HumpDay Quickie #30

Posted: August 6, 2014 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

I Serve

by Jacki Donnellan

The company line had always been that faces were unnecessary. Why would they need them? They didn’t eat or speak, so mouths were out. And they perceived their environment through inputs other than “sight,” so why give them eyes?

The Marketing department had had doubts. Would people want humanoids with blank, featureless faces, they said, wandering round their homes with a duster and dishing up the dinner? What was the point in giving the iServe a human shape at all, if not a face?

Eventually, though, it was Finance that won the day. Giving the iServe a faceless, curvily human form would be just enough to infer commandable servitude, they said, without diminishing the company’s margins.

And so, faceless it was.

Nobody ever asked what I thought, of course, the geeky girl in Engineering, who gave every iServe a name and a secret tweak on the cheek before it left the factory.

But I’d always had my own view.

And I was lucky enough to be the engineer who was sent out to investigate, when the inevitable finally happened. Dispatched in the middle of the night to the home of an irate customer, along with Barry from PR.

“How long has she been in there?” I asked the customer, as we stood outside his bathroom.

It’s been in there nearly twelve hours, now,” he said, pointedly. “Went in to scrub the toilet like I told it to, and then suddenly locked the door, and hasn’t come out since, the useless pile of…scrap!”

He began angrily jabbing the buttons on his remote, then gave up and hammered on the bathroom door. “Get out o’there, I’m telling you! I’ve had to waz on my begonias because of you!”

From behind the door, there came a dry, rasping chuckle.

“What was that?” whispered Barry from PR. At that moment the bathroom door opened, and the iServe stepped out.

The customer swore.

Barry screamed.

The customer turned to me. “What the-how the hell did that happen?” he demanded. “And why-I mean, how can it be a servant with a great big grin? On its face?”

“I don’t know!” I said.

I started to giggle.

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