Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Yeah Write #30: Aren’t We All Machines? (#flashfiction)

rainboots
From the protection of the doorway, Nana waited.  “What are you doing, Jaime?  Come inside.”

The rain pelted then rebounded on the wood deck.   As the sun began to set, the solar lamps on the posts glowed.   The seven-year-old girl in a green rain hat, coat and boots rested her chin on the deck table.  She watched the three glasses marked with crude measuring lines.   “It’s an experiment.”

“I see.  Can’t you do that inside?”  Nana’s shoes just touched the lip of the single stair.

“I’m collecting the rain.”

“What for?”

Jaime blew hair from her lips and chomped her teeth to make the sound rattle in her head.  “I –” she sighed, “I can’t remember when I started collecting rain, but I think I wanted to know if all the cups fill at the same time or not.”

“What a curious way to say that.” Nana clucked her tongue.  “You don’t need to watch them.”

“Won’t you come outside, Nana?”

“You know I don’t do well in the rain.”

Jaime splashed her way back taking the long way around the deck to  where the water puddled deepest.  By the time she made it to the door, the sun slept and Nana was a dark silhouette against an orange halo.

“Why don’t you like the rain?”  Jaime asked while Nana meticulously dried and hung the plastic-smelling rain gear.  Jaime poked a tongue through the hole where a tooth had been and curled her toes in the fluffy towel on the floor.

“It’s not good for me and I don’t like getting wet, that’s all.”

Nana shooed her through the spotless kitchen to where dinner — kept warm under silver domes — waited.   Jaime tapped the dome with a spoon and made faces in the polished surface.

“The other kids are weird.”

“Such talk.  Why do you think they are weird?”

“They’re too happy and too nice to me.”

Nana chuckled.  “Is that all?”

“I pushed Sven in the dirt and he just laughed.  Shouldn’t he have been mad?”

Nana placed a staying hand on Jaime’s spoon-tapping. “I am sure he knew you didn’t mean it.”

“But I did! Why aren’t you mad at me?  That was wrong to do.”

“It’s been hard for you hasn’t it?  Coming here?  I think everyone understands that.  Come now, eat your dinner.”

Jaime slumped back in the chair then sank further until her bare, big toe could touch the center bolt under the table.   “People are machines aren’t they?”

“A lot of strange wondering in there today.”  Nana smoothed her black hair with two hands.  Jaime mocked the action by ruffling her own wild, brown corkscrews.  “What makes you think that?”

“Well — machines have parts that make them move, and people have cells that do different things to make them move.”  She lifted her arms up and flapped them down.  “They need energy to go.  They sleep to recharge.   And they think.”

“That’s true.  Some very particular Robbies can learn, but most are only programmed to do a certain task.”   A little floor Robbie rolled by sucking up floor debris as it passed.  “That one only cleans floors.”

“But it learns where it can’t go.  Isn’t that thinking?”

“I suppose…in a manner of speaking.   But only a person could decide to quit and fly to meet the pot lights in the ceiling instead.”  Nana took the untouched plates and tilted her chin towards the hall.  “If you aren’t hungry, why don’t you go to bed?  I’ll come find you in a while.”

Jaime oozed off the chair.  She attempted to annoy the floor Robbie by getting in its way.  It only turned and resumed its task.  Bored, she bunny-hopped to her room.

In the kitchen, Nana accessed an up-link.  Rain exploration on schedule.  H10 inquisitive but showing signs of distress.  Is it advised to —

Startled by Jamie’s screams, Nana left the relay unfinished and rushed towards the hall.   Blood dripped from a jagged, two-inch gash on Jaime’s left arm.  Nana applied pressure with the kitchen towel.  “What hap — ”

“I thought it was me!” she sobbed.  “I thought I was a Robbie.  I wanted to be sure.  I don’t want to be weird!”

“You aren’t weird, you are a little girl.   Your brain is just too big for your body.   Here now, let me fix you up.”   Nana soothed and wiped away Jaime’s tears.

 

 

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25 comments on “Yeah Write #30: Aren’t We All Machines? (#flashfiction)

  1. Laksh
    March 2, 2016

    Loved the twist. Lovely details. Overall, worked well for me. Great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I’m glad you stopped buy to read 🙂 It’s nice to see that the twist worked well because that’s how the story was born. That twist.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. d3athlily
    March 3, 2016

    As usual you have told such a vibrant and exciting story. Loved the dialogue between Jaime and Nana!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I guess being interrupted by my kids bizarre questions is good for something 😛

      Like

  3. theinnerzone
    March 3, 2016

    I love the dialog in this piece. ***

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      Much thanks 🙂 I didn’t intend it to be a dialogue focused story, but it seemed to come out that way!

      Like

  4. Liv
    March 3, 2016

    That was quite a twist at the end. I wasn’t expecting it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I tried to give a few “odd” clues. I’m glad that the end still was unpredictable.

      Like

  5. Cyn K
    March 3, 2016

    The idea that “rain exploration is on schedule” really creeped me out. It makes me very curious to what end Jaime is being observed/groomed/tested.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I actually wasn’t going to write anything this week, but I was in the shower and that line popped into my head. I had to write the whole thing just to use it. 🙂

      It is a strange world. I wondered…what would happen if robot tried to build a human?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Jennifer G. Knoblock
    March 3, 2016

    Little clues, big twists. 🙂 Nicely done. I think this is my favorite:
    “You know I don’t do well in the rain.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      Funny you picked that line. I think I rewrote it about half a dozen times until it had the right “sound”.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. innatejames
    March 3, 2016

    This could be a Twilight Zone episode! Jaime’s speech patterns are spot on, and I liked how you made the scope larger by having the grandma report to someone. Nice work! One small thing: there are quite a few typos. Reread your first sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I changed the extra “from” to “of”. Thanks; it sounds better now. I had about 15 minutes to edit when I was at work in like two minute increments. It was a drive by edit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      March 3, 2016

      I am a fan of the Twilight Zone 🙂 My favorite is the one with the guy who breaks his thick coke-bottle glasses and can’t read all the books he wants.

      Like

      • charlotte833
        March 3, 2016

        I love the Twilight Zone feel. I think about that show often.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laissez Faire
        March 4, 2016

        Outer limits was pretty good too

        Like

  8. Christine
    March 3, 2016

    Fabulous showing-vs-telling here. All the little details, the actions–it gave us a great sense of what the characters were feeling without you spelling it out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laissez Faire
      March 4, 2016

      Thank you! I am not sure everything I wanted came across, but with only 730 words it was a lot to pack in.

      Like

  9. blackcherriess
    March 3, 2016

    mind-intriguing! loving the twists so much! this is a great piece.
    have you watched ex machina? it has a scene where the protagonist questions whether he’s a machine or a human.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laissez Faire
      March 4, 2016

      I haven’t! I will have to check I t out. Glad you liked the story 🙂

      Like

  10. BunKaryudo
    April 25, 2016

    I like the twist. That wasn’t the way I was expecting it to end at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jusssittinheretrynawritedisbook
    September 28, 2016

    I LOVED this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      September 28, 2016

      Its one of my favorites. I am pleased you like it! Fyi the name Nana in the story means seven in Japanese. I was so pleased with myself in using it as a double meaning. Lol

      Like

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