DJ Mansker lives in southeast Arizona. By day, DJ puts her twenty plus years of experience in the trenches of social work to use in the protective services. By night, she is a closet novelist and wait staff to her cat Trinidad. As a member of several local and national writers organizations she continues to hone her writing skills as she works to complete her first novel.
“Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto . . .” hmm hmm. “You’re wondering who I am . . . machine or mannequin . . .” hmm hmm hmm. “The problem’s plain to see; too much technology . . .” hmm hmm. I wish I could remember the rest of the words. It’s a great song by Dennis DeYoung and Styx. Oh well.
Man, the cobwebs are thick around here! I need a Weed Whacker to clear them out. I didn’t realize I’d been gone so long. Where’s my broom? I’ve got to get this old confession booth cleaned up and open for business.
Hey, what’s this, a laptop? Whoa, it’s covered with cobwebs. Looks like it’s been here awhile. I wonder who it belongs to. It’s odd they haven’t come back for it. I’ll just dust it off, clean it up a bit. It sure looks like a nice one. There’s no case with it. Maybe they thought it was in the case when they left. This new stuff is so light it’s probably easy to miss. It’s not every day someone misplaces their computer. I’ll give it another hour or so, and if no one claims it, I’ll just have to investigate, find out who it belongs to.
In the meantime the least I could do is put it up on the shelf. No sense mistreating a fine piece of technological equipment like this. There, that’s much better, up off the floor and out of harm’s way.
Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm, “Domo arigato, Mister Robato . . . the problem’s plain to see; too much technology . . .” hmm hmm hmm. Rats! I wish I knew the rest of the song. “. . .machine or mannequin . . . machines to save our lives; machines de-humanize . . .” hmm hmm hmm.
Yes sir, that’s a nice-looking piece of machinery. Such a shame it’s just lying there doing nothing, an underachieving pity. Maybe I should look it over, see if there’s any label or info on the owner. No, no, wait. That would be a terrible violation of privacy. I’ll give it an hour.
But just look at that thing. It’s a beauty. A pearlized green finish, wireless, state of the art. I’ll bet it even has a voice recognition program. It’s everything I’ve dreamed of. Amazing that anyone could be so careless.
Oh well, back to cleaning up around here. I’d like the place presentable when the owner returns. Hmm hmm hmm. It’s starting to look a little better around here.
And so it just sits there, staring down at me, an arrogant, taunting computer. That pearl green finish looks like cat eyes glowing, trying to entice me to chase. I think it wants me to check it out. There! Look! It’s blinking its red
light. It’s winking at me. If that’s not an invite, I don’t know what is.
Yeah, no doubt, someone planted this here. Someone is trying to tempt and test me—a hard-working confession booth. They know I’ve always wanted a computer with a voice recognition program so I can write my novels. But why would they do it so deviously? Yes, by gum, this is a real test of my self-control, my resolve to do the right thing. But it won’t best me.
It’s beyond me how a competent adult, the sort who would have the means and wherewithal to acquire such a fine piece of equipment, could be so careless. They must have had to leave in a hurry. It’s the only explanation. I’ll bet this lean green writing machine belongs to a Nobel Prize–winning journalist, or at least a Pulitzer winner.
Oh, no. There goes that red wink again. If it had eyelashes I’d call it Marilyn. Maybe I should just open it and see if it needs tending to. Nope. Nope. This is a setup. I won’t do it. Much as I’d like to try out the voice recognition that I’m sure is programmed into this little beauty, I won’t do it.
I’ve had dreams like this. That pearl green all but slithers toward me while its red eye blinks and winks. That serpent probably has a Faulkner-like novel or Flannery O’Connor short story in its stomach. A quick peek could resolve this whole thing. I could contact the owner, the lucky and talented owner. There’s probably a reward. I might be saving the manuscript of the next Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. The reward is bound to be enough for me to buy myself one of these with all the programs I could possibly need and want. Yeah, that’s it, just a quick peek to find the owner and give them a call. It’s probably someone famous like Tom Clancy or Stephen King. They might have stopped by the confession booth for a little advice, a bit of the muse. Or maybe just to avoid the paparazzi. No wonder they left it behind. They were on the run, hiding. Yeah. That’s it. I’d be doing them a huge favor.
I should just lift this latch and . . .
Hey, kid! What are you doing there? Who are you?
My name is Suzie and I’m eight years old. I’m looking for my computer. It’s green. Have you seen it? It has all my homework in it.
Eight years old? Homework? Oh, for crying out loud. Just shoot me. Shoot me now.