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   Chapter 15 No.15

The Inscrutable Mr. Robot By CSeanMcGee Characters: 22074

Updated: 2018-02-26 12:01


"Get the station on the phone."

"No please? No can you? No would you?"

The Reporter didn't lower herself to respond.

"You know I am driving here, " said The Cameraman. "You'd be doing yourself the favour."

"Can't you see I'm busy?"

And like that, she had applied just a smidgen too much blush.

"Now look what you've done, you idiot."

It was clear the stress was overwhelming.

"Ok, I got Jeff on the line. What do I say?"

"Put it on speaker."

The Reporter struggled to find symmetry in the colour on her cheeks.

"Jeff?" she said.

"Yeah, what is it?"

Jeff was an assistant producer. They went way back, or so she thought.

"It's me."

"Who?"

"Me. It's me."

"Look, I don't have time for this, You got ten seconds. What have you got?"

"A plot to kill hundreds, maybe more. The Engineer and his robot are at the heart of everything. It's all real. It's all happening right now."

"Footage…"

Jeff had little time for verbs or prepositions.

"I have proof of the conspiracy; photos of targets."

"Interviews?"

"Well, no, not yet but…"

"Never come to me without the full story?"

"What we have will blow your mind. Trust me."

"Explosions and gunfire; and concerned neighbours who never suspected a thing. Interviews goddamnit, interviews!"

"The Doctor is one of the targets."

"You on the scanner?"

The Reporter made a sour face at her colleague.

"It was left behind. But we're on our way to The University."

"University is off-limits. No cameras, no reporters.

"In all due respect, the author of this is…"

"Motel Riviera. That's where your robot is. There's your story."

"But…"

"Explosions, gunfire, interviews."

16.

It's safe to say there was a great deal more biting than he had imagined, let alone all the eye-poking and cigarette burns; but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm. And in the end, when The Driver and The Man finally left the bathroom, there was so much blood it was hard to tell whose was whose.

"Well, well, well, " said The German, waving his gun irresponsibly as he spoke, "if it isn't the great Justice Man."

The Man had barely even buttoned his pants and already he was in the thick of it.

"Good, you know who I am. Then you know what I'm capable of."

His neck and face were covered in scratches and he may or may not have lost a tooth.

"Yeah, Mofo, I know you. Or I knew you would be more appropriate. How do ya like that, punk ass bitch? You are being the past."

And he must have had a song in his head because…

"This is not some revolution, this is evolution, motherfucker. This is the endless night –wrong or right, this is tight, the good fight, black on white. This is history in the making. It's our history that we're taking – back; proud to be black, can't erase that, that and the fact that you talk back, I'm primed to attack, so you better know, motherfucker, there's this and there's that."

Gone was his polite, albeit racist, vernacular. And he wasn't done yet.

"This is our time, the end of times; this is the book of revelations; critical devastation; yo, some hard ass niggaz come to fuck you up."

And then it was quiet again. No one said a thing. Half the room was pointing guns while the other half was sitting dumbfounded on the bed. Sure, they were terrified, but for the most part, they were confused; it was hard to tell if they were supposed to be begging for their lives, or they should be begging to hear more.

"You are Caucasian, " said Mr. Robot, breaking the awkwardness.

The German was breathing heavy, almost wheezing; still, he had a very large gun in his hands. "Yo, fuck you, you hunk of tin, you heavenly sin, you know God ain't got no place for you on Heaven or Earth, or any place within. So fuck you."

The air was getting tense and dangerous.

"What the hell's going on?" whispered The Leader.

"If this was on the internet I'd write something, I swear I would, " said The White Knight.

He looked at The Empath as if to console her. His eyes said. "If I hold you, will you hold me back?"

And so Mr. Robot continued.

"You implied in your rhythmical anecdote that you were not Caucasian."

"So what, mofo? You gotta point?"

"But you are Caucasian."

"Yo, fuck you. That's the pot calling the kettle black. You're white goods motherfucker. You and your dishwasher, tumble dryer cousin. You so white you see white in everything, except you can't see the colour within, beneath the skin, deep within. Motherfucker I'm a person, a real live being, a being that's been seeing, how Africa's been treated, defeated, turnin' one brother against another, bringing civil war to good folk's front door, where a nigga can't get no bigger than the hate and prejudice of which you have in store. So fuck you, you out o' date machine, you nasty lookin', low-tech home for tomatoes and ice-cream. I ain't proud of my history, of my white past, but I'm makin' amends; I ain't kickin' it like all you crackers in a house made o' glass. I'm doin what's right, the good fight, like a perfectly legible sign, black on white."

The Driver wiped her mouth. It was clear the blood on her teeth was not hers.

"You realize how many blacks get held back that wanna study? But that's a white privilege, yo, they can't get that."

"No, " said Mr. Robot, but genuinely intrigued. "Is it an overwhelming percentage?"

