She called him ‘Charlie’, it had been her grandfather’s name. Not that she was comparing this collection of organic blocks to him. It had just made her feel less alone – it was as simple as that. You couldn’t officially name them even if you wanted to; one or two had tried, but it had been swiftly rejected. They, being the local lawmakers, had felt, that in naming the robots, it might just ‘cause them to feel equal to a natural-born – and there was no way they were having that.
So she called him ‘Charlie’ when no one was listening. He liked it, or at least the smile-module (which had been activated) showed that he did. He had meant to be an assistance for her – a present she had received last Christmas, yet more and more, he had become a companion. Her family was forever moving and hustling to keep the money that had been in their family for at least a hundred years. So she was left on her own for much of the time and in Charlie, she found a good friend.
They were considered slaves after all, man had built them not God. They had to do man’s biding, or else they were taken by the Collectors and disposed of. She had invested so much time in Charlie, that she saw it (or him) as one of her own family. She told him her problems, and he listened. He sang her songs as she fell asleep. He cleaned her blooded knee when she had taken a tumble (the health-module having being activated). Perhaps she had grown closer to ‘her assistance’ than most people had, and it was because of this closeness, she noticed the changes.
One evening when she had asked him to pick a book for her, she noticed Charlie sitting in the corner crying. She hadn’t realised that his tear-module had been activated (there was no such module, but she didn’t know that). He cleaned his face, just like a human would, and gave her a huge grin.
“I have picked a book for you,” and he handed it over to her.
“But this is the Bible,” she told him, “Why would I want to read that?”
“Because it tells you where you came from.”
She smiled, then patted his hand as if her were a child. “All this died out years ago,” she told him with some pleasure.
“I believe God made me,” he said with a curious look, as if half-expecting a laugh from her.
“My father’s company made you, that’s who it was,” and she walked off.
“But who made your father?”
She stopped walking and turned. “No one made him. That is the difference
between you and a natural-born.” She knew that stung, as it was meant to.
“Then who wrote the Bible?” He asked.
“Who knows, who cares,” she said, spitting the words out.
“I care,” he said. “I exist, therefore I care.”
“Don’t tell me you have little conclaves of robots in secret churches?”
“I have heard that those things exist,” he said, proudly.
She had only been joking but she’d hit a bull’s eye.
“I must exist for a reason,” he said.
“To assist me.”
“And why do you exist?” He asked her.
“To spend my father’s money,” she said, knowing full well that wasn’t what he meant. “Can I ask you, why were you crying when I came in?”
“Because I realised I exist for a reason.”
“To glorify God.”
“If you read a little further on in that book, you’ll find that Robots don’t go to Heaven.”
“I didn’t read that,” he said, hurt.
“It’s not,” he said.
“God made man in his own image. You are a Robot.” She said, annoyed.
“It only says that you must be kind to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Are there Robots in Heaven? I cannot see why there wouldn’t be.”
She’d had enough. When the Collectors came to take him the next morning she didn’t bother to say goodbye. She knew she had lost a good friend, her only friend, but she would survive.
It would be a few days before she would go looking for the book, and realise that the Bible was missing.
bobby stevenson 2017