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A Robot's Guide To Happiness
David sat behind his desk, staring at his monitor.
It was black.
He knew just how his computer felt, or, didn’t feel. To be used with consistency and never thanked. Who said ‘thank you’ to a computer? No one, not even David. Sometimes he would talk to it, cynically, knowing the words would never reach the emotion center the little computer simply did not have. It would never grasp human words unless they were translated into ones and zeroes. And then of course, it would be unable to formulate a reply. Much like that of the desk it sat on.
He stood, walking over to the window and staring out at the park across the street.
Humanity, he thought. Unable to grasp how insignificantly important the truly are. So small, but always progressing. He crossed his arms, resting his forehead on the cold glass. It was cloudy outside, dull light casting no shadows. He registered the weather as it being nearly 60 degrees outside, and there was a 40% chance of rain.
It was better than any weatherman could ever do.
A knock at the door, and his eyes darted to the wooden object. Useless and useful, much like the desk that was much like the computer that was much like him.
He paced over, unlocked the latch and opened up the door approximately 1 foot and 3 inches.
A girl stood before him, holding a small box that was gift wrapped in teal paper with a grey bow. She looked perhaps 11 or 12, and she wore a small smile the same color as her scarf.
Mr. Collins nodded, taking the box from the girl.
“Thank you.” He turned to close the door, delivery in hand, when a foot came between the frame and the door’s future of shutting.
A small metal vs. wood boxing match could barely be heard, but it was there, and the first punch had been thrown.
By a little girl.
“Wait please,” her small voice reached his built in microphone much before anyone else’s, and he glanced down not at her, but at her shoe.
“What model are you?” He asked, his mainframe being unable to identify the answer. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have asked. He would have simply forced the door to close.
“Model 0127,” she stated blankly. A pause, then Round 1 of the match ended, the wood had given up. The gap opened a bit wider as David stared at the girl as she turned to leave.
“That’s not possible!” He shouted after her, but she was already halfway down the pathway as she tossed back the words:
David watched her walk across the street and disappear around a corner. He closed the door, locked it, and returned to his desk.
He pulled the ribbon away, examining the paper before lifting up the tape on the bottom and inspecting the white, toaster sized box that the paper contained. It had a small symbol on the top, a gear with wings drawn in silver, and the letters “D.C. 2985,” written in the same color on the side.
David lifted the top of the box off and picked up the microchip hidden beneath a layer of plastic.
The new update.
He lifted his left arm, putting his thumb on his wrist. His print was read almost immediately and a small, unnoticeable click was heard, followed by the latch opening. He pressed a tiny blue button and his previous chip popped out. He felt a feeling of what humans would call “nausea” sweep over him as he set it on his desk and picked the other chip up. He put it into the slot, and closed the compartment.
When he woke, David glanced outside. Then at his desk. He looked at his computer. He stared at the ribbon lying across the keys, recognizing it as a present of sorts.
He remembered the girls words-
It rang out in his head, and for the first time in his generic, robotic life, David Collins smiled. For the first time, he felt something.
What he felt, what you humans would call it, if I remember correctly, is happiness.