20 minutes ~ whatever comes up

‘Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same’. The song wove itself through the morning sunshine to his sleeping body. Evan groaned and rolled over. He shoved the pillow over his head to block his ears. He should have reached back and smashed the alarm clock but he didn’t. The song finished and the news came on.

“It’s 6:00 am. Looks like it is going to be a scorcher. Be sure to wear sunblock. The health unit recommends SPF 50 or higher. Sun exposure for longer than 10 minutes will result in burns. 12 noon curfew is still mandatory for all residents of Kinburn. Do not attempt to break curfew as the Hazard team will be patrolling with the army. All infractions will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Cover up and stay alive.” The dj came on next and introduced the next song. Evan groaned again. Fuck, he thought. Another insider. What was the point of getting up? He knew he didn’t have a choice. The patrols from the firm would be coming by in an hour to ensure that everyone who was scheduled to show up for work got there. There was no chance of playing hookey. Not today anyway. Calley knocked on the door.

“You up yet?” she asked. Her voice was like syrup. Rancid and disgusting. Evan didn’t move. He pretended to still be sleeping despite the loud radio music.

“No” he mumbled. His voice was muffled under the pillow. She was walking towards him, he was sure of it. She did the same thing every day. Why they had to assign him such a stupid predictable robot, he’s never understand. With all the technology out there, he got stuck with an idiot. Figures.

“Go away Calley. Go make me some goddamn eggs. I gotta have a shower now. Buzz off.” Evan said throwing the blankets off before Calley got a hold of them and pulled them away. Last time he waited and let her do that, the sheet got stuck in her gears and she shorted out. $10,000 later she was back almost like new. Almost. The fuckers gave her a tic. Evan had them on his deficiency list.

“Your breakfast will be ready in 6.7 minutes Evan sweetheart.” Calley said, turning with an awkward spin.

“Whatever.” He mumbled. Evan headed to the toilet and stripped down to the skin. The water was perfect. At least something was working properly.

“Hey man? Put a fuckin’ towel on would you?” Evan’s best friend Burt said. Evan kept washing himself.

“Dude, you on the phone. You can’t see me unless you hit video.” Evan said. “What the hell do you want. You are going to make me late for work.”

“Oh relax. You have time. Listen, can you cut out early? We are heading to the frontier tonight. You have to get out before the sunset, right. There’s going to be a crew. Maybe make some extra cash. Then Kel has a place just of the bluff that we can crash in. You don’t have to work tomorrow right? You can ditch.” Burt said. His voice was distorting. Evan made a mental note to get Calley to re-configure the speakers.

“Yeah sure. I will meet you at Petey’s ok? Don’t leave without me ‘kay?” Evan said. He stepped out of the shower and let the air dry him.

“Yeah yeah don’t worry. Mai will be there. “ Burt said. Evan smiled as he started to get dressed.

“Of course she will be. She digs me.” Evan said.

“Dude, no one says digs any more. That’s so last millennia.” Said Burt. He was irritated. Evan knew that Burt was hot for Mai. Evan couldn’t care less about the girl. Waste of space.

“Ok whatever. Don’t sweat it. See you in 7 hours.” Evan said. “End call.” The speaker snapped off before Burt could say anything else.

“Calley my breakfast better be done. Don’t burn the goddamn toast again. I swear I will send you back that shop and have you decommissioned.” Evan snapped. He didn’t have the authority to do that, but it felt good to say it to the bag of bolts. The funny thing was, Evan knew that she was made of titanium and didn’t have a single bolt in her body. He didn’t give a rat’s ass. He was looking forward to destroying some shit tonight. Maybe they’d get a race in or two. Evan was feeling a little desperate for a buzz. The walls were starting to get to him. What pissed him off more was the gold shrill light that cut through the windows where the curtains didn’t fit properly.

“Yeah go fuck yourself sun. Fuckin’ waste of space.” He muttered under his breathe while he was looking for his shoe. Seconds later Calley appeared as she did every day carrying them.

“Here you go sweetie. Have a wonderful day!” she said brightly. Evan couldn’t look at her. Today he wanted to dismantle her himself. He couldn’t. They’d enforce third law before he’d even get to removing her head. Evan would be left to the straight rays at noon. Why the fuck they let AI become sacred was beyond him. He’d read about the days when they were the same as toasters, and those fucking things worked then. None of this other bullshit. Why couldn’t they have just given him a hot robot with brains. That would have been fuckin heaven.

“Yeah. You too. Going out tonight after work. Don’t wait up for me ok?” Evan said gritting his teeth.

“Ok, I will leave a light on for you.” Calley said.

“Thanks.” Evan said. Calley stood between him and the door, looking at him expectantly. Evan groaned and shuffled his feet. He didn’t want to have to say it. It was like chewing glass. Calley waited. He knew she would just keep waiting. He finally gave in. The transport would arrive in 30 seconds. He couldn’t afford to miss it.

“I love you.” he said. The words cut him on their way out of his mouth. His tongue felt like rust.

“I love you too sweetheart. See you later. Have a great day at work” she said, stepping out of the way.

“Yeah. I will.” Evan said. “I will.”


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