"Yo, it's a lot motherfucker."

Mr. Robot turned to two of The Zebra's guarding the door.

"Are you a part of this percentage?" he asked.

"Actually no, " said The Man with the Machete. "I graduated with honours. Actually, I'm in a scholarship program. And this, this group, it works towards credits for my social obligation portion of the program."

"You joined a knife-wielding gang for university credits?"

"Actually we started out as a chess club, and on weekends we used to draw Venn Diagrams. But then Emmanuelle joined…"

He stared at The German the same way a drunk would, an empty bottle of whiskey.

"…and then the group kind of went in another direction. I mean, the guns aren't even real. They're replicas, " he said, tapping the plastic end of his weapon against the doorframe. "I should be working on my dissertation right now, but if I don't do the four and a half hours per week of group activities, I lose eighteen percent of my scholarship. We're all pretty much in the same boat, " he said, gesturing to the other Zebras.

The German was not impressed.

"Yo fuck that, fuck you, stop asking questions, white overlord, stop making my niggaz confused."

"Can I just….?"

Th

bot's head as he aligned The Empath's wounded body.

"Hurry the hell up, " said The Driver.

Mr. Robot hated pressure. He could never perform when someone was expecting it. He was nervous; his hands were shaking, and his vision was a drunken blur.

"What are you gonna do?" said The Man.

Mr. Robot hovered over The Empath's body like a crane. His claw-like hand moved up and down the centre over her body. It looked as if he were lining himself up to rip a teddy bear from her stomach.

"Don't touch the sides. Don't touch the sides, " said Mr. Robot.

Though he had spent his life playing Operation, he was never much good at it. This, Mr. Robot felt, was his test. It was what he was born to do. And so he didn't stop. He ignored the shouting and he paid no mind to all the jumping about and carrying on. His focus was clear and sharp; it could slice an atom in half. He had never felt so calm and so sure of anything in his life.

"Don't touch the sides, " he said again.

And like an anchor, smashing through a wooden pier, Mr. Robot lowered his hand into The Empath's chest.

"Oh God no, " screamed The Leader.

"For the love of God just stop, " said someone else.

In his head, Mr. Robot heard that horrible buzzing.

"Don't touch the sides, " he said, again and again, and again.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Mr. Robot knew exactly what he was doing; he'd see this a thousand times before. All he had to do was take out each of her organs and then put them back in one by one; and all without touching the sides.

"Where did you learn to do this?" said The Man.

He sounded manic; on the verge of cardiac arrest.

"It's ok, my friend, " said Mr. Robot, staring straight into The Empath's open chest. "I know Operation."

"The procedure?" said The Man confused. "You know how to operate?"

"No. The board game, " said Mr. Robot. "And I am very good too."

He sounded like a professional.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" shouted The Man. "Stop it. Stop right now."

But the robot wouldn't stop. He was intent on finishing his turn. And so his hand pushed further into The Empath's body, feeling for the small, silver bullet.

"Don't touch the sides, " he said again.

The Man slapped his robot head.

"It's not a goddamn game, " he screamed. "Stop it. Stop it now."

There was no stopping the robot. Finally, The Man said it; "Bad robot!"

He may as well have pressed the robot's red button. Those two words were like a mantra for shame and self-defeat. Instantly, Mr. Robot stopped what he was doing. The room was quiet again. In the distance, police sirens sounded out like a symphony of impending doom.

"We gotta go, " said The Driver, finally spent of her patience. "Now!"

"I can't move, " said The White Knight. "This isn't real, this isn't real."

He repeated it over and over, and one of the times, he actually believed it. The Driver dragged him, along with everyone else, towards the van.

The Driver was the only one who looked back as they reversed; she wished she didn't.

"There is no limit to your potential, " thought Mr. Robot, hearing his father's voice, but coming out of The Empath's tattered and broken body.

He felt as if we were drowning; except the water was despair, grief, and remorse.

"What do we do?" asked The Leader. "I don't wanna go to jail."

"You're not going to jail, " said The Driver.

It was as if she were born for this moment. Her blood felt electric. She felt indomitable and inexplicably drawn to the improbable and the impossible. She felt God-like; as if the lives of all these people – of the whole world – depended on what she did next.

It was a shame that someone had to die for her to feel this good.

"What the hell was that about?" said The Man.

He sounded disappointed as if he'd expected better.

"I'm not sure, " said Mr. Robot.

There was no logical reason for him to have done what he did.

"No more trying to save people, ok?"

It definitely sounded like Mr. Robot was getting at least one last shot.

Having friends was fantastic.

"And what about you Mr. Justice Man?" said The Leader., sharpening her opinions. "Some kind of superhero you are. You just stood there the whole time. You did nothing. I thought all you needed was a blowjob and a punch in the face."

Her words were cold, direct, and honest.

"So did I, " said The Man. "So did I."

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