Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

The Automatonist’s Assistant

by Luc Reid

“Darling!” squealed Eleanor, pulling the covers over her body as she scrambled out of the bed. “What are you doing home at this hour?” Her husband’s  new assistant, Mr. Twall, was left completely naked on the mattress.

 “I was looking for Mr. Twall,” said Horace, the husband. “I hadn’t realized there was a queue.”

 “I don’t know what to say,” said Mr. Twall. “I’m profoundly sorry.”

 “It isn’t your fault, Twall. Eleanor, I’ll have you know that Mr. Twall is one of my biomechanical automatons. I purposely created him to see if you would be unfaithful to me.”

 “I am not!” protested Mr. Twall.

 “Of course, I programmed him not to know this. Mr. Twall, would you be so kind as to recognize shutdown code five-ought-R-R-four?”

 “Certainly,” said Mr. Twall, apparently to his own surprise. Then he went utterly limp.

 “You bastard! You pustule!” said Eleanor.

 “Call me whatever names you like, but I had to test you. I suspected you had fallen out of love with me, but hadn’t cared to bring it up.”

 “You suspected right, and is it any wonder? And it isn’t easy, you know, to find out over time that one’s husband will not become less emotionally frozen, that the clumsiness of his intimacy is not something one can correct. I was wrong to think you could be better!”

 Eleanor dropped the covers with a warning glare, swept up her clothes from the floor, and strode out of the room. Horace stood frozen for a few moments, then slowly walked over to Mr. Twall and popped open his neck panel to erase both the unpleasant incident and the inclinations that led to it from the automaton’s brain. He found, though, that his hands were shaking, and he had to sit down on the floor as he began to cry. It was just gasping and tears at the corners of his eyes at first, but it quickly degraded into hoarse, barking sobs that he couldn’t stop or even quiet down without clamping his hands tightly over his mouth.

 The naked automaton looked on blankly, still inert, as the sound of Eleanor slamming the front door reverberated through the house.

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One Response to “The Automatonist’s Assistant”

  1. The Great Geek Manual » Free Fiction Round-Up: October 22, 2009 Says:

    October 22nd, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    […] “The Automatonist’s Assistant” by Luc Reid at Daily […]