The Machine

by Matthew Wilson

Robo could not remember the murder.

His memory circuits were wiped, and when trying to lock down the previous twelve hours, all that remained was a dark knot at the back of his gears.

Down stairs, police charged up and Helen’s inherited kindess informed him this was not fair. Robo was good, his master loved him like a son and he provided company in her old age. He did not want her money, only her pride.

He’d no desire to kill her, but the men storming through the door did not stop as Robo opened the window and stepped out.

Children skipping in the street screamed briefly as a figure walked the three inch wide window ledge four stories up. Then calmed when the poor light reflecting off it’s metal skin betrayed it no human. Robots were property and the children would be as upset at its destruction as a dropped vase.

“Jump, jump,” they chanted, clicking on their video phones.

Robo ignored them as the policemans armoured helmet swung left and right, his goggles fogged. “There he is!”

Robo let go of the wall, and seemed to fall forever.

*

To Charlie, the best part of a movie was the ending. He hated the idea of wasting ninety minutes to find the conclusion not to his satsifaction. He wouldd skip to the end first and, if he liked the outcome, spool back to the start.

He set down his tea, staining the table when some fool knocked the front door.

“This better be important,” he moaned. He was about to find out who the murderer was.

“Robo?” He said with some surprise, “You’re supposed to be home.”

Helens home, he reminded himself. No, he’d not get angry. Not since the divorce. That was done with now. He’d taken care of it.

Robo had a dent in his head from where he missed the skip four stories beneath his masters window. But it would take more then that to decomission him, he had a lifetime warranty.

“Forgive me, master.” Robo handed him the title as Helens next of kin. “It was awful, the police were there and-”
“I know you little moron, you were supposed to be caught by them.” Sighing, Charlie headed into the kitchen. How were robots supposed to be helpful? “Can’t you do anything right?”

Robo forgot trying not to smudge the masters carpet with his boots. “You… called them?”

Charlie stormed back into the living room. Where was his screwdriver? “Hold still, I gotta remove your memory again and take you back. Maybe this time you’ll stay still for ten minutes. I always told her you were like a damn Cat, wondering off all places.”

“You killed her.” Robo said.

Charlie looked at the TV; the end was nearly here. He liked this part. “Yep, and you’re taking the blame. The old malfunction bit. Maybe I’ll get a refund when they turn you to scrap. Now hold still I- hey!”

Charlie shook his hand till the angry red bite mark faded. “What the – your not supposed to hurt me. I’m your master. Your supposed to help.”

Robo picked up the screwdriver, it had a flat handle. And sharp ended blade. Yes, he would help the only master worth his service. He raised the tool over his head, threatingly. And stepped forward.

“Robo? What are you doing?”

Helen had taught her metal son what was fair. “It’s alright,” Robo said. “You seem to have a screw loose, but I can fix it.”

Outside, police banged on the door, but as Charlie screamed the movie was already ending.

The End