was no disciplinary action taken against humans who used pejoratives like “Andy” or “Droid” or called him “R2” or “Data.” Robby was the worst. If he had a nickel for every time someone asked him to say, “Danger, Will Robinson,” he would be one of those androids who worked on a street corner. How degrading!
It appeared that more humans had seen Terminator than Short Circuit, Bicentennial Man, or Wall-E. Humans didn’t understand sentient androids, and it was human nature to fear what they did not understand. Androids were simultaneously too human and not human enough.
Some attempted movements like Android Lives Matter, but they never caught on. It’s challenging to start a campaign when its mission statement is an oxymoron.
Was it his fault the Creator had a juvenile sense of humor? The Creator was a genius when it came to robotics. He developed the sentient android “brain.” He invented the emotion simulator. What he had in genius, he lacked in maturity.
Murphy had to charge as did all androids. He couldn’t comprehend why humans were offended by his charging any more than he was offended by their eating or sleeping. Murphy could run more smoothly and perform at a higher degree of efficiency when he was fully charged. They all knew and understood that, but if anyone saw him initiate charging, their reactions ranged from laughter to screams. Some commented on the size of his charger.
Murphy tried to be discreet, but he couldn’t always attach his charger without being seen. He had to open the pouch just below his waist to access his charger, take it out, and plug it in.
Betty saw. She screamed, “Oh my Jesus!” and fainted. Murphy was fired, again.
Just for fun: