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Valentine's Day 2060: a modern love story

Monday, 9 February 2015

I killed her in the end. She’s the fifth woman I’ve slaughtered this year. I had no choice really, she really was immensely tedious. I think there was a bug in her software or something, which you get with these cheap robots. She kept telling me the same dreary anecdote again and again. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically the story was about how she once met a man whose surname was “Crisps”. That was it. “Design your perfect woman and have her delivered directly to your door!” the website said. And to be fair they all do look exactly like my perfect woman: pretty, blonde, terrifying knockers. But something’s not working; I’ve just never clicked with any of them. I think it’s because maybe I don’t really know my “type”? Well, I thought I did, but they keep getting delivered and I keep knocking them off after dinner.

The first robot date I had was a disaster. My Wi-Fi went down due to a drone attack by the People’s Republic of Mars and she literally lost the ability to speak. She was fine until we’d finished our mains, then she just buffered till dawn. The second wasn’t much better either. I mean, she was absolutely gorgeous - perfectly designed to my spec- but no conversation at all.  After that I made sure I shelled out extra to download the personality software too. I went for “functioning alcoholic”, and she was great fun. Yeah, I thought the third doll was the one. She was called Kate. Amazing smile, totally life-like skin, free updates. I was really into her. I’ll never forget our first date. It was like we’d known each other forever, which I suppose from her perspective we had: she’d been manufactured only a few hours previously. I made parsnip soup for starter. But I tripped on the way to the table, spilling it down her back, causing a short circuit and she burst into flames. She tried to laugh it off, bless her, but all her skin had melted off. She exploded during dessert.

I had a lot in common with the fourth robot, the exotically named “Faith”. We both had strong political views, agreeing that the massacring of the Kardashian peoples in the East by President Bieber was entirely justified. President Bieber had visited every citizen in the state to explain his plan, (in hologram form, obviously), and had reasoned that The Kardashians had recently discovered cloning and were now creating an army big enough to launch an invasion. And I was like, “Hey Kardashians! 2030 called, and it wants its science back!” Justin loved that, grabbing his crotch in appreciation. “So are you a Belieber?” he said. And I was like, “Errr...do bears shit in the woods?!” He laughed again, as did Vice President Buble, which was generous, considering bears have been extinct for over 30 years, and plant life is impossible in our atmosphere.  

It was all going swimmingly with Faith, but then she was hacked by some teenage Kardashians, and she tried to electrocute me with her nipples. Just my luck! So she had to go too. I lured her onto the balcony with a magnet and then pushed her off. She would have died quickly, the lava moat below burns at about 1000 degrees centigrade. The balcony trick was also what accounted for my latest victim, dull old Alice and her stories of men named after snacks. You don’t have to kill the robots, (the website says they’ll pick them up and recycle them), but there’s a call out fee, so it works out cheaper to just do it yourself. In fact, it’s important you do finish them off. My friend Dave went out with his robot for 18 months. He broke up with her when she ran out of hard-disk space, and sent her back to the shop. But she escaped, and two weeks later she came back and strangled him. The last thing you want is a mental ex, especially if she’s made out of titanium. He was only 146 when he died, such a waste.

I know that, from what you’ve read here, I probably don’t come across as a nice guy. But I want you to know that there was a girl once. Yes, a real girl, who I loved more than anything else in the galaxy. She was pretty and weird and loved the smell of second hand books and wore her dressing gown too much. We met at university, Emma and I. We were both studying modern history and decided to write our dissertation on the same subject: the war crimes of Nigel Farage. She was totally not my type, but somehow it worked. We dated for five years and then, a day before I planned to propose, she told me she’d been offered a dream job on Saturn as a policy advisor to the new King, Brooklyn Beckham. I begged her not to go, wet pleas shimmying down my face, but she’d already packed. She’d been planning it for months. Emma disappeared that evening, and I was left, aimless and pointless. That’s when I found the robots.

You see, you can control a robot. You design and programme them. They won’t leave you. What could go wrong? Well lots of things, clearly. I’m a serial killer, robot wise. The trouble is, right, and here’s the rub, ok, is that in order to fall in love with a robot that you’ve designed, you have to have known what you want when you designed it. And to know what you want, you need to know who you are. The trouble is, the horrible truth is, that I don’t, really. I know nothing. I’m just a bloke with a broken heart looking for someone or something to make this whole fucking mess worthwhile. Anyway, I better go: I’ve got a date tonight. I’m going virtual reality shark fishing with a girl I met in the teleporter terminal. Fingers crossed.

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Published
Publication date: June 2016
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