The Booze Run
The whole world wonders why Perry puts up with his Lazy Phone. Rather than adopt a pocketsized, up-to-date cell phone like most people, Perry has chosen to stick with his old-fashioned life-sized fembot model. True: there are advantages to having a cheerful, laid-back hippie girl on hand. But her apps are hard to access, she tends to boss Perry around—and for a phone, she smokes an awful lot of weed. Still, most days Lazy Phone’s actual screw-ups are few, harmless, and minor.
This is not one of those days.
Perry had to admit his party was going great. The music was playing—from a mini tower, not the MP3 player, thank God. His friends and his friends’ friends were relaxed: talking, dancing, joking. His Phone — a skinny, Caucasian blonde girl in her early twenties, wearing just a tanktop and a pair of leggings —occupied her usual place on the couch, right now snuggling up to some short Indian kid: probably Sanjay from work. Yeah, that’s who it was. Oh well. If Sanjay were smart, he’d stay away from her. But for now, Perry thought with a shrug, nothing is gonna stop me from relaxing.
“You’re almost out of booze,” David from the gym walked over. “Down to two sixpacks of beer, two bottles of gin and a carton of wine… which my girlfriend is hogging already, so you might as well write that off.”
“Can anything go right, just once?” Perry groaned. “I KNOW I remembered to buy…” his eyes narrowed and he turned to the Lazy Phone. “Girl, didn’t I tell you to remind me to buy drinks?”
She blinked. “Oh, yeah. That was a thing, sure. Sorry, dude.” She took a deep drag from the blunt she held in her hand. Sanjay giggled.
“Dammit,” snapped Perry. “If this party dies down, I’m not gonna be the one responsible.” He had reached the end of his rope. “Lazy Phone, you screwed this up and you’re gonna fix it!”
“Heh. Like, how? I can’t change the past, man!” she grinned. “Live with it!”
“But you can change the damn future.” After some rummaging in the closet, Perry fished out his old backpack. “Here’s two hundred dollars. The liquor store is just four blocks away, near downtown. Buy whatever you want, as long as it’ll fill up this backpack and keep our guests sloshed. Be back in an hour.”
“But… it’s cold out there,” Lazy Phone protested as David and Perry pushed her towards the door. “It might rain!”
“Yeah, I’m so worried about a robot catching a cold. And you’re waterproof.” The door slammed behind the phone-girl.
“Fembots, huh?” quipped a stressed Perry.
“Can’t live with them, can’t live without them,” David grinned.
His statuesque, red-headed girlfriend, just then walking towards them, tried to feign outrage, but couldn’t hide her smile. “And I was being so nice and brought you a glass! Well, no point in good wine going to waste. Here, honey.”
“Fuckin’ fuckers,” Lazy Phone muttered. “When we robots take over, they’ll be, like—uh. Damn, it’s dark.” She pulled a woolen hat tight over her mane of dreadlocks. “Okay, time to be brave and buy me some booze. I wonder if Perry would let me keep some change… dude, I could use some Skittles. Maybe I’ll call him from the stor—oh, yeah.” She couldn’t call Perry when she herself was Perry’s only phone.
She trudged onward, taking a deep drag from the blunt she still held in one hand. But two blocks later she stopped.
“Fuck, I have a nav app. If Perry would ever let me drive, I’d have remembered sooner.” She put her tongue to her lip to concentrate and began sliding her hands around on her stomach. “C’mon… nav app, nav app, nav app. Audiobooks? File storage? Dude, what is Grindr, anyway—hmm…”
“Hey, is there any problem?” a tall African-American policewoman spoke up from nearby. “Why are you… touching yourself in the street?”
“Not your problem, lady!” Lazy Phone absently retorted. Only when the policewoman came closer—sniffing, noticing the blunt in the fembot’s mouth—did the blonde phone realize what she had just done. “Eep.”
“Eep indeed! Put your hands on that tree over there, so I can begin a search. You have the right to remain silent...” As the cop read Lazy Phone her Miranda rights and patted her down, the hippie girl giggled. “Lady, you have the Best. Job. Ever.”
The policewoman entered the local station with Lazy Phone handcuffed, shivering, and despite her cocky attitude, a little bit scared. “Hey Sam,” the lady cop greeted a middle-aged male sergeant seated behind the desk. “Another college kid with 18-11.”
“Don’t you mean 420?” Lazy Phone giggled, her programmed sense of humor overriding her worry.
