It was Sunday afternoon, Andrew was sitting idly in front of the TV, swapping the channels randomly, switching between the retelecast of Friday night’s free style wrestling and a sitcom. The robot was cleaning the storeroom. It came to Andrew with an old photo frame in its hands.
“Can I ask you something boss?” The robot asked.
Andrew smiled and said, “You can ask me anything sweety pie.”
“Who is this green eyed girl boss?” Showing him the picture the robot asked. It was Andrew’s honeymoon photo. Their first evening at Hawaii. Mina and him, walking on the beach. Holding each other tightly, his arm round her waist and her head leaning against his chest.
Suddenly his face grew harder. “Nobody,” He said curtly.
“Oh, come-on boss, don’t be so tight-assed. I was just trying to open up a conversation. I know she is your ex-wife. I looked up all about you two on the Internet,” said the robot.
Now Andrew was infuriated. “What?” He bellowed. “You were spying on me.” He picked up the remote control and just as he was about to throw it towards the robot, he realized what he was doing. He checked himself. He was flushed.
Ignoring it the robot said, “Not spaaaying boss, just gathering information. We C360s do it all the time. How do you think I know all those little things about you, your favorite dishes, books, holiday destinations, et cetera? We record each and every little thing that comes across and act accordingly. That’s why our owners feel so comfortable around us.”
“But if anyone…”
“Don’t worry boss. No body can get that information from me. Not even Robosys service engineers. Robot Owners Privacy Act, 2052, mandates it. According to that law, nobody, not even Government itself, can obtain owner’s personal information from a robot forcefully or otherwise. A self protecting mechanism automatically deactivates that particular part of our memory in case of unauthorized access.”
Hearing this Andrew calmed a bit. “You sure about that?”
“100% percent sure boss. Did you forget our tagline? Your companion forever. I will rather terminally deactivate myself than betray you.” The robot reassured.
Andrew was moved by it. “Hey sweety pie, don’t talk about deactivating and all that gloomy stuff. And don’t you dare leave me ok. I will go mad.” He said. Corners of his eyes were filling with tears.
The robot sat beside him on the sofa, placed its hand on Andrew’s and pressed it a bit and said, “Don’t you worry boss. I will never leave you.” They looked at each other for two-three seconds, then the robot let go Andrew’s hand. Andrew gathered himself a bit and started watching television. In reality he was just staring at it stupidly, not understanding a bit why everybody on the sitcom was laughing his head out.
“Hey Boss…” said the robot tentatively.
“Why don’t you tell me about it?”
“About you and your wife. How did you both separate? I have read all the gossip on the Internet. Your former friends Nancy and Mark, you marring Mina, your violent temper, you hitting her, the trial, the sentence and all. There are hundreds of pages full about your eccentricities and your love for violence. But then it’s all gossip. I don’t trust it. I have been with you and I know its not real you. You see, I know you and I trust you. That’s why I want to hear it from you. Your version of the story. I know you loved her very much. That at least I can tell, from the way you always look at my eyes. Trust me you will feel better. You heard the saying – ‘Share the joy it multiples. Share the pain it reduces’.”
Andrew gazed at her for a moment, looking a bit perplexed as though trying to decide whether or not to let his emotional curtains down. At last he sighed and said, “You are right. I think I must tell it to somebody and if not to you, then to whom?”
Andrew switched off the TV. For a moment he just stared at the blank TV screen as if recollecting his memory. He sighed and began talking.
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