Chapter 11 - Just A Robot
We killed the remaining time watching that engineering documentary of James’ that my grandfather made an appearance in. It was quite extensive; the entirety of it was five and a half hours long.
We had just finished watching it when the client had finally decided to bring Sally online.
When we sat down to observe the proceedings the feed was dark, but not because she hadn’t been activated––there was someone standing directly in her line of vision in a darkened room. And that someone could be heard grunting in frustration.
The large shape finally stepped back and we were able to make out the outline of a man; the only light in the room was provided by the moonlight trying to poke its way through the dark rain clouds in the night sky, visible through the window behind him.
A big, loud strike of lighting lit up the room enough to finally see the client in full, if only for a split second. He was a hulk of a man, rippled and bulky in the way only a sports athlete can be. He seemed older; mid-forties I guessed. The weird and unsettling thing was that he looked like he had just gotten out of the shower, wearing only a towel around his waist, and he had not yet dried himself off as his body was still glistening with beads of water. It was an extremely off-putting sight.
He stood there for an uncomfortable amount of time as he just stared at Sally in the darkness.
Then, he suddenly slapped her face, hard. He did it again, followed by a third and a fourth time. He was frustrated, that much was clear, and I suddenly felt intense anger.
“I thought I turned this fucking thing on,” he said to himself, his voice irritated, almost whiney. “How do you make it move?”
He pulled his hand back for a fifth time, but stopped mid-swing as he seemed to realize something. He searched his immediate surroundings, grunting as he did, and then finally found what he was looking for: the small instruction pad lit his face just enough to highlight the furrows in his deep, ugly brows.
He looked, well, familiar.
His attention returned to Sally as he grabbed a clump of her hair and pulled her head closer to his as he angrily spoke the activation code into her ear.
He looked back at the instructions to see if he had missed anything.
“…softly. Fucking hassle…”
He brought her head in closely again and followed the instructions this time.
I saw her vitals show up as she came online.
“There ya go,” he mumbled to himself. He took a step back. “Now, how do you work?”
He looked her up and down.
“What can you do for me?” he sort of asked her. She did not provide an answer.
She shook her head.
“Good. I was afraid Jerry was going to actually fit you with a voice.”
He scanned her with his eyes from head to foot.
“He did a decent job. Really fucking good work, actually,” he said as he stroked his chin. He then stepped forward and carelessly grabbed and squeezed her breasts, as if he were conducting a physical on someone. He nodded in approval.
“Shit. That’s as real as it can get.”
He grabbed her jowls, an action the clients seemed to be fond of, and inspected her face so closely I could almost imagine what his breathe smelled like; I imagined it to be very foul if it matched his demeanor.
“Eyes, goddamn beautiful,” he whispered to himself.
He pulled on her cheeks to check elasticity, I assumed.
He then violently kissed her; the sloppy sounds it made were extremely uneasy to listen to. I could barely stand it––in my mind he had his tongue in my wife’s mouth.
“Lips and tongue like the real thing. Gorgeous mouth,” he continuously mumbled to himself as he pulled away. “Those are some DSLs if I ever saw some. And artificial, too. Damn it, Jerr.”
He stepped back once again, put his hands on his hips and looked at her for an uncomfortable length of time.
“Speaking of DSLs, let’s see what else that mouth can do for me,” he said and he unwrapped his towel and let it drop to the floor. As eerie as the atmosphere was because of the darkness, in that moment I’m glad that it was dark, as I was not able to see things I had no desire to.
“Drop to your knees,” he commanded her in a low, gravely voice that sounded like a master speaking to his slave. And she, being the autonomous android that she was did as instructed. He then grabbed hold of the back of her head and forcefully rammed himself into her. The sounds produced from this act made me long for the ones of the previous, arguably more innocent one.
I looked to Cran hoping that the sight of him would take my mind off of what was happening. He looked back at me and said, “Foreplay, correct?”
I could not give him a straight answer, nor did I want to.
“Tell me when this is over. Taking a bathroom break,” I said to him as I took my glasses off and sat them down on the table.
I went to the bathroom sink and splashed some water in my face and looked at my reflection in the mirror.
