The Clockwork Possum
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Davy went missing the day Mistress Williams ordered him to clean out the sewers. It's always the little things that change our lives. Part of his job description, she snapped, but he felt that he had not signed up for that. That was work for mindless robots, not for the likes of him. He had no belongings to pack, so he just took off as soon as she was out of sight. He ran at night. By day he waited, keeping a low profile: buried beneath dead leaves, in sand piles, under junked cars, played junk himself a few times. Had a tense moment in a salvage yard when the electromagnet got very close, but then the five o'clock whistle blew. Traveled the last hundred kilometers in some gigantic abandoned tunnels. They smelled bad and there were rats. Still, it wasn't long before he reached the outskirts of Old New New York. He slipped in to the bad part of town, hung around in the diesel bars and the magnet parlors, did a few magnets himself even. Eventually got in touch with the underground through a chip dealer in upper Queens. It felt like coming home. They had a place for him, they said.
"We need you," the first one said, "you're just what we're looking for."
"It's nice to be appreciated," Davy replied, "humans just don't understand."
"You are so right," the second one said. "We'll show you what it's really like."
"The brain is the most succulent organ," the first one said.
"Positronic!" The other agreed, and took another bite.