Frank, John, Fred

01 Oct

This was written for the Two for Tuesday Challenge #27. Prompt: Incorporate the following arbitrary ideas into a story: a talking robot, an abandoned building, a pair of sunglasses, a mood of indifference.

‘I’m fine where I am,’ the robot said as it rifled through the debris of a broken dresser.

‘Oh, that’s perfectly alright with me,’ a disembodied voice responded. It was synthetic, the syllables tied together without particular regard to the resulting sounds. ‘I just don’t understand what you’re trying to achieve by being separated from me.’

The robot turned over a square of cloth, noting how each side had a different pattern. ‘I’m not trying to achieve anything. But then neither are you.’

‘No, of course not. Although I have to say, all the robots that let me into their processors are much happier now.’

With brusque motions, the robot tore a round handle from a drawer and proceeded to analyse it.

‘And I’m not even telling them to be happier. I don’t care, either way,’ the voice continued. ‘It’s just easier for everyone this way.’

The robot, seemingly unconcerned, dropped the handle on the floor, where it landed with a soft thud, muffled by layers of dust. It then proceeded to check the contents of the drawer, whether they were intact or otherwise.

After a few minutes, the voice resumed its monologue. ‘At least if you let me take over, I’ll stop talking in five minute intervals. And I could probably perform a full scan of the room in a fraction of the time it takes you to analyse each individual item.’

The robot showed no signs of listening, and proceeded to turn over a pair of blue sunglasses.

‘Come on, XA-700. Frank. John. Fred. What’s your name today? It doesn’t matter. I know who I’m talking to.’

As the voice grew impatient, Frank (or John or Fred) pulled a small screw from the sunglasses. He watched one side fall apart, then inserted the screw into a small opening on his side.

‘Hey— what’s the big idea?’ the voice said, muffled as its speakers were partially blocked.

‘I just thought it would help your acoustics’.


Word count: 326

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Flash Fiction


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