“Shut it!” snapped the policewoman. “Would you mind booking her, Sarge? I know it’s a bit—irregular, but my batteries are low and I need a recharge. You’ll get a donut or two,” she added to her colleague with a smile.
“Sure thing, Murphy,” answered Sam. “We’re partners, aren’t we? Keep the donut, I know you’re programmed to like them.” Lazy Phone lazily realized that Murphy must be a robot herself. How Establishment, arresting her own kind. Dude.
“Everyone’s programmed to like donuts,” smiled Murphy, “not just cops.” She walked away down a back corridor, pulling a charger from her purse.
“Sit down, girl,” said the sergeant to Lazy Phone. “Officer Murphy is a bit by-the-book, but she’ll make a good copper one day. Frankly, I’d have just let you go after a first warning, but I can’t blame her for following regulations. Your name?” Sam was a “good cop”: as he said, Murphy was too straitlaced, and there was no point in scaring this poor kid.
“Huh?” asked Lazy Phone.
“What do people call you when you’re at home?” Sam asked, a little confused. “A moniker. A name.”
“Pho...” Lazy Phone nearly bit her tongue. Some sense of loyalty, shame and self-preservation kicked in. “...tricia.”
“Photricia,” Sam twirled a pen in his fingers and stared at Lazy Phone briefly.
“Yeah. It’s Vietnamese. Look it up.”
“Surname?”, he asked without much hope.
“Perry!” she retorted quickly.
“Photricia Perry, age...”
After a mug shot, an inventory of her belongings—which consisted of Perry’s backpack and two hundred dollars—”Photricia” was taken to her cell. “You are permitted one phone call,” said the returning Murphy. “Would you like to make it now? Got a lawyer? Or next of kin?”
Murphy shook her head. “Everything okay with you, girl?”
“Er... no. I mean, yeah. I mean, can I call my boyfriend tomorrow morning?”
“It’s your right.” Murphy shrugged and went back to do the paperwork.
“I’m a fucking genius,” Lazy Phone thought to herself. “I don’t need to make one phone call—from THEIR phone. Man, I can use MYSELF to make LOTS of calls. Except... better not call anyone at the party—yet. I’m a smart chick when I have to be.” She glanced over to see whether Murphy was or wasn’t looking, then began dialing a number on her stomach.
“Hey, Jane!” she whispered. “It’s me, Perry’s Phone! Listen, you need to bail me out, and Perry can’t know, okay? He’d trash me if he found out!”
After a couple more such calls, Lazy Phone relaxed. In her case it wasn’t hard. Someone would save her ass soon.
“New roommate for you, missy! Move over!” Murphy pushed a disgruntled young woman into the cell.
“Jane?” Lazy Phone opened her eyes.
“Way to go, LP,” snapped the impatient Jane. “You shoulda told me that the police have a fembot cop with a built-in breathalyzer. I got saddled with DUI too—just to save your skinny butt. Which I can’t do now, you might notice.”
Fifteen minutes later the door to the cell opened again. “And another...” mumbled Murphy.
“Stacy!” breathed Lazy Phone. “Dude, the gang’s all here.”
“The rules in this precinct are like SO STRICT,” grumbled the new arrival, an upscale young professional in a sharp sweater. “Coulda warned me, LP.”
Fifteen minutes later: “And another...” “Sharon!”
“And yet another!” Murphy knew Lazy Phone was somehow responsible, but she wasn’t sure how. The blonde fembot’s slovenly, very human vibe was such that Murphy hadn’t thought to analyze her for robotic functions—and Murphy naturally followed protocol rather than improvise on the spot. “Girl,” she grumbled to Lazy Phone, “the grapevine works wonders for you—but the State Pen will, too.”
Lazy Phone slumped down on her cot to address Perry’s disgruntled female friends. “Dude, I need to stop hanging out with you girls. Wait, didn’t I also call some guys?”
At that moment Perry sat in an all-male cell nearby, holding his head in his hands. "There's no justice,” he muttered. “I don't even smoke that shit myself, and I still smelled like it..."
"Duuuuude." A voice—familiar in inflection, but masculine—came from the other end of the cell.
It was the... “sibling” robot phone Perry had used to own before switching to a girl design. The consummate hippie—the Boy Lazy Phone.
“So they busted you, too, man? Heh. Oh, well. You got a lawyer? Wanna cuddle the night away? Here, let me play you some nice tunes. Touch me.”
THE END (?)