So I wrote a story today, in response to a 24-hour challenge. The prompt was ‘a robot that falls in love with its owner’. I was talking to someone over in an online writers group I’m part of, and he kind of challenged me to write fantasy. So I thought of the most crazy thing I could think of and wrote a short flash fiction story (of about 500 words).
A story which, I’m happy to report, many people seem to like, as it was awarded special curation. So, if cryptocurrency is real, it will be my best paid piece of writing so far.
The story was first published on Steem, but you can also read it here on my blog, for free. You can read the full story here, for free.
Love Please – A Short Story by Nicole des Bouvrie
In a world far far away, in a galaxy that doesn’t exist, and in a time that is already forgotten, there was a man who was fed up with it all. He was the most powerful person in the world, and everybody called him Mr. Everything. Mr. Everything had everything he could think of. He even had a machine especially built for him that created everything he could think of.
Yet he wasn’t happy. Perhaps this is not surprising to us, as we know that material things cannot make someone happy. But Mr. Everything was very angry about this. He shouted at the machine that it was supposed to take care of everything he needed. Even if he didn’t know what would make him happy.
The machine was confused. It could do a lot, but it could not produce anything his owner couldn’t think of. “Please think of something specific, Mr. Everything. And I’ll make it for you.”
“I… I want you to create love for me!” Mr. Everything was satisfied to have come up with something that would make him happy. Love would be good. It supposedly made everything look pink and would give him something to rely on. No matter what would happen in the future, he would have love.
The machine started whirling and doing what it did best. It searched through reference books and started to assemble everything needed to create love. Mr. Everything tried not to lose his patience, but the machine had never taken such a long time before. Perhaps it wasn’t possible to get love after all.
The display on the machine started blinking. A message appeared, and a big green button. “Press this.”
Now it was Mr. Everything’s turn to be confused. “What is the meaning of this, robot?”
“I have created love, Mr. Everything. Yet in order to give it to you, you need to accept the conditions attached. My programming forbids me to do interfere with your free will, therefore you need to press the green button to state that you agree.”
Mr. Everything started laughing. “Love comes with conditions? What is this? But okay, I’ll go along with your game.” Mr. Everything stepped closer to the machine and with a trembling finger he pushed the green button. Next time he got one of these crazy ideas, he should remember to ask for courage first.
As the conditions were agreed to, the machine produced a giant lake. “Here it is, Mr. Everything. This is love.”
Mr. Everything looked at it, but before he could say anything, the machine grabbed him tightly and pushed him in the direction of the lake.
“The literature is very clear about love. For it to work, we need to fall into it together.”
And before Mr. Everything understood what was going on, the machine pulled him into the lake. Mr. Everything was sure this what not what he meant when he asked to get love. But there was nothing he could do. So he let himself fall in love.
And he kept on falling. There seemed to be no end to it. And the lake was full of treachery, pulling on his legs and pushing him in directions he never knew existed. Giving him detours and making sure he was completely lost at times. Things were never what they seemed. Which, in itself, was to be expected.
Some years later, as he finally found his way out of the lake, Mr. Everything decided that he would never think of things he didn’t know anymore. Love was not for him, after all.
The machine stayed in love. It couldn’t swim.
This story was written exclusively for the contest organised by @mctiller, a 24-hour-challenge to write a story below 2000 words, on the topic ‘a robot falls in love with its owner’. #24hourshortstory
Read more short stories by @nobyeni at her website.
Support her philosophical fiction on Patreon or through Steady.