MoboReader> Sci-fi > The Inscrutable Mr. Robot

   Chapter 12 No.12

The Inscrutable Mr. Robot By CSeanMcGee Characters: 17397

Updated: 2018-02-26 12:01


"You're him, aren't you?"

The Man didn't respond. It might have been the bag over his head or the pain from the ties that bound his hands; more than likely, though, it was because he was busy thinking about more pressing things. Regardless, he didn't flinch and he didn't twitch; he didn't utter a single goddamned word.

"Guys, it's him. You do realize who this is right?"

His captor was young and impressionable. Like the others in the van, he was wearing a costume or a disguise of some sort. It was nothing fancy, though; it looked like it had been put together at the last minute - a mix of spandex, duct tape, and durable garbage bags.

"Speak when you're spoken to, Ed, " said The Leader looking back.

Her eyes were covered but the rest of her face was not. She wore brightly coloured lipstick, an indecent amount of blush, and anywhere that was visible above and around her eyes was smeared with shadow and mascara. Her hair was tied in a high ponytail and she wore short slutty athletic attire.

"It's not really my name. She calls me that sometimes. Ed. A lot really, but that's ok. It's only when my unconscious, oppressive, misogynistic tendencies rise to the surface. My hero name is The White Knight; my real name, though, is Phillip. You're the reason I wanted to be a hero, you know?"

He could have spoken in a dozen tongues and not a single word would have made sense. Beneath his hood, The Man was lost in delusion, dreaming about the love he once had. He couldn't hear the young lad speaking or even the other heroes conspiring; he couldn't even hear the nursery rhyme lightly playing through one of Mr. Robot's speakers. He was trapped in his own horrible fantasy, thinking about long embraces and midnight conversations; and all the other sweet things he would never experience again.

And all he could think was, "I don't want to die alone."

"So what's it like? It must be awesome. I'm nothing like you, but I wanna be one day. I mean when I was a kid, you were everything. Me and my friends – everyone - we all wanted to be you. And now here I am sitting beside you. I can't believe it. Nobody would believe me. I wouldn't believe me. What was that thing you used to say? A punch in the head…"

"The face, " said The Man.

"Holy shit, that's it. A punch in the face makes the world great. You are him! I knew it. I knew it. Hey guys, it is him. It's him; just like I said. It's…"

"Shut up, Ed?" screamed The Leader.

"I told you, don't call me that. My name is…"

"Don't you talk back."

"I'm sorry, " said The White Knight.

Had he a tail it would have been pinned to his belly at this point. They could be cruel; quite often actually. There was very little to say. He was at the bottom of every hierarchy there was; he didn't have a voice or an opinion – at least one that was taken into account anyway. This didn't deter him, though. On any ordinary day, he would have sulked for an hour or two before even daring to say another word, but this was no ordinary day.

"You're not gonna take that are you?" said The Man.

His voice was muffled, sure, but you could hear every syllable of derision.

"Don't answer him, Ed."

The White Knight lowered his head.

"That's a bit rough, miss. So what's your issue then?" asked The Man.

"You, " said The Leader decisively.

'Me specifically, or…?"

It was hard to tell if he was mocking.

"You, Ed, dad, " said The Leader before exalting; "All men!"

The angrier she got, the more it sounded like she was about to cry.

"Did something actually happen or are you just carrying on like everyone else? I don't want to be a dick about this, it's just these days, it's hard to tell if someone is genuinely upset or if they read something upsetting. You know what I mean?"

"Fuck you."

"Don't get me wrong; if something did happen…"

"You'd what? Save the day? Feminism is an affirmation. It is a state of being; a fish, monkey, human, and then feminist. I am evolved, " shouted The Leader as if her words were the chorus of a song. "I am a woman superhero. Pretty soon women will be leading in government, politics, business; in everything; Women can do anything men can do; except better, because now we're finally getting our chance."

