I’ve shared this before — pretty much anytime over the past four years that someone has asked to read something of mine, and a couple times on my previous blog as well — but I’m sharing it again. Mainly that is because I’m planning to share another excerpt from the same story tomorrow, involving the same characters, but they’ll need to be fresh in your mind.
So: this is an excerpt from The Adventures of Jimmy Stick, which I have been working on and agonizing over since 2002. The scene is sometime after Jimmy is executed by the government via laser from space and ends up escaping from hell and reaching heaven, where he meets and gets high with his Creator. As they smoke, the Creator fills Jimmy in on what’s been happening back on Earth, where the government has replaced him with a robot programmed to quote scripture. The robot has hooked up with Jimmy’s girlfriend Claire, who doesn’t realize the robot isn’t the real Jimmy.
That’s pretty much all you need to know going in. So.
Claire and Robot Jimmy: Robot Blues
Jimmy had been a lot different since he came back with the weird clothes and the new first initial. He refused to tell her what the R stood for, and Jimmy had never been able to say no before. He had pretty much gotten rid of Paul, who had started sleeping on Benny’s couch. R. Jimmy had even gone out and gotten a better job and was making enough money now that maybe she could be happy.
“<beep>Claire,” said R. Jimmy when he answered the door. “<beep>Come in.”
“Thank you, Jimmy.” She went inside and R. Jimmy shut the door.
“<beep>What is to bring you to my Jimmy Stick’s house? <beep>Are you still feeling the sorrows for Jerry, his dying?”
“Oh, Jimmy. Yes.” R. Jimmy knew what was bothering her, and you never had before. It inspired new feelings in Claire’s heart. She was warming to R. Jimmy, and her sadness lessened.
“<beep>It will being all right soon, Claire. <beep>Jerry is with the Lord now…” R. Jimmy paused, then went on. “<beep>If you would like … <beep>to pray?” He hesitated. The truth is that R. Jimmy was warming to Claire as well, and had been since he first laid optics on her. R. Jimmy, as a matter of fact, was getting a big robot boner. It was something he had never experienced before. He had not been programmed for anything like this. Claire made his oils and greases fizz inside him; she made him light-headed. R. Jimmy did not want to pray.
Let’s get this clear: Claire is a whore. The fact that she is always such a bitch tends to drive everyone away from her, but Claire has learned that most men will put up with it if she sleeps with them. Since she is such a bitch, she takes full advantage of this.
But what Claire did now… She was not doing it because she is a whore, or because she is a bitch. Because R. Jimmy was doing what no one had ever done; he was trying to make it better for her, and he understood.
If it makes you feel any better, she found no joy in sleeping with R. Jimmy. She had never felt about anyone the way she felt about him, but she could think of no other way to show him that than the thing she had done with pretty much all your friends.
As for R. Jimmy, though he had never been programmed for this, his anatomy had been carefully designed. His robotic member was monstrously abnormal; it was of unlikely proportion and the shape was just all wrong, with sharp bits poking out. R. Jimmy’s creators knew that a robot could never enter Holy Matrimony, and therefore any sexual relations had by the robot would be immoral, and therefore those relations were going to hurt.
He had done as no robot ever had before; he had found the emotion love. But it had been ruined for him before he was ever turned on. R. Jimmy felt a terrible rage burning in his heart as Claire writhed and screamed to his caress.
. . .
R. Jimmy continued to brood for many days. He was careful to hide it from Claire, because on the first morning after they first did it she had seen the look in his viewplate and got all freaked out. He could not figure out how to tell her of the agony he felt inside when he was putting her in that other, more physical agony.
Whenever Claire was not around — rare — R. Jimmy would try talking to the more sophisticated appliances in your house. Your computer he simply could not get along with. The toaster offered him warmth, but he loved only Claire and the toaster could see that. R. Jimmy began to think he was cursed to bring pain to all around him. Then he finally got acquainted with the Television.
. . .
R. Jimmy’s days passed like this:
His internal clock would boot him up at five forty-five each morning. R. Jimmy would pray then, but he no longer felt the passion. He would then change his fluids in the bathroom, shine his body plating, rinse his bill and it was off to work. He had gotten this job through Dillon, so it was probably questionable, but it doesn’t really matter what it was. Maybe he was selling stolen cars or something. He would work a good ten hours to make the cheese, and then he would return to your house. He always masturbated before changing his fluids and going to make dinner for Claire. That’s right. R. Jimmy cooked for her every night, and Claire ate it up.
While Claire was eating, R. Jimmy would watch the news. He liked to watch Fox News. After watching the news for a while, R. Jimmy would switch over to some primetime game show and Claire would come sit with him. After the game show they would watch a drama, and then two sit-coms and it was time for bed. R. Jimmy picked Claire up and carried her to the bed every single night, and then he would hurt her for about twenty minutes and she would sigh the same sigh each night before falling asleep.
As Claire’s breathing became steady and even with sleep, R. Jimmy would sit on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. No matter how long he sobbed, no tears could emerge from his viewplate and he began to think about crashing his own CPU.
That was when he began screwing the Television.
. . .
R. Jimmy poured his soul out to the Television, and Television told him not to worry. It was going to be okay. What he needed to do, Television told him, was go out and buy many things. These things would incrementally increase his happiness. R. Jimmy believed this because it seemed logical to his robotic brain.
R. Jimmy bought a shiny new car in which to drive to and from work. He also used it to drive to a new grocery store further from your house where rich humans go to buy their rich human food. R. Jimmy went to the mall and picked up a cell phone and a CD player for his new car. He bought a DVD player and a bunch of DVDs to go with it. He bought some tools to fix up the house. He bought a lot of food for some reason; maybe he thought Claire would eat all those cheeseburgers and tacos. Television seemed to agree with him.
But R. Jimmy did not become incrementally happier. He did not become happier in any way as a matter of fact, but he did not question Television. Clearly, there was something else missing. R. Jimmy knew what that something else was. He could not bear the pain he caused his beloved Claire. He asked Television what to do about it, but Television had no answer.
(c) 2006, 2010 John A. Underwood