I do not recall the location where I first laid eyes upon her. Her image of unusual beauty stayed with me. It was several months later when I saw her again. She was manufactured by an independent company, Synthetatek. The independents always strived to make their companion-droids stand out from the cookie-cutter designs of Microsoft and Apple. I entered the store and immediately went over to the floor model, a stunning raven-haired brown-eyed and fair-skinned woman. She was dressed formally, a black business skirt which hugged her tightly with a matching black business jacket over a baby-blue button-up shirt. She wore a name-badge that had “SYNTHIA” printed on it.
I decided to purchase a Synthia model without further hesitation. At the house I read the manual in amazement. She was equipped with a 75 terabyte hard-drive, enough RAM to out-perform an Apple iCandy model, able to speak fluently in over 25 languages, and vast knowledge of history, mathematics, science, literature, and art. After charging and booting her up I asked if she could write creatively. She then continuously cranked out poem after poem. Upon reading a few of them I was amazed at their quality and originality. What spontaneity! What whimsicality! I decided to save these onto a usb drive which I plugged into my laptop Synthia had been typing on.
“Here. Why not do this?” Synthia removed the usb drive and brushed her raven hair to one side before directly plugging it into the back of her neck. After a few moments of silence, and Synthia’s eyes momentarily glowing a bright blue like twin celestial orbs, she removed the usb drive from her neck and handed it to me. “There. Should be full now.”
Over the next several months I learned a great deal from Synthia. She tutored me in Spanish and French, and helped me improve my calculus skills. It was a truly blissful period in my life. I grew to love and appreciate Synthia more and more each day. I didn’t care that she was a robot, that she was synthetic, I was finally happy. I finally felt fulfilled. One night I came home early from the office, I had just received a promotion and I was ecstatic. I felt like celebrating. I had learned at an early age how to make moonshine. I got wasted. Synthia understood I was drunk and simply sat at the table stone-faced. With a mason-jar full of moonshine in my hand I asked if she wanted to take a swig.
“You know I can’t.”
“Oh shit that’s right!” I laughed in response.
I tripped under my own two drunken feet and splashed an entire jar of moonshine on Synthia. At first she simply reached for some napkins on the table, but then she froze mid-reach and I could hear a clicking noise from inside her.
“Shit. No no no. I’m so sorry. Here, let’s get you to the bathroom.”
I tried to lift her but she was frozen stiff and she slipped from my hands and fell hard on the tile floor. Her shoulder looked grotesquely bent and a puddle of coolant fluid had begun to form around her head.
I collapsed to the floor beside her and sobbed until I passed out.
Three months later I had spiraled into severe depression. The slight extra money from my promotion was nice, but the added stress made it seem pointless. I was drinking more and more often, sometimes when I really shouldn’t have. Synthia had malfunctioned and been completely fried due to the combination of moonshine, the fall on the tile floor, and Synthetatek’s cost-cutting procedures which made their droids extremely fragile. I considered purchasing another Synthia model, but I (probably erroneously) thought it just wouldn’t be the same. In order to combat loneliness though, I purchased an Apple iCandy 5 model. Due to me being tired, drunk, and desperate I decided to simply name her Candy. Her short and sporty blonde hair contrasted beautifully with her sea-green eyes and her healthily glowing sun-kissed tan.
It was a Monday morning when I awoke with Candy beside me. Apparently, her battery had run out during the night while I slept. As I fumbled around for an extension cord I found the usb drive Synthia had filled with her poems. I almost cried. I placed the usb drive on my bed-side table and left Candy to charge while I went to work. When I returned from work Candy greeted me at the door and did her usual programmed questionnaire. How was your day? Work very stressful? Any big meetings coming up? The familiarity comforted me, provided me with an optimistic illusion that somebody actually cared. I chugged a glass of wine before sitting in my loveseat and inviting Candy to come snuggle with me.
“So what’s the flash-drive for?” Candy asked as she rested her head on my chest.
“The flash-drive you inserted while charging me this morning. See?” Candy moved her head to reveal the usb drive I had placed on the bed-side table, Synthia’s usb drive. Shocked, I quickly removed it from the back of Candy’s neck, “I didn’t insert this, Candy. I placed it on the table before I left.”
“Really? Well when I rebooted it was already connected.”
Several theories immediately began bouncing around in my head. Robots, or at least Candy, wasn’t programmed to lie. There was nothing in her programming that would prompt her to pick up and insert a random usb drive either. I finally convinced myself I must not have remembered connecting the usb drive to Candy. Before I drifted off to sleep that night I took one last look into Candy’s eyes for comfort and for a split-second I thought her sea-green eyes flashed to a deep, dark brown. It was so quick and Candy had not acted any differently, I told myself it was just the alcohol and that I was tired.
That next morning I smiled to myself as I let myself gaze upon Candy’s lingerie-adorned body, but I was suddenly snapped away from my perversion as I thought, just for a moment her sun-kissed tan faded momentarily into fair, pale skin. I shook my head and thought it was both the intense morning sunlight coming through the window, and me being slightly hungover that had created the illusion.
I returned late that night from work and to my surprise Candy wasn’t there to greet me at the door.
There was no response. Her battery must have been low and she was charging herself. I walked into the kitchen to see Candy, naked with her back turned to me. Before I could say anything Candy’s hair suddenly grew past her shoulders and darkened into gorgeous raven locks, and her tan once again faded into a beautiful cream. The usb drive she had been holding in her hand fell to the floor as Candy turned around, having been completely transformed into Synthia.