"I mean no disrespect here, miss, but why is it that feminists only want the nice cushy jobs? Why aren't any of you fighting to dig trenches and re-tile rooves in the summer; or pick up trash in the pouring rain? There are plenty of fellas in those jobs who, like you, also don't have a shot in hell at being a CEO, a president, a well-paid athlete either, or anyone significant for that matter. You'll probably have a lot in common, and you might even see that it's not only sex that holds people back in this world. Most of the time it just boils down to shitty DNA."

"Asshole."

"All I'm saying is, you want equality as long as it pays well and you don't get a callous on your hands. Your plight seems a little insincere is what I'm getting at, and your reaction is just a tad exaggerated."

"What would you know about being a woman?"

"As much as you'd know about being a man. We're just two blind fools arguing over the hue of a colour

"

The Leader was nervous. Inside she shook tremendously, but outside, she was frozen with fear. To the others, she looked cool and complacent but to herself…

She had never spoken to The Assistant before. They had met once or twice at university rallies, but they had never been formally introduced. She wanted more than anything to make an impeccable impression. All she really wanted was to belong.

"Ok, it's calling."

She had never been this nervous before. She had never felt so sick with fear. With every ring, she felt more and more unprepared. Her stomach felt like this great swirling black hole that was pulling her every organ apart, atom by atom. She wanted to vomit or to smash the phone into a thousand pieces. Better yet, she wanted the sun to explode and for all human life to be extinct in the very next second, so as not to have to make this call.

And then The Assistant picked up.

"I, uh, um, I uh."

Her expression was just as fraught and dumbfounded as her jumbling words.

"I'm really sorry, mam, I didn't mean to interrupt."

The other women watched on, the word 'Legitimacy' on the tips of their tongues.

"Yes, mam, I understand."

"I'm sorry."

"Yes, mam, I understand."

"No, I don't think you are an idiot."

"No, mam, I don't know why I did."

"Yes, mam, you're right."

"I promise I'll never…"

"No, don't hang up…. It's the robot."

For a moment, The Leader was without a pained look on her face.

"We have it, mam. We have the robot."

"Yes, mam, the robot; The Singularity. It's our prisoner."

"Yes, mam, we do. I'm certain. It is in the back of our van."

"Other team? I'm not sure about…Well, I didn't see…"

"No mam, we are not an official…"

"No, we are not legitimate."

The other women's eyes lit up.

"We're called Team…."

"I'm sorry, you're right, mam. That's not important."

The other women were desperate now.

"Legitimacy, " said one.

"Yeah, what about it?" said the other.

The Leader replied with a 'fuck you' kind of stare.

"Yes, mam, thank you, mam. We can bring it to you now if you…"

Her face now was weak and apologetic.

"Oh, ok."

She sounded sad and deflated.

"What did she say?" asked one of the heroes.

The Leader immediately cupped the phone.

"What's going on? What did she say? Are we being legitimised? What's happening?"

"Shut the hell up, " shouted The Leader before putting the phone back to her ear. "Sorry, mam. We're on Br-101."

"Yes, mam, heading East."

"There's a motel not far from here I suppose. I thought we would bring the robot to the university and…"

"Yes, mam, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have thought."

"Yes, mam."

"Yes, mam."

"Kilometre 24."

"Yes, mam."

"Motel Riviera? Ok, we will."

"My team? We're four."

"Yes, mam, we'll wait for you there."

The Leader hung up the phone and stared quiet and listless out the windshield. Her colour slowly returned to her face which now looked peaceful and flaccid. She looked like she had just woken from a coma or some violent epileptic fit. She looked as calm as she did confused.

"What now?"

The Leader took a minute or so to compose herself before starting the engine and pulling back onto the highway. It was quiet. Not a word was spoken; just the sound of the little engine struggling to maintain its speed. And when they pulled into the motel, finally, The Leader took a breath.

"We wait, " she said. "They're coming for us."

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