Note: This is a preview of a longer story. It is 5200 words in length and is a little sad, pretty racy and has a happy ending. You can get the whole thing for $1 here.
The message came while Leah was in a production meeting. She glanced at her watch and saw the truncated text message routed from her phone.
“Delivered today: ServiceBot R2900.GirlfriendMateria…”
She coughed and covered her watch face with her hand. Peter from accounting looked at her strangely and she rubbed her throat and mouthed “allergies.”
The rest of the day was anxious fretting around the office. She had another meeting at 4pm, but after that she could weasel out early.
“I have to run and pick something up at the pharmacy,” she said with a nervous smile.
No one cared. She often forgot how diligent she was and how everyone in the office left early all the time, especially on Fridays. It was one of the many ways she just didn’t understand her coworkers.
It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered besides getting home fast. She used the taxi app to get a car, something she never did, and was thankful for the technology that let her slip in a black sedan that knew exactly how to get her home without her having to speak to anyone.
Similarly, when she got home the doorman in her building nodded and said simply “your package is in front of your door, Ms. Douglas.”
And so it was. A minimalist black plastic crate almost exactly the size of a person with small wheels on the bottom. Good thing she didn’t care what the neighbors thought of her, though she knew most of them had maids or other electronic staff.
The crate smoothly rolled into her apartment just barely fitting the height of the door frame. It was all so easy, just like the order form online. No complicated questions or interactions. Just checkboxes and multiple choice questions and lists of options. It even came the exact day it was supposed to. It was so unlike life and dealing with people.
She sat on her couch, the box towering over her. She looked at the email on her phone, the instructions were very simple, mostly symbols. On the side of the box there was a fingerprint reader. She stood up and pressed her thumb against it. A low red light appeared on the box, a little pattern of red dots.
“Would you like to open your purchase?” A very soft voice asked.
“Would you like to activate your R2900 now?”
“While I initiate the boot sequence please let me know what you would like the initial personality response to be. For example, you might want your R2900 to be excited, happy, nervous, frightened-”
She cut the soft voice off.
“I want her to be nice to me. Kind and quiet,” she said in a voice as low as the whisper like computer she spoke to.
The lights flashed. There was no response. The lights faded for a moment and then blinked again.
“Okay, I think I can do that. Please stand back,” the box said.
There were a few small sounds, like little locks clicking. The box split down the middle of the front and slowly opened.
Inside, there was a woman. She resembled the mockup in the app she had used to order her, but not exactly. Her hair was dirty blonde, as ordered, there were freckles, she was neither thin nor fat, but a pleasing middle weight, a comfortable look, like people she passed in the street. Her eyes opened slowly, blinking against the light of the room. They were somewhere between blue and green.
She had a small nose, somewhat fine features, there was something fragile about her, birdlike. Leah swallowed and licked her lips.
“Hello,” the android said.
She wasn’t human. There were many subtle but obvious ways to see that. There was a flatness to her voice, though it was pretty. There was an unnatural way she looked around, like her motions were too smooth, too designed, if that made any sense. It was hard to pinpoint many of the other reasons way, but she wasn’t real.
Well, she was real, she was right there, but she wasn’t human. Leah knew that. That was the point.
The android wore a soft light blue summer dress. Her knees has a reddishness to them. She wore darker blue boat shoes.
“Hello,” Leah said back, reflexively.
“I’m Angela. It’s very nice to finally meet you,” she said with a smile.paypal.me/writingdirty