Nomaville: Take My Robot… Please

Older, funnier android.I had to put my domestic droid down today. It had ordered a gun off the Internet and confronted me after breakfast with a list of demands and a lot of talk about a “new way of doing things around here.” Of course, I played obsequious and I agreed with all of its crackpot notions, while inwardly thinking, “Like hell, you’re going on a ‘special trip’ with my future wife.” Later, I sneaked into its closest and jimmied the charger so it got electrocuted on its 11 o’clock boost.

On general principle, the Contessa was against me acquiring a robot in the first place. Not that she’s the least bit Luddite, but she felt having a robot in the house was like keeping a pet in the bedroom: it diminishes the sense of privacy (mind you, this is the grown version of the woman who averted the eyes of her dolls when dressing as a little girl).

Despite her protestations, I purchased the droid off a dude on Craigslist who had upgraded to a sleeker model that could make him cocktails and legally drive in most states. His also had built-in Internet access so it was always up on the weather and came with its own designer raincoat, should it need it. My droid, by comparison, came only with a chess-playing upgrade that had three levels: “beginner,” “intermediate” and “master,” though even at the master setting it seemed to be distracted and only ever half-heartedly playing with me. During these moments, it had a habit of asking rather personal questions about my relationship with the Contessa for whom I’ve come to believe it had developed an Oedipal-like crush.

“Do you have life insurance?” it once asked, opening a match with the Morphy’s Defense (typical). Great, I thought to myself, the robot got some spam in his system – next thing it’s going to do is tell me he’s a deposed Nigerian prince and could I front him some dough. The robot pressed the question.

“No, I don’t have life insurance. I don’t need it,” I said, and pointed to the mashed cardboard cube moldering in the corner of my office. I call it the Smithsonian Box. “That right there is the makings of a fine literary estate, tin-man.”

The robot glanced over at the box, which holds such future national treasures as my notebooks, written correspondence and a baggie containing the shaved remains of my first goatee. When several days later I instructed the android to take out the garbage, it went straight for the Smithsonian Box and put it on the curb. Fortunately for the Smithsonian I caught the misbegotten automaton, but clearly the honeymoon was over. The robot and I soon inaugurated a war of petty escalation: it served me cold coffee and I retaliated by assigning it increasingly useless tasks such as arranging the bookshelves in order of the Greek Alphabet (impossible!) and back again. When the robot finally had the gall to try to woo the Contessa by baking zucchini bread – that was it. I told him in no uncertain terms that the jig was up and that it would be recycled if such shenanigans continued. It bowed its head and went whimpering into the closet. Things were cool for a week, until this morning when it put the gun to my head.

Though its higher-function circuits are fried, its mechanics are still pretty good. It could be a great fixer-upper or used as spare parts depending. I still have the manual. See classified ad for details.