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   Chapter 10 No.10

The Inscrutable Mr. Robot By CSeanMcGee Characters: 12876

Updated: 2018-02-26 12:01


The Man was inconsolable. He wept like an open tap. It was amazing how someone so strong could make himself look so small and insignificant. There was barely a speck of the man left that had, only moments ago, sounded as if the hero he proclaimed to have had once been was still somewhere inside of him; capable of greatness. Now, though, he was crouched under a table, rocking back and forth with his head tucked into his knees.

"I don't want to die alone, " he said, over and over.

"What a strange thing to say, " thought Mr. Robot. "All things die alone, " he said, consoling The Man, "even en masse."

They hadn't intended on getting drunk. It was just one of those things that happened.

"I don't care. I want everything back how it was."

It was maybe after the third or seventh drink when the conversation finally turned to family. The Man and Mr. Robot were identical. Both had found themselves unprepared and alone.

"I don't know what to do. I don't know who the hell I am without her. I just want everything back to normal."

His crying had stopped but he was in no way recovered. His expression looked thirty years younger. He looked like a small abandoned child still waiting in the freezing cold for a car that would never come. He looked harmless and in need of coddling; so Mr. Robot did just that. He picked up The Man from the ground and held him as a father might hold his worried child, or how a farmer might - a heavy sack of potatoes.

"I too enjoy suspension, " said Mr. Robot.

The Man rested his head on the robot's iron shoulders. "Please don't stop, " he said.

Mr. Robot rocked from side to side on his worn hinges. It sounded like a box full of plates being thrown down a flight of stairs.

"Would you like me to play you a song?" asked Mr. Robot. "I have access to a large library of music."

"No, " replied The Man. "That would be weird. Just keep holding me."

In the robot's arms, he felt released from all his worry. With his eyes shut as they were, he might as well have been drifting through space, floating in the Dead Sea, or bound and wonderfully restrained; submerged in his mother's womb. He felt like an unripened fruit, hanging from a branch and lightly swinging in the breeze. He was no longer heavied by the weight of his flesh and bones, or buggered by the aches and pains in his back and his rickety knees. He felt lighter than he had ever felt before – lighter than air; lighter than even a single thought. He could stay like this forever.

"How long were you married?"

"A while."

His answer was quiet and aloof as if to say, "Shut up you dumb bastard. Don't spoil this moment."

"Is that long?"

The Man half sighed. "Sometimes time seems insignificant, " he said. "If you do something for long enough, it can feel like forever. The starting line kind of disappears and the person you were before becomes this transparent blur."

"And are you sad now that it has ended?"

"Yeah."

He sounded miserable.

"I just want everything back to normal."

"Were you happy together?"

"No, " said The Man, "not for one minute. Our marriage was unbearable. But at least I knew who I was."

The two stayed silent for some time; Mr. Robot staring strangely at his own reflection while The Man rested his head on the robot's shoulder.

"I was happy, " said Mr. Robot, thinking of his old bedroom.

He sounded anything but, and his expression was one of woe and heartbreak. Mr. Robot couldn't frown. He didn't have the mechanics. He was a simple robot after all, but what he did have was a small panel on his chest that lit up small coloured bars. The more coloured bars, the more severe the robot's experience. Each bar that lit up was as blue as the deepest ocean, just as it was, as black as the void of space; and there were three of them.

"Can a robot even be happ

ised her. I fed her. I got her dressed every morning. I made her lunches. I made your fucking lunches. It was me that brushed her teeth. I was the one who told her stories every night. And now I get told I can't have shared custody, just because I'm not the mother. You realise how fucking insane that is? And you just go along with the judge's orders. Fuck you, you inconsiderate cunt. You take my daughter and I'll kill your new boyfriend, and then I'll kill myself. Our girl will grow up without a father and she'll hate you; and you'll be fat and alone the rest of your miserable life – just like your mother."

He had said enough to not care about what he said anymore.

"I take back all the kind shit I said. If that motherfucker lays one hand on my girl - if he so much as raises his voice - I will degrade and destroy that spineless piece of shit. You're both liars and cheats. Is that the example you want for our daughter? You know he's gonna do the same to you, right? You dumb cunt."

He was shaking now; adrenaline was the ghost in his veins.

"Fuck you, you whore, " he screamed, and all the patrons turned.

Half of them looked as if they'd had this conversation before.

"You ruined my life, " he said. "I'm a forty-year-old divorced father. Who the fuck is gonna want me? I'm gonna die alone, and it's your fault. You destroyed everything. I fucking hate you. I despise you. I hope you get herpes."

And just like that, he went from ire to apologetic.

"No, I don't. Wait. I'm sorry. That was mean. I didn't mean any of that. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it, I promise. I'm sorry. Just forget I said anything. Listen, how are you? How you doing? Jesus, this is all intense, isn't it?"

He sounded light and relieved again; it was dizzying to witness.

"Listen, I wanted to ask a favour. I need you see if you can find my Justice Man suit. I think it was in one of the boxes on top of the wardrobe; next to the DVDs and the computer stuff. I'll umm, I'll drop around later. Hey, guess what? I made a friend….."

Mr. Robot assumed it was him, and he also hoped it too. "Are we friends?" he asked.

The Man didn't respond.

"So uh, I'll see you later then? And, uh, I hope you're doing ok. Bye."

As soon as he hung up the call, The Man collapsed on the ground once more. He looked like any old drunk or junky so nobody paid much bother; except of course for the nefarious looking table in the corner.

"Alright, " spoke a woman's voice, rousing with suspicion. "Now's our chance. On the count of three."

One…

Two…

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