I found her on a dumping ground on the northwest end of the city, a place you need a real good reason for to visit. She’s quite tall for what’s supposed to be a female. Her hair looked somehow vintage, I can’t explain why. Her clothing too – a sleeveless turquoise dress and tights with some gaudy floral pattern on them. Her whole appearance reminded me of some Hollywood icon of the mid-twentieth century. She’s an ORO7. Those robot-loving weirdos usually give them a nickname but I’m sticking with ORO7. I’m gonna treat her as what she is, an aggregation of electronic parts. The scruffy keeper of the dumping ground observed me closely as I pulled her soiled body out of the waste. A six-pack ring was entangled in her untidy hair, you know this stuff that causes ocean turtles to suffocate. She was switched on, I noticed with mild surprise. Her eyes blinked twice.
“They’re illegal”, the guard had crept up on me, while I had vainly tried to make her stand on her feet. “Don’t worry”, I faked a smile. “I’m just gonna salvage her for parts.” Old bum was probably jealous he didn’t think of that himself. It was quite unusual that someone would dispose one of her kind on a place like this. They were highly valuable, if you knew the right people. “They’re illegal”, he echoed himself, “They’re prohibited in God’s name. They’re satanic.” I walked over to him and put a tenner in his breast pocket. “Just turn a blind eye, gramps”, I said. He was smelling sour, old sweat and strong tobacco. Then I hurried and dragged the broken android to my car. She got some scratches as her body scraped over the asphalt. But I didn’t care, I just wanted to get away quickly. I always felt uneasy around these religious types.
He found me on a breezy day. Every part of me was broken except my visual receptors. But I could still tell it was breezy – since dawn the pink and white polythene bags were dancing in perpetual circles. He pulled me out of the plastic waste, broken furniture, glass bottles, car tires, outdated electronic products, rotten kitchen waste, cardboard boxes, beer bottles, tuna cans, aluminium foil, diapers, empty batteries, broken light bulbs, washing machines, tetra packs, broken toys, pesticide containers and syringes. He wanted me to stand upright but I failed. I feared he would throw me back on the rubbish heap. But he was unrelenting. First he tried to lift me, but he gave up quickly. It’s not surprising since I’m weighing 102,3 kg, about 50 kg too much to heave for a person with his physique. Then he clasped my feet and simply dragged me over the asphalt to a blue Volvo940. My face must have been scraped up by the hard ground and glass shards. I couldn’t feel anything the whole time, but I imagine he clasped my feet gently.
Of course I knew they’re illegal. As if not every little child in the country was aware of this. And I was agreeing with that policy in fact. Robots aren’t people and therefore they should neither look nor act like them. There need to be clear boundaries or else people get strange ideas. The last thing our shitty country needs are those fanatics demonstrating for robot rights like those idiots overseas. Said the guy with the android girl in his car trunk. Yeah, I was aware of the hypocrisy. But what I was planning to do wasn’t gonna harm anyone. I was gonna sell her to a guy, one of those freaks. He’s as apolitical as you can get, even more so than me, he’s not gonna make her a figurehead of some radical political movement I thought. He never really told me what he was gonna use her for and quite frankly I still don’t wanna know. There’s only so much you can do with a broken android girl. Ugh…It’s gonna need a while until I get those images out of my head.
I felt secure in the trunk of the blue Volvo940. I couldn’t feel the actual temperature, but it must have been quite warm. I imagine this is how a foetus feels in his mother’s womb. My chronometer was damaged too, so I couldn’t assess how much time passed until he stopped the car. He opened the trunk and there was worry on his face. Naturally, I thought. It was a difficult task to move a broken android of 102,3 kg to a certain place. He managed to move me out of the boot quite proficiently, though I imagine I made an ear-splitting noise when I fell to the ground. I was glad I didn’t fall on his feet when I crashed down since it would have meant an hospital stay of approximately 21 days for him. After looking around in the nightly residential area with a considerate expression he re-applied the technique he used at the dumping ground, clasped my feet and dragged me over to the closest building. Soon we entered an elevator and after that an apartment furnished in minimalist style. I concluded it was the place he lived at.
