Frantic Friday bonus story, August 23rd 2013 — the robot that learned fear (grimm brothers riff [with thanks to Gina Warren]))

Once there was a robot that had two robot children. The elder child was a tiny, lithe robot made of white Apple circuit boards and it worked hard all the time harvesting the data and making the upgrades on the all the systems that ran their world.  But the younger robot was stupid and lazy made of old Acer bits and Dell boards, and miscellaneous memory from God knows where.

How can machines be stupid and lazy you ask? Have you ever had an air-conditioner bust for no reason? What about a vacuum cleaner? What about a disposal that just quit on you at odd moments, or a computer that decided to only turn on SOMETIMES and then, only when you threatened to hang it from a tree and invite your friends to take turns beating it with a baseball bat?

I rest my case.

Anyway, the parental robot looked askance at the younger robot who sat in the corner running the solitaire program over and over and then making silly games with no winner or loser on the twine app, but never once doing an upgrade or an update. The robot parent said “one day you will know what it is to feel afraid” –which was odd because what machines feel afraid except for that robot boyfriend of Robyn’s (because honestly, who wants to upset Robyn?).

I don’t know. I’m just reporting the story as it was told to me.

One day shortly before Passover, the rabbi robot came over to say hi to the robot parent and the parental unit (ha!) said “I don’t know what to do with this robot, who doesn’t work and doesn’t upgrade but just lollygags around to use the parlance of a different era.”

The rabbi robot said, “have it come with me and I’ll show it how to work” and so it brought the lazy robot child to the mechanistic synagogue, and said “fix these toilets and roll up these torahs.” The robot of course didn’t do that, but that night the Golem came and said “FI FI FO FUM” in Yiddish and the rabbi robot ran out screeching, but the lazy robot child said “ha that’s funny,” and went on its way, after the Golem burned down the synagogue, and then decomposed into dirt.

The lazy robot child wandered down the road til a tall slender robot who was made of flashlights said “marry me” and the lazy robot child did.

The two got married in yet another mechanistic synagogue that was less sectarian, and the robot child get to be mayor of the robot town because it was that kind of place, where lazy people sometimes get greatness thrust upon them to quote Shakespeare.

That night though, the heat went off in their usually comfortable boiler room above a garage, and it got very very cold, and the robot couple shivered.

“What happens if the heat never comes back on?” said the flashlight spouse.

“I guess I’d better attempt to fix the heat,” said the lazy robot.

“Hurry,” said flashlights.  “If not, my circuits will FREEZE since we’re in Siberia “(I, as narrator, have just decided that).

Just then the robot knew what it was to feel cold and a bit scared.

“How delicious,” it said, snuggling close to its spouse for just a moment of sensual scaritude before it commenced finally doing something productive.

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