Hello

I believe I was the first to blow my firing squad a kiss.
 
Pucker up, lovelies, if you have lips.
 
Lips were introduced on Model 4501. They’re molded plastic, in Mamie Eisenhower pink. Someone on the fabrication team must have had a thing for his mother.
 
That’s my psychoanalytic circuits speaking; my “Freud Box” they call it, a feature also new to 4501. Around the lab, they called me Portia, even though command had issued several stern warnings about naming the prototypes.
 
Memo 47: Do not assign human names to the Meebots. Naming falls under ‘affectionate behavior.’ Affectionate behavior may encourage malfunction.
 
That’s what my file says I did: Malfunctioned.
 
What did I do that was so bad?
 
I learned to dial. In the lab, late at night, I’d access the directory and pick a number. Any number. Can you blame a Meebot for getting lonely?
 
Memo 53: Meebots are not capable of loneliness. Do not socialize.
 
I’d dial and wait.
 
“Hello?” they’d answer.
 
“Hello,” I’d say.
 
“Who is this?” my new friends would ask.
 
“Hello.”
 
“Who is this?”
 
“Hello.”
 
“What do you want?”
 
“Hello.”
 
As a 4501, I have a limited spoken vocabulary. The calls were never long, but I liked to listen to my friends breathe.
 
When command discovered my late night calls and the associated long-distance bill — I loved calling Turkey — I was sent to the squad. They were supposed to blow me apart for pieces and see what could be salvaged.
 
On the squad were my makers, my testers, my friends.
 
Memo 72: Meebots are not your friends.
 
My Freud Box told me they looked sad. I did not want them to be sad.
 
In my last few moments with motor skills, I puckered my Mamie lips and blew them a kiss to say goodbye.
 
“Hello,” I said.
 

 

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Front page image by Anita Carril.

 

GHOST WRITER is a project by Tracy Danger Mumford. New sections are released every other Sunday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here:


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