There were flashes. Fading in and out. Opening, closing. Sparks. Low voices. Whirring and buzzing and prodding. Then, there was silence.
I awoke on a park bench. Well, at least that’s what I believe it is. It appears that I am in a park? Trees, grass, people, small animals, other small plants. Conclusion: park. Uncomfortable seat: park bench.
S.O.N (Servant of Nature)- version 2.4
Referred to as: Sonny
Primary function: Protect the park from misuse and destruction.
Photo of best friend: Broccoli
The sun is bright and the clouds are fluffy.
There seems to be a large amount of litter in the north western part of the park. I must go to it.
There appears to be some graffiti on the stonewall. Logged and reported.
I hear the voice in the distance, the yelling for Broccoli to come back. I knew what it meant. I think I was waiting for her. I separate the cans into the recycling and I check my left compartment for what I knew was already there: a tennis ball.
Broccoli came barreling around the corner of the water fountain, running straight for me.I stand here waiting but I know she will not even try to stop when she reaches me. The world blurred around me as I was flung onto my back and Broccoli covered me in kisses. Someday I would very much like to know what that feels like. A slobbery dog tongue on my cheek.
The owner of Broccoli is approaching. Her name was not one I saved in my memory. She said she was happy to see me again, and that it had been awhile since I was at the park. Broccoli was quite upset. I’m trying to make a confused face. She is asking if I remember what happened. I simply continue to stare at her.
“There is this group of kids that come to the park late at night to hang out, and they usually leave some trash and sometimes damage behind. Well they definitely stopped littering and breaking things once you arrived. I guess they finally had enough of being scared of a tiny robot. You were found smashed up pretty good two months ago. We were starting to wonder if you were coming back. The park has certainly missed you, Sonny.”
I had no memory of any of this. I think I am feeling sad that the park has gone unprotected for two whole months. And Broccoli must have thought I was gone forever. I could never abandon Broccoli. She is a part of this park, she is a part of nature. I throw the ball across the grass for her to chase. She ran after it like she’d never get to run again. I threw the ball over and over again. As she was running I cycled through all the photos I had collected of Broccoli that I didn’t realize were in my memory.
There was the picture of Broccoli sniffing my feet as I sat upon the park bench. A series of photos of her rolling around in the grass. I think she was barking as well. A photo of Broccoli tearing her leash right out of her owner’s hand, and more photos as she got closer, and closer, and closer, and then a bunch of blurry pictures that end towards the sky.
Broccoli is now sitting next to me, panting, the ball at our feet. I am petting her. The white and black fur looked so soft and beautiful as it ran over and through my hands. Her eyes looked gentle and tired, yet so very happy.
Time to go, she says.
Broccoli is nudging my left compartment. When I look, she picks up the ball and nudges it again. I open it for her and take the ball from her mouth. I imagine it is warm and wet. She still looks so very happy.
See you tomorrow, she says.
Her tail is wagging as she leaves the park.
I continue to scroll through pictures of Broccoli from when she was just a puppy.
That first day she was waddling through the park, too little to handle the slight curbs in the sidewalk. Her high pitch bark was easily registered in my system. She was a fluffball. There were pictures of her eating grass, chasing squirrels, and pulling sticks that were much too large for her.
There are hundreds of pictures from the past year. Folder after folder saved. I realize I am at the beginning again. Oh my, how can a robot lose track of time? Broccoli had left the park hours ago. And there is still cleaning to do.
A man is scheduled to clean the graffiti tomorrow morning. I need to clean up the leaves in the southern end of the park. I also need to check the western section by the stream. There is a high risk for litter collection and clogging in that area.
It is dark. There is a sudden interference with my primary function. There is no one in my vicinity, yet there are noises of pain and sadness. It is coming from the dense eastern quadrant of the park. My primary function is being overridden by the emergency protocol. Everything in my sight is now being recorded. I don’t recall these features before.
I arrive at the scene of the crime. There are delinquents surrounding a young person. She is crying.
Two of the delinquents are pinning something to the ground. It is whining, whimpering. It is Broccoli. My systems are rapidly heating.
My left wrist unit is vibrating. I look. Red button. “Push in the event of an emergency.” Not sure why. Pushed. Changes occurring. Right wrist has become a power hose. Spraying delinquents. Spraying delinquents. Spraying delinquents.
On my side.
“Stop where you are.”
Fur. Tongue. Kisses. Smiles.