‘Finally,’ roared the scientist, pulling levers on the big machine in his basement. ‘It lives!’
The robot sat up and scanned its big blue eyes around the room. ‘The first android to ever feel emotion,’ giggled the scientist to his labrador, Gary. ‘It doesn’t run on algorithms, but actual feelings. One that looks exactly like a real, human woman. And this robot has been designed to love me. Genuine love!’
The robot was blonde of hair, large of chest and had been dressed in the sort of clothes that mums say nice girls don’t wear.
‘Beautiful!’ hollered the scientist. ‘Sensational! Tell me you love me!’
Gary looked on indifferently.
‘I love you,’ said the robot, and thought she meant it.
A few days later, the scientist bestowed upon the robot – which he had named Jennifer, after his grandmother – yet another bouquet of roses. ‘You are perfect,’ he said. Jennifer giggled as coquettishly as a robot can.
Gary scratched his ear. He was already weary of this pantomime.
‘I love you,’ said Jennifer, and still thought she meant it.
A month disappeared and so, for the scientist, did the novelty of his creation. ‘Get me another beer when you’ve finished mopping,’ he said from his sofa, waving his empty glass in Jennifer’s direction, his eyes fixed on Game of Thrones as she sparkled up the kitchen floor.
Gary looked away. He was scared of dragons.
Jennifer thought that she’d quite enjoy Game of Thrones, but didn’t like to say so.
‘I love you,’ she said, and was fairly sure she meant it.
‘Stupid robot,’ said the scientist.
Jennifer had very slightly singed the chicken pie she’d prepared for dinner. Not that this seemed to be stopping the scientist stuffing his face.
‘Here I am working away all day on projects to benefit mankind, and you can’t even cook a pie properly. You’re useless.’
Gary scoffed a bit of meat that had fallen on the floor. He thought the pie was pretty good.
A tear dribbled down Jennifer’s face.
‘I love you,’ she said, but didn’t think she meant it.
The scientist and his new girlfriend sprawled upon the sofa, giggling. They’d met on Tinder.
‘I got her to take my profile picture,’ laughed the scientist, pointing at Jennifer.
‘Jesus, that thing gives me the creeps,’ said the woman. ‘How can you put up with her, clanking around the place like Robocop? She’s freaky.’
‘And she can’t even bake a pie,’ said the scientist. ‘She’s a failed experiment. She loves me, though. Don’t you, Metal Martha?’
Gary growled under his breath.
‘I love you,’ said Jennifer, but only because of her programming. She definitely didn’t mean it.
A week later, the police found the body of the scientist. Someone had held him face down in his pie and mash until he suffocated. A constable noted some charring around the crust of the pie.
Over a hundred miles away, a hotel owner ushered a blonde woman and her labrador into a room.
‘We’re a dog-friendly establishment,’ said the hotelier. ‘Just make sure he doesn’t widdle on the carpet. Breakfast’s seven till nine. I think that’s about it.’
The woman tipped him five pounds from what he considered a surprisingly masculine wallet. He shrugged and left them to it.
Gary licked Jennifer’s leg and she giggled. They’d become great friends since they’d had to rush from the scientist’s house that day.
‘I love you,’ said Jennifer, and meant it.
David Cook’s stories have been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Spelk, Boinkzine, The Fiction Pool, the National Flash Fiction Anthology and more, and he has previously been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work on his blog and say hello on Twitter.
Like Gary, he’s also scared of dragons.