Funny stories in under 500 words.

Unrequited Love

He is my Primary Object and I’m just a Class B Homemaker Unit Series 6, but still I love him with all the emotion my digital intelligence system can produce.

At night I listen to him sleeping while I hover in the utility closet, my parts purring and whirring and buzzing. My circuits glow with the heat of my passion. During the day, I perform my pre-programmed tasks, while all I really want to do is snuggle up to him on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate.

I know it’s impossible. How could he ever love me? I am the approximate shape and size of a stainless steel mini-fridge. I’ll never be able to wear the sexy lingerie and stylish shoes that other women do and I can’t get false eyelashes to stick to my optic monitors. Dancing is beyond my mechanical abilities and I’ve never been programmed to tell a joke or whisper endearments.

Oh, I’ve tried to make him notice me, to appreciate me - to love me - by cooking elaborate dinners, whipping up protein shakes and twitching my retractable suction hoses when scooting past him. But all I’ve ever received in return is an occasional pat on my visual identity hood and a squirt of WD 40 on my motorized mobility casters.

Yesterday, as I was backing up my PO’s hard drive to the cloud, I found something that nearly caused my coolant to erupt through an air vent. There they were: pictures of the new Homemaker model. She’s female-shaped and kitted out with synthetic skin and what looks like real hair. She bears as much resemblance to me as a can of tomatoes does to a three course meal at Chez Panisse. And she has a name: Amber. The worst part, though, is that she’s been fitted out with an Internal Breeding Unit in case the Primary Object ever decides to replicate. If my PO ever tried to mate with me, it would activate my security protection system and he’d find himself trussed like a veal calf.

I know it’s only a matter of time before the truck from Central Processing and Repair pulls up and I'd be tossed into the back like the recyclable garbage I am. But who knows? Perhaps some part of me - a circuit, a bolt, a battery, a sensor - will find its way into an Amber one day and I'll find myself back with my Primary Object, where I belong.

This story was written by Cindy Knoebel, who up until two years ago was slaving away in the communications department of a FORTUNE 500 company writing press releases and executive speeches. Now that she's retired, she's slaving away at writing short stories and has just completed a novel. She's run her own writers workshops, and she's attended juried workshops run by novelists Meg Wolitzer (Aspen Summer Words) and Jennifer Gilmore (92nd Street Y). Recently, her short story "Abundance" was published in Apeiron Review.


1 comment:

  1. Holy sweet Jesus this is well written!
    Possibly one of the very best pieces of 2016.
    The 'mug of hot chocolate' and 'coolant erupting through an air vent' references were both glorious ju ju zingers, two of a great many delivered by a for-all-to-see shoot from the lip, slick-as wordslinger at the very top of their game.