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Girlfriend V1.0

By 

Sam Smith

S

teven had given up hope of ever finding a soul mate. So, he’d made the decision to build a robot girlfriend out of spare parts in his garage. No more sweaty palms when talking to girls he liked, no more endless breadsticks on awkward first dates, no more facing the prospect of spending his twilight years utterly alone.

He’d been an engineer ever since leaving school nearly 20 years previously, so he’d acquired more than the necessary parts. He set about drawing up schematics; such a huge undertaking would require extensive blueprints. Sketch after sketch of prospective partner would undergo countless revisions, covered with notes in red ink. ‘Longer hair, more ample bosom, curvier waist, less protruding ankles.’

Finally, after nearly 50 redesigns, the Girlfriend V1.0 was ready to move into the production phase.

He combed through hundreds of boxes of circuit boards, motors, batteries, pistons, turbines and valves to find just the right ones. Then he began to piece it all together, wrapping it around a framework skeleton. Beginning at the feet, he started to work his way upwards. It was a slow, laborious process and he almost gave up numerous times before he reached the knees. He grew to love, then hate those feet, the amount of time he spent working on them. He hadn’t even met her yet and she was already being difficult.

At last, after months and months of hard work and gallons of blood, sweat and motor oil, the Girlfriend V1.0 was ready to enter the post-production phase. She now needed a personality. Sure, it was kind of tempting to leave her as a blank slate that he could simply impose his own will upon, but where would the fun be in that? No, she needed a temperament to match his own. Feisty, but not volatile. Bubbly, but not annoying. Strong-willed, but not his mother. Spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs were drawn up, offsetting sex appeal against relatability, ramping up charisma, decreasing frumpiness. After much tweaking and re-tweaking, her stats were optimised and she was ready to be played. He backed her up onto an external hard drive (in case she ever became hysterical and wiped her own mind) and then downloaded her personality into her physical form.

Then, he waited while his new girlfriend booted up. He cast his eyes over her body for the thousandth time. The brass hips, the silicone hair, the little rivets at the corners of her mouth that resembled dimples. He was so excited to finally meet her that his palms were starting to sweat. Old habits and all that.

Just then, she finished loading. Her eyes opened like the shutters on a storefront and she glanced around the room before focusing on Stephen. He cleared his throat and stepped towards her.

“Hello, my name’s Stephen and I’m going to be your new boyfriend.”

At the word ‘boyfriend’ her expression glazed slightly. Stephen moved in for a kiss but she stopped him in his tracks by thrusting out her hand. He shook it hesitantly.

“Hello Stephen”, she said. Her voice was lyrical, like a ringtone.

“I’ve only just met you; I think we should be friends.”

Maybe he should have gone over everything one last time…

Quiz question:

What job had Stephen done previously?

Mechanic

Mechanic

Engineer

Engineer

Technician

Technician

Florist

Florist

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Issue 12

published 

February 22, 2017

Sam Smith is a former creative writing and scriptwriting student who has previously experimented with both community radio broadcasting and stand-up comedy. He politely asked if he could get published as a short story writer in his email, so why not?

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Issue 12

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives.
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