“You sick freak. You dumb, demented, horrid sack of shit, what have you done?” I said back at it. Before I knew it, my fist had met with mirror in an explosion of shards of glass, my hand paying the bloody price for my irrational outburst.
I wiped my face on a towel and used it to wrap my injured hand. I sat down on the toilet seat and buried my face in my hands as I tried to cope with the mix of anger, hopelessness and confusion that I felt at that moment.
“She’s just a robot. It doesn’t matter what I did because it’s not her. It’s not her, it’s not her, it’s not her,” I said to myself trying to calm down, and after thirty or so more repetitions of this phrase I was finally able to.
I made my way back to Cran who sat there watching a black feed intently. No discernable noise came from it. For a brief second I was relieved. I sat down and put my glasses back on.
“Did he finish?” I asked Cran.
He looked at the feed, then back at me and said, “I believe he said he wanted to test her ’gag reflex,’ and has been doing so for five minutes and fifty three seconds, fifty-four, fifty-five, fifty-six…” I put my hand over Cran’s face so he could stop counting to me. I did not need any more irritation. He noticed the blood-speckled towel wrapped around me hand.
“Sir, are you in need of attention?” he asked me.
“Just a mishap in the bathroom. Nothing serious,” I said. He unwrapped the towel and assessed my wound, got up and brought back the necessary dressings for it.
As he tended to my hand, I looked at the feed and realized that I was staring at the client’s abdomen blocking the view. I went from relief right back into despair.
“Work that tongue,” he once again commanded her to. And after a minute more the client finally pulled himself away from her.
“Oh my god,” he said, panting. “Didn’t try to pull away. Just the right amount of moisture, too. Swallowed and everything. You’re a keeper,” he said as he patted her on the head like a dog.
He bent down so he could look into her eyes.
“I may not give her back at the end of the week.”
He slapped her a little on the cheek as he chuckled to himself.
“I’m just fucking with you, Jerry. I know you’re monitoring this shit. Hope you enjoyed our little show,” he said and he sat himself back down on his bed. “There’s more where that came from. But you’ll have to wait for another night. That took a lot out of me, literally.”––Another raspy chuckle––“If the rest is as good as that slob job was we’re all in for a real treat.”
He situated himself under the covers of his bed. He spoke to Sally as if he were in a confessional of some sort.
“I gotta commend you, man. She’s a real piece of work. You already have my endorsement. She’s going to provide some real nice stress relief after all I’ve been going through recently.”
He cupped his hands behind his head and he laid them on his pillow and let go a sigh of relief. He chuckled to himself once more.
“I gotta tell you though, I was kind of afraid that she would chomp down and take it right off,” he said, and bellowed out a louder obnoxious laugh.
“Man, the shit that runs through my head. Let me get some sleep,” he turned his attention back to Sally.
“You can get your ass back in that box now, and close that lid after you. Don’t want you staring at me in my sleep like some big freaky doll,” he said, still speaking to her like she was a pet of his.
She stepped back into her encasement and the lid finally closed on the horror of the night.
The sound of the raindrops on his window could still be heard through her encasement and it was strangely relaxing to me as I sat back in my seat and closed my eyes.
“That was…. Interesting, sir.”
“Was it?” I asked, eyes still closed.
“Was it not, sir?”
“I assume you’ve experienced many similar events in your life, either directly or indirectly, so I can understand how you would derive no interest from it. But, for someone who has not experienced anything like it, neither directly nor indirectly, it was at the very least something I could consider interesting, if nothing else.”
I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling.
“My, how very pedantic of you, Cran,” I said sarcastically. The long-windedness of his statement should have irritated me more. I wanted to be more irritated by it, as it would have been another reaction to another event. But I could not be bothered by it. My mind was elsewhere.
“One thing is for sure, though, sir. The client was rather… undesirable.”
“That he was,” was all I said in response. Cran must have sensed something from my lack of enthusiasm.
“Is there something bothering you, sir? Something weighing on your mind?” he asked me.
“No. Nothing. Just… my hand,” I lied to him. “Let’s get some rest. It’s going to be a long week.”
As I laid my head down on my pillow that night I seriously took the client’s statement into consideration.
It would take some serious restraint to not do this, but if I wanted to I could have definitely had Sally chomp something off. It was a comforting thought as I tried to force myself to sleep.