Prompted Writing · Stories

PersonaBots- Creative Writing Prompt 1

Alright, so today, I’m going to do my first off-the-wall creative writing prompt.  If you’d like to play along, you can either write about the same prompt I find or follow the path and choose your own.

Sidenote- I won’t lie.  I definitely rushed the end because I couldn’t get much time to actually focus.  Apparently, the family cannot survive with my constant vigilance… One day they might… One day…

This week’s creative writing “path” (instructions to get to your prompt) is:

Go to Google.  Type in “Science Fiction Creative Writing Prompts”.  Click the 4th link you see.  Choose an odd-numbered prompt (I chose #11).  Write.

My prompt:

“I have to deactivate you.  I’m sorry.”

“Happy birthday, Myra!” her family exclaimed as she appeared in the kitchen that morning.   “Now, I know you’re probably already SURE you know what you’re getting this year,” her mom began, “but, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with your present.  Close your eyes.”  Myra did as she was told, anxiously awaiting someone to grab her shoulders, steer her through the living room and out the front door, and to her brand new set of wheels.  But, before anyone got the chance, “Open them!” her dad yelled.

In front of Myra was a brand-new first generation, chrome-plated PersonaBot.  It really was a beautiful-looking machine, but she didn’t need or ask for one of these.  She never really understood everyone’s fascination with PersonaBots- they are just shiny little machines that do everything for you, or as the ads like to say, “make your life a little easier”.  Years ago, the PersonaBots’ system was something that only existed in movies, and now, movies can’t be made without them- funny how that works.  At first, many people thought it’d be just another passing craze, but people have become incredibly attached, almost dependent, and now, they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon as evident by Myra’s brand-new shiny birthday present that she didn’t need or ask for.

Steeling her face into a believable smile Myra looked between her parents and the new PersonaBot. “Thanks……” She may have been able to pretend on her face, but it was impossible to hide the disappointment in her voice, she was just hoping her parents were too preoccupied to notice.

“I know you’re just going to love it, and it’s going to make your life so much easier!” Her mom was far too excited about this metal box that basically made humans lazier than they already were.  “I’m not sure why you never asked for one because they’re so cool! You’ll see!”

And, as if on cue, the PersonaBot stirred to life, obviously recognizing that the surprise was over and it was time to get to work.  “Initiating System Set-up” the cyber voice chimed.  “Please set your personal preferences.”  Myra had none; she didn’t want this thing in the first place, and she certainly didn’t want it knowing her preferences.

“Thanks, Mom.  Thanks, Dad. I’ll just head to my room to program it.”  She turned toward her new unwanted assistant, “Come on”, she ordered, and since it was an obedient little machine, it followed her out of the kitchen and back to her room.

She shut her bedroom door, and turned to write on her computer, but the Bot again chimed in, “Please set your personal preferences”.

Myra didn’t even turn to look at the machine.  “No. You can go to the closet and go to sleep… forever.”

“Please set your personal preferences.”

“Ugh.  My personal preference is for you to go to the closet and go to sleep forever.”

“I do not understand.  Please set your personal preferences.”

“Ugh… I just told…” as Myra turned, she noticed two things- first, the Bot had moved right behind her, and second, there was a little blue light on its chest that was blinking rapidly. She couldn’t help but stare at the machine, even though ‘machine’ might not be a good word for it. If it wasn’t completely covered in chrome plates, it would have looked like any other human being, and some PersonaBots have been around long enough that they have actually adapted to seem more human with their voices and movements; the only noticeable difference was the material on the outside.

A knock on the door tore her from her scrutiny of the Bot.

“Come in” Myra said a little too annoyed.

“How’s it going? Have you set your personal preferences?” Myra’s mom was too into this machine.

“I just got in here and haven’t started…” Myra started, but again, the bot was there to remind her, and her mom, that she was neglecting her present.

“Please set your personal preferences” the bot chimed.

“All you have to do is press the little blue button, and it will take care of everything.  Go ahead, honey.  I know you will just love how much easier this makes life for you.”  It was at that moment that Myra noticed her mom had some of the same movements as the Bot that was so desperately trying to get her to program it. In fact, Myra’s mom seemed a little desperate for her to set her preferences, but it didn’t change how much she wanted nothing to do with it.

“I’ll do it later.  I have homework to finish first.”

“But,” her mom just wouldn’t give up, “if you set it up, it can do your homework for you, and you can have more free time to do what you want to do!”

“Fine!” Myra turned to the Bot to begin ‘setting her personal preferences’ when she caught a glimpse at her mom’s face- anticipation written all over it… a little too much for a birthday present… a little too much for any mom who just gave their kids the key to a lifetime of laziness.  And that’s when it hit her… this wasn’t her mom.  Her mom was normally reserved and quiet- a far cry from this over-enthusiastic woman that stood in front of her.

“Mom.  Thank you.”  Myra got up and crossed the room to embrace her Bot-mother in a hug.

“Of course honey…”

“But,” Myra continued as she wrapped her arms around the Bot that pretended to be her mother, “I’m going to have to deactivate you.  I’m sorry.”

Her mom had no time to react as Myra began feverishly pulling her mother’s hair- the only logical place to conceal wires on the PersonaBot until her Bot mother made a sputtering sound and collapsed on the floor in a heap of flesh-colored metal.

“Congratulations Myra.”  She turned to see her very own PersonaBot seeming much more awake than before with a steady green light where the blinking blue one had been.  “Your the first person since our creation to not succumb to the temptation to have everything done for you.  For this, you will be rewarded.”  The Bot spit out a card.  “Take whatever you need from here, and go to this address.  We have a job for you.”