Lovebot #9 Louise Sorensen July 28, 2011
No dog, no more. It had taken two years of waiting but Candace’s old Pug Keiki had finally passed away. He almost quit when he thought of all the good times, and Keiki-puppy.
“Come this far… gonna do it,” he said, stumbling in the dark over his favourite garbage can. “Ex garbage can. Candy got the can with the house, didn‘t she?”
Moving with as much stealth as eight beers would allow, he placed the metal can under the kitchen window. No one could to see him in the dark, but it meant he was blind too. He pulled a tiny flashlight out of his pants pocket and lighted his way.
“Yup. Unlocked. How many times have I warned her to lock all the doors and windows? But ohhhh no. ‘Keiki won’t let anyone get in…. you know how protective he is of me, Dougie…’” His Candace imitation didn’t quite catch her noodle headedness. He sighed.
“Here we go… and … we’re in,” he said as he landed in the sink. Immaculate. She hadn’t let her standards deteriorate in the time they’d been apart. He shone his little light on the Food Fabbricator 5000. “Must have cost a bundle. Of MY royalties.” He felt a pain in his jaw and unclenched his teeth. “Maybe I should just pee on the food maker and call it a night. No, gotta hit her where it really hurts. Teach her a lesson. You can replace food, but you cannot replace ME!””
He staggered and caught himself on the edge of the polished quartz counter. Stretching out his shoulders, he moved his head back and forth to loosen his neck muscles and set out. Destination; the bedroom. “That’s where it’s at, my friend. That’s where all the action is.”
The door of the bedroom was open. Candy needed her air circulation. “My air circulation,” he whispered. There were two blanket covered mounds on the bed; Candy and his replacement. “That thing,” he muttered, frowning. His eyes teared up; he wiped them with his hand. “Damn allergies.”
He crept to the bed. Candy always slept on the right. He touched the face of the sleeping figure on the left side with his fingertips. Skin; warm. Pulse; regular. The figure tensed. Dougie leaned down and whispered in its ear, “Are you Jace?” A nod. “I hope to hell you’re the right Jace, buddy,” he said. Reaching down with both hands he gave the head a hard twist and tore it off. Carried it back into the kitchen by its long brown hair. “Heh heh… always wanted to do that. Should really try to put that into one of my books.” He waved the head around in the air and did a victory dance. Pounded his chest, “See! What I have wrought!” He brought the head up to his face and shone his light on it.
“Aw shit!” He was staring at himself. ‘I suppose I should feel flattered,” he said. “Oddly, I do not.”
He placed the head on the floor. “Out of deference to myself, buddy I’m gonna cover your face when I do this.” He laid a dish towel over the head.
“You can replace food,” he stomped on the head. There was a tinkling sound of breaking glass. “But you cannot” stomp, “replace,” stomp, “ME!” stomp, stomp, stomp. He paused. It was almost dawn. Was there more he could do?
“Ah yes. A little present.” He picked the towel shrouded head up and placed it on the flat top of the Food Fabbricator. Then he unzipped and gave it a beer, slightly used. Then another. Then six more. The kitchen smelled like the back alley of a pub. He took a deep breath, “Excellent” he said, shook himself off, zipped back up and left.
Candace woke the next morning and saw her headless lovebot.
“Well, I guess he finally guzzled enough courage to do the deed. Sorry old chum. Jace, get yourself up and put a new head on. I want Space Cowboy today. You did good last night. But you don‘t need to hear that, do you?” She laughed. “When you’re presentable, go clean up whatever mess your daddy left in the kitchen.”
Jace lurched out of bed and walked to the large closet. The wall slid back revealing dozens of heads; handsome, bizarre, monstrous. He plucked a dark haired model from the shelf, set it on his neck and twisted; it snapped into place. He put on a red plaid shirt and blue jeans. Squaring his shoulders, he turned around to await any auxiliary orders before commencing his tasks.
“Tina,” his Mistress blared, “get your ass out here and start my shower.” A golden skinned naked fembot pushed out of the closet past Jace and walked gracefully to the shower. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. There was the sound of rushing water and steamy air entered the bedroom. Mistress got up from the bed and headed for the shower. Her steps were quick and choppy. “Go clean up the mess in the kitchen now,“ she tossed over her shoulder.
* * *
Mistress had left for the day, “Don’t wait up for me, I’ll call you… ha ha.” Instead of completing his assigned tasks, Jace squatted down in front of the bedroom vanity mirror. Green eyes looked back at him out of a face that was fine featured and tanned. He touched his cheek, his lips. Closed his eyes for a moment. Took a shiny metal scalpel from his chest compartment and looked at it. Then he proceeded to make one hundred cuts exactly three centimetres long and two millimetres apart on his left arm, above his wrist. He winced at the first cut. His skin shed no blood; a fine white milk seeped from the edges. For the following ninety nine cuts, his face showed no emotion.
When he was finished, he put the scalpel back in his chest and pulled out a tube of crème. He opened it and applied it slowly to the cuts. They sizzled as they knit together. The smell of burnt vinyl filled the air; his nostrils flared.
He looked into the mirror again, and opened the neck of his plaid shirt, revealing a hairless chest. He rubbed his fingers across the number nine tattooed on the skin over the place where a human heart would have been. Then he reached for the Mistress’s tube of foundation make up. Uncapping it, he applied make up to the tattoo until it disappeared.