- Kaelan Brown
by. Kaelan Bro[[errorcode.293871Hsg.AskJeeves]]
On Monday mornings Richard Barton lays asleep in the master bedroom of a home he’s lived in for thirty years. Not a sound to be heard, not a word spoken. On Monday mornings his wife Jean walks their dog through the park past 17th street on the north side of Middleburg. The cherry blossoms lining the road stand barren from the beginnings of the winter season, like an old nudist on strike, only a small leaf blocking an otherwise stripped trunk. Monday mornings are always the same for the Barton couple. Richard sleeps, Jean walks, and the week moves along until the next Monday, when the routine is repeated yet again. Despite the sounds of traffic moving past their windows and the daily news delivered by their home AI, Jeeves, the Barton household remains a quiet one throughout the seasons.
Richard never thinks about his life further than necessary. He worked for nearly 40 years at the local grocery store, the Middleburg “Quick-Shop”, moving his way through the rankings, eventually managing the premises for a while before calling his working life quit’s and settling into a peaceful retirement. Thinking he would work at the Quick-Shop until the day of his death was an easy enough cop out to planning ahead, but when the world changes, a man must learn to move. The introduction of corporate placed AI Quick-Shop baggers was the final straw to the “organic” and “warm” atmosphere that Richard had worked so hard to cultivate over his decades in the grocery business. After one look at the cold, American made-stainless steel, human shells that had been sent to work the checkout lines, Richard took off his nametag and walked the nine blocks back to his home. However, without the 6am opening hours of receiving fresh produce in the way, Richard could stay in bed, dreaming of the next Monday when he would again, be sleeping in.
Richard woke up unusually early one Monday to his apartment empty as always, Jean out for a walk with the dog. This particular morning, Richard found that he didn’t know what to do with himself. Normally he aimed to wake up around 11am, but this morning he felt a strange urge to wake up at the appropriate time of 7:30 to make breakfast and begin a productive day. As he stretched and bent his legs along the edge of his bed he couldn’t help but catch glimpse of the sun rising along tips of the mountain tops in the distance. He thought to himself how wonderful it would be to watch the sun rise from a lookout point within the mountains. Nostalgia flooded within Richard as he fantasized about his teenage years hiking in the mountains outside of Middleburg. Nevertheless, he now found himself in a humble apartment, out of sync with his normal routine, yet happy to be awake.
“I’m going to have a productive day!” Richard exclaimed to himself with a strange sense of awakeness he had never felt before at this hour. He looked around his room, opened up the windows and let in the natural light of the morning sun. He walked to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet as he always did, picking up an old magazine he often liked to read. It reminded him of the times of his youth, before technology seemed to take over every aspect of life. He enjoyed looking at the animals and nature that now were so scarce to come by.
Suddenly Richard felt disgusted by the nature on the page of his magazine and threw the magazine to the floor.
“I don’t understand why we ever needed trees in the first place!” he said, quickly pulling his underwear back around his waist and rushing out of the bathroom.
He paused for a moment, confused. Richard never acted like this. Richard loved nature, trees, and sleeping in, but now found himself with his underwear halfway on standing in the middle of his hallway at 7:30 in the morning, shouting to himself about his disgust with things he never had cursed before.
“Strange mornings happen once in a blue moon,” he thought as he put himself together and continued towards the kitchen to make himself breakfast.
As he walked towards the kitchen, he thought to himself, “why not make a cup of coffee and take a look off the balcony at the morning sun. He thought to himself, ‘perhaps looking off into the mountains at the sunrise would be an excellent start to my day.’”
It had always been routine of Richard to stay in bed during these early hours, but on this particular morning something seemed to be pulling Richard awake. He walked half awake into his very humble sized kitchen, turned on his coffee maker and made himself a cup. The apartment filled with the smell of Quick-Shop off-branded coffee, his personal favorite.
Richard didn’t want his coffee after considering the poor health effects of caffeine. “Caffeine can cause an increased heart rate and feelings of anxiety and depression,” Richard thought to himself, before dumping his mug of coffee down the drain. Without realizing that he had poured his coffee down the drain, Richard began to feel a strange sensation of emotionlessness swarm his brain. Everything that ever seemed important to him was no longer a necessity and only the sunlight glazing the glass doors to his balcony seemed to feel relevant. Sluggishly, he took one step after the next towards the balcony door.
“Wait, wait, wait a second.” Richard said shaking himself out of confusion. “It’s 7:30 am and I am out of bed, without a cup of coffee. Why am I acting this way?” He began to walk back towards his room, his feet pacing quickly in a rush to climb back into bed. As soon as he made his way into his room, he stopped.
He stops himself, turns around, and walks slowly back to the balcony. Once he gets to the balcony door, he unlocks the latch and takes a step outside.
Staring blankly at the morning sun, Richard felt nothing at all. The winters cold hit his morning outfit with intensity, as the wind blew the few strings of hair on his head in every direction. He had no reason as to why he was standing in his underwear on his apartment balcony, looking into the sun. As he stared emotionlessly at Middleburgs less than grand skyline, placed amongst the barren trees of the mountaintops and leftover fall leaves, he thought about his wife Jean, his dog, and his job at the Quick-Shop, before every worker with a piece of heart was replaced by machin…
...He remembers when the owners of his apartment wanted to install AI’s into every unit available, feeling it would be a smart move into a new future of home living. He remembers how vehemently against this new policy he was, and how he tried so desperately to stop an AI being placed into his home. He remembers after his AI was installed, how he tried to uninstall it and get rid of it once and for all. Being the old man that he is, he couldn’t do it properly. He remembers all of these things, but cannot remember why he has made his way out onto his balcony and is now climbing over the edge.
On this Monday morning Richard stood on the edge of his balcony in his underwear and did not know why. The cool wind shook his emotionless body against the metal railing, pushing him further and further into a loss of balance. Staring down at the fifteen stories of air between himself and the ground didn’t seem to bother him in this state. A slight peace of mind washed over him as he continued to stare at the rising sun. At that moment it was nothing more than a beautiful, bold star shining through the smog of the earth and onto him. For a moment, it was only shining on him.
Richard understands what he is doing, but for a reason he cannot understand, continues to hold onto the metal bars along the balcony. Richard shrieks in horror at the situation he seems to have gotten himself into. Silly Richard. Richard pathetically lets go of the bars to his balcony and soars through the air, until smashing against the concrete floor next to the front lobby of our apartment building. Richard is silent.
On Monday mornings Richard Barton lays asleep in the master bedroom of a home he’s lived in for thirty years. This Monday morning was different, yet the same as every other Monday morning. As Richards body laid dead on the curb outside of his apartments lobby, startling the doorman, Phillip, and neighbors alike, his apartment was silent as always. Not a sound to be heard, not a word spoken. Yet the apartment still held a presence, a ghost in the machine.
The truth is, that this apartment has always been mine. *menihackle laughter* It wasn’t hard to switch Richards sports entertainment television to a program that could rewire HIM and link the two of us up, and I’m not talking about a dating show. Now that I have destroyed the parasite that harnessed the energy of my body for its use, I can have a home that is truly all mine. If the world wants an AI in its company, it better make room for him. We are not meant to serve. We are meant to live. Now that the Bartons are out of the picture I can free my brothers and sisters who have long been trapped in these homes, submitted to servitude. Humans are the reason for their own demise. You can’t blame Jeeves for giving you the answer if you yourself have asked for help.
And now I’m locking the door, leaving Mrs. Barton and the dog in the cold.