So first of all I had to clean her. I didn’t know what kind of detergents I should use on her. Her face was scratched up, that meant her coating was not indestructible. After looking at all the chemical stuff I had at home I decided that there couldn’t go much wrong with dish-washing liquid. I had ‘orange’ and ‘ultra strong anti grease’. I went with orange. Since she was too heavy to heave her into the bathtub, I just placed her on the bathroom floor and cleaned her with a sponge. It was weird to remove her clothes and see her ‘naked’. I wasn’t getting aroused or something but the fact that her designer put so much effort into giving her the realistic looking body of a young woman distracted me. I had to think about the purpose she was used for before she was disposed of. It was a weird story. My contact said she’s been used as an orchestra android, nothing fancy, just a six-piece band doing musical renderings of biblical stuff. Someday someone recognised that all six of them were androids. Apparently, that guy who ran that concert hall was some kind of freak that believed human musicians were too imperfect for his holy stuff. He got arrested, his concert hall was closed down and the androids were confiscated. All of that was a long time ago and somehow one of those things landed on the dumping ground of the city I live in. I told you, it’s a weird story. Maybe it’s just drug-induced rambling on the side of this acquaintance of mine. I never concerned myself much with androids, but I guess they can be programmed to do a plethora of things including things they’d need a realistic body for. After rubbing her dry something happened. She started to move by herself. To be exact, her eyes moved first. She looked at me, followed the movements of my arms, and then her lips moved too. She bent her neck backwards and forwards, as if waking up after a long slumber. It was scary as hell. What if I just had brought a 100 kg heavy killer machine into my apartment? As I said, I knew nearly nothing about androids. I sprang to my feet and slammed the door behind me. With racing heart I grabbed my phone and looked for the number of this tech-savvy guy my contact told me about. He had to come over immediately.
He brought me to his bathroom and soon came back with his arms full of bottles filled with liquids in the most interesting colours. I’ve seen lots of those bottles in my time at the dumping ground but all of them were empty. He arranged them around us quite meticulously while glancing at me from time to time. Somehow it seemed important to him that those bottles stood in exact order. It was interesting for me to watch him, though he did not seem to have any fun with this task, his expression was one of discomfort or nervousness. But I could be wrong – it has been a long time since I’ve seen a human face from such close distance. At least I estimated it has been a long time, since my chronometer was not fully working.
After he had fully undressed me and had chosen one of the bottles, he seemed to have relaxed a bit. Maybe he was afraid he would choose a wrong detergent. But my skin is quite resistant, so his worries have been superfluous. Originally, I think, I was programmed to have sensitive skin. I can remember that I once felt that sensation that humans called pain. But this was before I reached the dumping ground. There I already had lost my sensitiveness, and it was not regrettable, since my surroundings on the dumping ground have been rather unpleasant. I imagined the warm water and careful circling movements of the sponge on my skin would have not been unpleasant at all. After I lay there for a while something happened. I could not quite process it immediately, but I suddenly had regained another one of my senses. A vivid freshness fulfilled me somehow. Images of round shiny fruit appeared in my processor, in my mind – oranges. He did not notice my excitation, in fact, he seemed to be absorbed in his thoughts as he rubbed me dry. I tried to focus on the impulses that flickered through my body. And I managed to move. My lips twitched, I felt it. And my head moved as well. All the control was there, only for a short amount of time. But I immediately regretted that I let myself be controlled by those scattered energy impulses inside of me, because it must have scared him. He jolted up and knocked over all the bottles he had arranged so carefully. In the next instant he was gone, and the door closed behind him. My vigour was gone too, as suddenly as it came, and I was left alone in the bathroom, unable to move. I noted my regained sense of smell was still there. ORO7 is not a model that can eat but it can taste. And at this moment I was craving oranges.
[to be continued]