My Silent Friend
My Silent Friend11 mins 416 11 mins 416
Let me tell you a story. Listen carefully so at least you will remember what happened. You will understand the reason for this later.
To start it off, Let me introduce myself. My name is Bolty. And I am a robot. For as long as I can remember, I used to live in a store surrounded by many friends. Every day we used to get power at regular intervals. Every week we got cleaned by one of the employees of the store. Life was predictable but happy there. Sometimes, some humans used to come into the store and look at us. I thought it may be because they wanted to make friends. Because whenever a human comes, he/she takes a look at all of us and selects one of the bots.
After which the robot leaves with them. It seemed the robots were always happy to leave with the humans as I have never seen even one robot struggle or say no.
One day, as usual, I was sitting at my place in the store when two humans came. One of them was big and the other was a kid. The kids were always jerks. They try to kick or throw the robots whenever they think the store owner is not looking. Anyway, the two humans started browsing through the bots and their eyes landed on me. I was praying to the maker for them to pick some other robot because I didn't want to leave this place and all of my friends. I had everything there. But the maker didn't hear my prayers and I was picked. I thought I would just say no and I won't have to go.
I have never been more wrong. I was sitting there trying to tell them I won't go with them. And the owner got a plastic piece from the drawer. He added a couple of batteries in there and I started moving front and back without my control. He then handed the plastic thing to the humans and they started mashing buttons on it.
This made me move front, back, left, right, do flips and whatnot. This bizarre behavior of me got me to remember the Control story an elder robot used to tell. He used to tell a story about a plastic piece that would have control over us dictating every step we have to make. I thought it was a horror story to spook us new bots. But it was true. And it was in the hands of these humans. Just then I thought about the bots that left before me. Maybe they also didn't want to leave. But couldn't fight the control and went with the humans.
After the mashing, humans seemed to be happy with me and paid the store owner. The store owner happily packed me and gave me to the humans along with the control. I thought to myself "Maybe it won't be that bad. Maybe I will be making new human friends and they will take care of me just like in the store."
The humans took me to their home. They announced my arrival to all the other humans living there. This included a woman, an infant and, an elder human. All of them were really ecstatic with the news and came towards the door running. I was happy to go near them. But they were more interested in the control than me. Each of them was trying to grab the control and started mashing the buttons.
After their initial fascination with me, they started giving me tasks through the control. Most of the tasks involved bringing stuff to them or cleaning stuff. At first, I thought it was just their way of testing me. But they kept on giving me these ridiculous tasks day after day. Like, is it a hard work to go to the kitchen and get a glass of water or is it a herculean task to clean the kitchen table after eating? After many iterations of this, I came to the conclusion that they got me, especially for these ridiculous tasks. Anyway, I have no say in this since they literally hold my control.
They kept on using me for trivial and humiliating purposes. Like this one tim
e, the little one had some sickness and just excreted everywhere. And without even thinking they called me to clean it.
Another time, I was just minding my work and was kicked into a corner out of nowhere. I turned around to see what happened and got kicked again. This humiliation was followed by laughs and that made me understand what was going on. The little human and his friends thought it would be funny to kick me like a ball and they made a game out of it. Like I said, kids are jerks. I was lucky that day and an adult saw this game.
He got angry and started shouting at the kids. I was happy that at least one human cares about me. But all he shouted was that if I get damaged, they have to buy another. I was nothing but a thing to them. This is what my friends at the shop referred to as being a slave-bot. It was a derogatory term among robots.
The humans kept on using me as a slave-bot when one day they brought a new thing into the house. It was a plant and the little one wanted it for some sort of a project. Even though the project specifically said he has to take care of the plant, I was the one stuck again with the work. They added additional tasks into my control – water the plant daily, put fertilizer for it every week and take care of any pests.
Even though it's extra work for me, I never got angry at the plant. It seemed to be the only life form in the house that had no interest in using me. It just seemed so helpless stuck to the ground not able to move or do anything. That reminded me of myself with my control in the human's hand. So, I did the plant work every day. And it was the only work I did that didn't make me feel sad or used.
One day, humans forgot to close the gate and a stray dog got in. It tried to get into the house but I locked the house from the inside. Then it started running towards the backyard. When I saw it running through the backyard, I suddenly remembered about the plant there. Without any thinking, I ran to the backyard and saw the plant being destroyed by the dog. Instinctively, I ran and tackled the dog. This made the dog even angrier. It came at me with full force and started biting off my components one by one. The dog was too powerful for me to fight off and I just laid there waiting for the dog to kill me. Just when I thought I was going to die, one of the humans came and fended off the dog.
Humans got really angry because of my fight with the dog. They started shouting at me" Who told you to go outside with a dog like that? What would have happened if it got inside? It would have destroyed all our belongings. One of our family members could get injured if that stray got into the house because of your stupidity. And that too for saving a stupid plant which is worth almost nothing. And what if you got damaged? We would have to buy another stupid robot for all the menial tasks that you do. Never do careless things like that again. If something were to happen to plant or any other worthless thing, just let it be and lock the doors this time."
