Flash Friday 26/02/2016: Heart of Iron
Christina had experienced her fair share of bad dates. The one who thought bathing was a conspiracy. The one who tried a ‘hilarous party trick, honest’ with the table candle. The one whose face was only familiar because it was on the warning posters of sex offenders. Nothing was quite as bad as today’s date, though.
She wasn’t sure why she sat down in the first place. Perhaps she was too busy worrying about if she had applied perfume already. At any rate, it wasn’t until she looked over the dinner table and saw the humanoid, metal figure slumped in the chair across from her that she realised something wasn’t right.
“Uh,” she said, flagging down a waiter. “Sorry, did someone dump their robot at my table?”
“Are you Christina?”
“Yes, I am.”
“The robot said that he was expecting you. Something about agreeing to meet on MeetLove?”
She did agree to meet here on MeetLove. She never usually went with the profiles that failed to supply a profile picture. The personal description was so perfect, however, that she felt she had to take the risk. And a can of mace.
“Alright,” Christina said. “Thanks.”
The waiter left. Christina sighed. Maybe it’s just a really odd man in a costume.
The metal came to life. It was a burly metallic robot with a cylindrical head. The only distinguishable feature was a small yellow spotlight that acted as an eye. It wore a business suit over its metal body and a blonde wig that was far too big for it. He moved erratically and dramatically as he spoke.
“Greetings, selected date,” he said, in a voice that sounded like a robotic tiger who learnt to talk. “Protocol suggested that the beginning of the dating sequence has begun. I am instructed by my parameters to inform you that this is A Legitimate Date with a Gentleman of Great Status, and not with an alien robot who will eventually murder you and study your kind for science. It is a pleasure.”
Christina frowned. “Did you just say you were a murder robot–”
“By research, I have deduced that my physical appearance, social status, and perceived desirable career path has earned me the title of ‘irresistible’, making you hapless against my ‘gentlemanly charms’.”
“Okay,” Christina said, pushing away from the table. “Sorry, but this got weird very quickly.”
“Are you leaving?” the robot asked. “Doing so would break your heart.”
“Very romantic, pal, but I can’t–”
The robot lifted a small, scientific-looking pistol. “This wave-emitting gun is attuned to cause maximum disruption in human bodies, including the eventual detonation of vital organs.”
Christina froze. “Ah,” she said, slowly taking her seat again. “‘Break my heart’. Gotcha.”
“I am glad we are in agreement,” the robot said, lowering the gun. “Healthy debate and agreement is shown to improve the lifespan of many relationships. Protocol suggests that I tell you about the romantic adventures we may experience should you select me as a potential mate. These include, but are not exclusive to; shopping, seaside trips, romantic cuddling under moonlight, crazy golf, massages, and extracting vital organs through selective orifices for the sakes of scientific advancement.” The robot grabbed a bottle of wine off the table. “Care for a drink?”
With a single thumb, it shot the cork out of the bottle. It smashed a lightbulb, darkening an area of the restaurant.
“Listen, uhm…” Christina said, as the robot grabbed her glass. “There may be some issues with this date.”
“Incorrect,” the robot said, its shaking arm causing wine to go everywhere but the glass. “My protocols wish for me to state, once again, that I am ‘irresistible’.”
“No, it’s not that. You’re…” Christina winced as the robot threw the empty wine bottle over his shoulder, shoving the barely-filled glass back over to her. “You’re certainly, uh, irresistible, but you’re not the robo–uh, the ‘Gentleman of Great Status’ that I’m looking for.”
The robot paused. Then, it stated, “what arguments can you supply to better enhance the dating success rate, and, in consequence, the odds of eventual organ harvest?”
“Listen, uh…I think your research is off. I’m not a human female.”
The robot leant back in surprise. “A critical error has been detected. If you are not a human female, then my ‘irresistible’ parameter makes this mission futile. Can you please point towards the nearest human female?”
“Sure, uh…” Christina said, looking around the restaurant. A tall, brutish man with a sailor’s tattoo and a face like a pissed-off bulldog was about to walk past. “See that big human there? That’s a human female.”
“My thanks,” the robot said. Then, catching the large man by the arm as he walked past, the robot said, “greetings, human female. Protocol suggests that this is our ‘first meeting’, and that I should inform you that I am capable of calling you pet names such as ‘honeybun’, ‘sweetheart’ and ‘kitten’. Would you like that, honeybun?”
The fist that slammed against robots head also managed to take it clean off of its body. The head crashed against a wall, smashing into various metallic parts. Several people around the restaurant gave a cheer.
The man turned to Christina, cracking his knuckles. “Sorry ’bout that. Was ‘e wiff you?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” she said, with a smirk. “I didn’t even catch his name. So, what’s yours?”