by Luc Reid
When I woke for the first time I had a little trouble focusing, since my eyes seemed to be made of burned-out light bulbs. Soon enough, things began to come clear, and I found I was slumped in the corner of a weedy dirt lot between two shabby row houses. Crouched in front of me was a grubby little Rabbi.
"I know what you're thinking," said the Rabbi. "You're thinking, 'Where am I? Who am I? Who is this disreputable person in front of me? Why do I have light bulbs for eyes?' Don't worry. It'll all make sense soon when I turn you loose on my enemies."
"Something smells bad," I said.
"Smells bad? Smells bad? Never mind that, you have a job to do. You know what you are? You're a trash golem. I didn't have the clay and things they usually use, so I asked myself what we have a lot of here in this city, and I said 'Trash!' Of trash, we have plenty. Now, you'll need instructions."
I heaved myself to my feet, one of which was a dishwasher and the other of which was part of a rusted-out old street sweeper, with the brushes still on. I shuffled in the dirt, trying out the brushes. It kicked up a lot of dust on the Rabbi, who coughed.
"For crying out loud, never do that," said the Rabbi. "Are you ready for your instructions?"
"I'm ready," I said, although I didn't know if I was or not.
"All right. So, you're a trash golem. Why trash? It's ironic! Listen, all these people around you, in all these houses, with their rich families, they make more trash than you could imagine. They'll bury the world in that trash, so I want you to go and destroy them."
"The children too?"
"Well, not the children, but everyone else."
"The parents, but not the children?"
"What are you, a conversation golem? OK, you're right, not the parents with the children."
"You're giving me a pain, you know. Right here in my neck. OK, they're sweet, they're happy, they're in love, I get it. So no, not the young couples."
"So just the people on their own?"
The Rabbi sighed heavily, and I went over and put my lawnmower gently on his shoulder.
"All right, I admit it: the whole thing about the enemies with the trash, I made that up. It wasn’t even a very good lie."
"You're just lonely?"
The Rabbi kicked an old tin can across the lot. "Well," he finally said, "do you play chess? We could go to the park and play chess."
I followed the Rabbi out of the lot and along the river toward the park. The sun glinted on my metal parts and warmed my rusty parts, and I thought longingly of destroying someone.