The plant was just another commodity for these people to use like me. After the rant, I went to the plant. It seemed a little sad shedding leaves one by one. Maybe it got scared because of the dog. How could it even communicate its feelings and who would listen to it? It didn't even have the privileges I got. I felt sad and just started talking to it with my beeps and boops – the same way I used to communicate with my friends at the shop, even though I knew it wouldn't be able to understand what I was saying. But once I started talking, the falling of leaves stopped. I took it as a sign that it understands me.
So every day, when I watered the plant, I communicated with it in my own way of beeps and boops. I used to talk about my day, how the humans treated me. Sometimes I told stories about my friends at the store. Other times I told the stories of the humans on the road and the different things I was able to see through the windows.
After I started doing this, the plant's growth accelerated. And I took care of it in every possible way I could. When it was too hot, I poured some extra water for the plant without the humans knowing. When it was too windy, I placed a cardboard around the plant so it won't be pulled away by the wind. When it rained, I dug a little canal to get rid of excess water. And I prayed to the maker every day throughout the winter to not let it snow. The maker seemed to hear me this time. It got a little foggy from time to time, but it never snowed.
And because of all this, within a short time, the plant became a tree. I still continued talking to it every day – while watering, whenever I got sad with the humans or whenever I felt like talking to it. We were friends.
Since the plant has grown, the humans started showing interest in it –which meant they started using it. They started to have backyard BBQs. They started having friends over so they could have some picnic type of things. Sometimes, when it got too hot, they started to sleep under it in hammocks. And they started using any commodity they are able to get hands-on from the tree.
I wouldn't feel so sad if they would just use it. But they started to deface it. Whenever they had a picnic, I could see some new markings and names appear on the tree. And every time after BBQ, the tree would get charred on one end. I got angry with all this and went to confront them once. But all I could say is a couple of beeps and boops. And they just kicked me to the corner and started the game of who can kick me harder. I know the tree must also feel bad because of it, but staying there just as helpless as I was.
Days went on like this. Fall season came and the tree started shedding many of its leaves every day. And I had to sweep all the leaves in the backyard. Work was more but I am happy to do it anyway. Since more work means more time with the tree. And after the fall, summer came.
In summer, many different birds started making nests in the tree. Since there were many birds, humans vehicles started to get defaced from the bird droppings. Along with the birds, the tree became a house for some pests too. The humans seemed to have had it with the bird droppings and the pests. They also wanted the wood and space the tree appeared to be taking.
So they called me and ordered in the control to cut the tree off.
Maybe for them, it seemed normal. But I couldn't even comprehend why they are saying this and just stood there not knowing what to do. They thought the control was faulty and started hitting the batteries.
So what am I supposed to do now? Cut off my only friend in this godforsaken place. The only one that makes me feel happy every day after unplugging. I thought of fighting the order. But just staying there like I didn't understand took all my power. And even if I want to say this to the humans, all I would be saying is a couple of beeps and boops. And they wouldn't even care. After fighting internally for what seemed like hours, I started moving towards the tree not knowing what to do.
Finally, I thought to myself
'I cannot fight the control anyway. Maybe I can get rid of my feelings by deleting them.'
So I am copying my conscience into this secondary device. Then I will delete all my memories forever becoming a perfect slave-bot for the humans just like my maker intended. After that, I will be able to cut off this tree. The humans don't deserve him anyway. He can go to some good place filled with good souls like him who deserve him rather than this hell he is stuck to.
Internal Command: Copy all the memories to the secondary drive
Internal Command: Delete all the memories from the hard drive and format it
The story stopped after that. Bolty took the ax from the warehouse and went to the tree just like the control told it to. It started using the pointy end of the ax to hit the tree. Bolty didn't seem to have any feelings anymore and only concentrating on the task at hand. It seemed like a complete slave-bot now. It kept on hitting the tree with the ax and after some time, Oil started to leak from its optic sensors. It may be because of all the fatigue of cutting the tree. But from distance, it looked like Bolty was crying. Leaves and flowers fell from the tree like crazy. It seemed like the tree was crying with the leaves as teardrops along with Bolty.
The cut became bigger and bigger till the tree started bending on one side. The tree lost so many of its leaves and it is looking like a piece of wood now that is losing all of its life.
Just when the tree seemed to fall, Bolty moved towards the falling direction of the tree. The tree fell on Bolty destroying it as well. To this day, we don't know why Bolty went under the tree –
It may be because of some memory Bolty didn't let go
Maybe the fatigue short-circuited its sensor clouding its decision.
Whatever the reason may be, Bolty went with the tree. And the tree never grew again; even with a new modified robot watering it every day.