The bar was crowded. I felt a metal rod strike me in my side. The thing had no smell in its breath.
“What the hell?!” I whined, spinning back. Standing in front of me was a rusty mess. A dirty WD40-drinker. A thing without flesh.
“You’re nothing but a disgusting carbon emitter,” the robot said to me.
“Oh yeah!” I replied. “I’ll throw water on your circuit board and teach to respect us humans, you stupid microchip.”
The robot turned around on its greasy wheels. A sharp rubber on wood squeal accompanied its departure. That was a real cheap, malfunctioning, outdated and billigerant bot. I don’t know how it escaped the garbage heap this long, but it sure belonged there. It moved off into the crowd. Bars these days have really lost their standards. These robots are everywhere. You can’t tell the difference sometimes. The way they make them so life-life. But I’ve been out so long that it’s kind of a gift, robots never blink.
I remember a day when the skies emitted pale blue light and it was only humans allowed out at night. Now only a dollar has a soul. The rest of us are left to sink in this heavy gravity. Only pain is whole.
The bartender stared at me with its blinking red light. I held out two fingers and it continued to stare. I put my hand into the shape of a gun and shot it with an imaginary bullet. It continued to stare.
“I’ll take two shots of whiskey. The usual.”
“I recognize whiskey and can certainly accommodate that, but we don’t serve the usual,” the bot’s program recited.
“Of course you don’t. You’re not human.” I told it to just bring me the whiskey, enough already. I analyzed my reflection in the mirror. There were lots of scratches. Either in the mirror or my face….
My well-engineered shots were wheeled over and placed before me; after I swallowed them back the room and the world started to shift into focus, leveling itself out like a place mat on a yacht finding harbor.
“Thanks for the dance,” I announced to a room of flesh and metal. “I have to go.”
The night air tasted like the burning sea and when the stench hit me I almost considered returning to the bleached seats and plastic ranch meat. I considered going back inside the den rather than breathe the city’s lung fart. But here I was. Taking it in. Letting the toxic wind push back my face and dry out my lips. The stench of the sea drifts through the streets, carrying me along through the foggy mists, dreading the ghosts and robots I’ll meet.
In the end I’ll find my way home. I always do.