Fallibly Human

by Jon Fenton

Copyright© 2021 by Jon Fenton

Science Fiction Story: Orson Walters is an Andriod (who prefers the term "mechanical human) is going for his first job and needs to stand out among the other robot applicants. Will his creator Joe's advice help him?

Tags: Science Fiction   Robots   AI   Coming of Age   Drama   Parable  

Orson Walters strolled through the manager’s office for his first job interview. His stomach circuits churned out of anxiety. Though creator Joe was connected into his ear wirelessly and would be right here to help him along; he still hated doing these interviews, and this was his eighth one this month. He shook hands and greeted the hiring manager; making sure there was eye contact between the two of them. Doing so intimated Orson further as this lady towered over him and was pretty. He, like his creator Joe, was short and stocky.

“Nice to meet you, Orson, I’m Stacy Steimbrook. I’ve been a recruiter at Caretech industries for over ten years. Today we are conducting interviews for various positions here and it looks like you applied for our Human Resources Generalist job. Can you tell me why we should give you this job over all these other robots?”

Orson cleared his throat and pushed up his thick, black-framed glasses. “I prefer the term Mechanical Human but very well.”

In his ear, Joe chimed in. Relax! Tell her to pull your finger.

Orson held out his finger. “Here, pull it.”

Stacy looked surprised. “Excuse me.”

“Go ahead and pull it,” Orson said. Stacy pulled his finger and he farted, filling the room with an acrid smell.

They both chuckled a bit, but Stacy stopped suddenly and shook her head. “I will warn you that it is inappropriate for an interview.”

“Can I ask you a question, Stacy?” Orson said. Have you ever seen a mechanical human laugh? Do any robots that work here have a sense of humor like myself?

“Nope,” Stacy said.

Orson rested his feet on Stacy’s desk. “Well, here you go.”

Stacy looked at Orson’s resume once more. “Ok next question Orson. Time to get serious again, ok?” She pushed his feet off of her desk and continued. “So why do you want to work here Orson?”

“Don’t worry it was just an ice breaker,” Orson said. “My apologies.”

“Or a windbreaker,” Stacy said. They both laughed. “Ok Orson, back to business.”

Joe came on the line and told him what to say next. Compliment the way she and other ladies here look.

“Well, the obvious answer would be for me to tell you about the skills I’ve been programmed with. For me to go on and lie to you, telling you how much I love working with people. You know the whole blah, blah, blah. But I’m going to be straight with you today. I want to work here to check out all the women and stare at their features.” He winked. “That includes you, Stacy.”

Stacy looked shocked. She threw down her papers, stood up, and stormed over to Orson. Pointing at the door she said: “This interview is over. Stand up and get out. Now Orson!”

Orson folded his arms and smiled. He refused to budge.

“What’s wrong with you,” said Stacy. Are you going to listen, or do I need security to force you out?”

Orson shook his head. “You see Stacy, I have free will, just like humans do.”

Stacy put her hands on his shoulders, starred him in the eyes fiercely, and gritted her teeth. “Never in my ten years of interviews have I had to do this, but you’ve driven me to it.” She kicked Orson in the shin firmly with her high heels.

Orson fell to the floor holding his shin and rolling around in pain. After a few moments, he stood up and limped for the door. “You see Stacy, just like humans I feel pain. It lets me know that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.”

Outside Orson met with his maker Joe and they walked to his car. “So how did it go, did you get the job?” Joe said.

Orson frowned. “I’ll say this. I think I screwed up royally. Notice the limp. Stacy’s pretty upset.”

Joe put his arm around Orson. “You have nothing to worry about. You proved you’re way more human than all the other robots who applied here. I’ve made you fearfully and wonderfully. Thus, that’s why I call you a mechanical human.

Later in the afternoon, the phone in Joe’s house rang. Orson was fast asleep while his low battery charged so Joe answered it. On the line was Stacy Steimbrook. Not wishing to wake Orson she gave the good news to Joe. Orson got the job.

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