I Come In Pieces
It was a typical Saturday afternoon for Walter and Alex. Walter was home doing the household chores while Alex was in town picking up supplies and troubleshooting computers. Ever since Alex had moved in with Walter and had inadvertently made it known what a computer expert he was, Alex became the town’s IT person.
So Alex made his ‘rounds’ then ended up at the general store. He flirted shamelessly with the store’s owner and baker of the best homemade pies within a two hundred mile radius. Alex made sure her computer was in tiptop shape then loaded up his truck with his supplies. Alex smiled, letting his dimples show and green eyes sparkle, as he received a still warm cherry pie for his reward. Humming with anticipation, Alex carefully stowed his pie then began his drive back to the ranch he shared with Walter. Alex was about halfway home when his cell phone rang.
“Are you almost home?” came the very tension riddled question.
“About another twenty minutes, what’s wrong?” Alex hissed. He was in the mood for sharing cherry pie with his lover, not duking it out with some stray grey or bad-assed clone hunter.
“Those gadgets the Gunmen asked us to ‘test drive’ have taken over,” Walter growled low into his phone.
“Taken over? As in...”
“As in I’m surrounded. They have me cornered in the living room. That roomba thing keeps zapping my feet while the robomaid is using her feather duster as a saber or some medieval weapon. I must be black and blue. Those little crumb sucking robots have chewed holes in our tablecloth. I’m not sure how long I can keep them at bay,” Walter said with an unusually calm voice. It was that voice that once had Mulder and Scully running from Skinner’s office in fear.
“Hang in there, Walter, the calvary’s coming,” Alex said as he cursed the Gunmen, snapped his phone shut and floored the accelerator.
Not knowing what other electronic devices Walter had decided to test drive this fine day, Alex parked his truck just inside the main gate to the ranch, hopefully keeping it far away from any other rampaging robots. He shed his signature black leather jacket then checked his weapons. Alex long ago decided to never to go anywhere without his favorite gun and knife. Before heading for the house, Alex took the extra Glock out of the truck’s glove box and slipped it into the waistband of his jeans. Then he stealthily zigzagged his way to the house.
Alex quickly peered into the living room windows, sizing up the situation. The robomaid appeared to have taken up an “en garde” stance in front of Walter, waving her feather duster in Walter’s face and daring him to pass. The roomba must have developed a short because when it came within six inches of Walter’s feet, it shot out an electrical charge. The cute little crumb vacuum robots on their table must had been hungry. They indeed had chewed several holes into the tablecloth. No great loss, Alex thought, he wasn’t overly fond of that particular tablecloth anyway.
But back to the problem at hand.
Pulling out his cell phone, Alex was about to send off an “SOS” text to the Gunmen, strongly requesting the specs for the devices that were currently terrorizing his mate. Alex knew that these particular devices were not your ordinary garden variety robots. No, the Gunmen had taken the technology a step further by somehow personalizing the creatures and infusing them with certain personality traits of the user. In this case, the Marine clean obsession of Walter and the mean lean bad-boy attitude of the assassin Alex. Instead of producing robots bent on hunting down every speck of dirt and grit and any errant dust bunnies, the robots had become almost homicidal.
Alex heard the expletive that was preceded by a ‘zap’ through the window. “Okay, I don’t care how many millions these things cost. No more mister nice guy,” Alex growled as he unsheathed his knife.
He positioned himself by the window, using the reflective surface of the knife blade to catch Walter’s eye. Alex peeked in and saw Walter visibly relax; he had seen Alex’s signal. Alex then went around to the back of the house and quietly entered through the kitchen door. The crumb robots were blissfully chowing down on some napkins when Alex leapt. Grabbing two of the buggers, Alex threw them hard against the wall. They shattered into several dozen little pieces, their miniature processors vainly trying to hang onto life. Their LED lights flashing a swan song.
The disturbance was all Alex needed to get to Walter.
Sensing more prey, the roomba did a fast about face and sped toward the mess on the floor, unconcerned that the mess was the remnants of its shattered brethren.
Robomaid turned, critically eying her partner in grime. Walter and Alex had hoped the distraction would allow for Walter’s getaway but no dice. Robomaid stood fast.
“Die, you bitch!” Alex yelled as he tackled the feather duster toting maniac. The robomaid spun on her gyros giving Alex an opening. He went for her power pack, ripping it from the back of her torso. Robomaid sputtered, brandishing one last wave of her duster before shutting down completely; the evil light in her eyes finally going dark.
“Alex, watch out!” Walter shouted. The psycho roomba had just finished cannibalizing the last of its fallen buddies and was heading back toward the men. Sparks could be seen shooting out from beneath its round body.
“Oh hell,” Alex made a frustrated curse. He took the Glock from his jeans and shot it, the recoil made the roomba flip over. It laid there like a dead turtle.
Walter and Alex went to the nearest chairs and sat.
“I will kill the Gunmen,” Walter mumbled after a while. He wiped the sweat off his brow with his sleeve.
“Get in line,” Alex stated coolly as he looked around at the carnage. “Go get cleaned up, Walter, I’ll make us some coffee. I brought pie,” Alex announced with a smirk. Walter returned it with a weary smile.
By the time Walter washed up and changed his sweat soaked clothes, Alex herded the gadgets out of the house and into the front yard. He retrieved his truck, stowed the perishables then set the table for their afternoon snack.
“What did you do with the third crumb sucker?” Walter asked as he made himself comfortable at the kitchen table preparing to dig into their treasure.
“I’ve imprisoned him in the sink for now. He can’t go far especially with the threat of water overhead,” Alex said with a smug sneer.
“Remind me not to make you angry,” Walter said absentmindedly around a piece of pie.
“Been there, done that,” Alex reminded him with a wave of his fork. Alex scooped out a generous portion of whipped cream from a tub and plopped some on both their slices of pie. “Diets be damned, we deserve this.”
“Hear. Hear!” Walter saluted the declaration with his coffee mug. “So what do we do with those monsters outside? I have a good mind to bury them, if I didn’t think they’d somehow resurrect themselves.”
“When we’re done making crumbs out of this pie, I’m going to take the damned things apart, box them up then ship them back to the Gunmen. No more robo gizmos in this house.”
“I agree. We clean the old fashioned way with a bucket and mop.”
Just then a rattling came from the sink. The men stared in disbelief as a tiny mechanical hand stretched up trying to reach the edge of the sink.
Alex jumped up, ran to the sink, turning on the water and flipping on the switch for the garbage disposal. Both watch as the little crumb sucker exploded, raising a cloud of smoke then disappeared in a vortex of water down the drain. The garbage disposal loudly protested as it masticated the tiny parts.
The men stared at the sink.
“Do you think it’s finally over?” Alex asked.
“I think so but I’m not taking any chances,” Walter said before returning to the table to finish his pie.
An hour later, Alex was wiping the crumbs off the table with a dish towel while Walter took the dismantled disposal out to the yard.
Alex went running out to his partner. Walter was sheet white. They stood staring at bare ground.
Alex handed Walter his Glock then went back into the house for more weapons. No more mister nice guy!
Cue the X-File theme song!
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