My Robot

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Frank nearly killed himself when he tripped over an empty pizza box he had left on the stairs. Had he been walking down the stairs and not up, had the banister not been there, he knew that he could have easily fallen and possibly died.

As it stood now, Frank's wrist was throbbing. Muttering curse words under his breath he tenderly nursed it with his other hand. Rough. Dry. Once that hand had been strong, supple, and rippled with muscle. Now it was old, frail, with a consistency of a dried onion peel.

Frank kicked the pizza box, sending it flying down the stairs. It crashed into another tower of pizza boxes that teetered and wobbled before crashing to the ground scattering boxes all over the living room.

Frank grabbed his chest, not making a sound, and with the help of the banister lowered himself to sit on the stairs. For seconds on he just sat, his mouth hanging open, before he took a deep breathe and let out a loud bellow of laughter.

"God I need to clean this place." Frank thought to himself. Frank scanned the scene below him. Empty

soda bottles, newspapers scattered everywhere. His end table was covered with the discarded remnants of past microwaveable meals. And the floors, the floors looked like a battle zone, debris scattered like shrapnel.

The kitchen had fared the battle no better. The sink was piled high with dirty dishes, crusted in a thick grime of grease and mold, and spilling out onto the counter. The kitchen table had long ago been abandoned, taken over by the encroaching piles of garbage. The floors were now a death trap, with several cockroaches fossilized permanently to the sticky brown mess.

"Perhaps I should listen to that snot nosed nephew of mine and move into a nursing home." Frank chattered as he waded through the boxes toward his easy chair. The thought of it gave him the shivers. He moaned and creaked back into the chair, both hands on the arm rests.

It's not like he wanted to live in filth, in fact he hated it. It was just that the work was so tiring. And now matter how hard he tried, he always seemed to find himself in the backyard vacuuming the grass or in the living room weed whacking the carpet. Frank knew this, "losing it" he called it. Honestly, Frank was just happy on the days where he remembered to wear pants.

The television was playing snow again. Frank hated that channel. For some reason the tv always seemed to get stuck on it. He had no clue where the remote was, and even if he did, he had no clue how to use it. So the snow channel was what he was going to watch.

Frank watched the television for about ten minutes. He tapped his fingers. He tapped his toes. He stared at the door. He stared at the phone. Finally he picked up the pile of mail he had on the end table.

Bills. Bills. Pizza coupons. He set these aside. Advertisements. Frank stopped, holding the piece of paper in his hand. It showed a group of elderly people playing golf. At the top it said: "Leisure Acres Retirement Center" and below that in smaller type: "The Golden Years Just Got Better."

He held the paper in his hands for several minutes. He could feel his heart beat through his fingertips. The number below, he could swear, was laughing at him. Frank shook his head. "Not today." He crumpled up the paper and threw it across the room.

"Now this is what I am talking about!" Frank exclaimed when he saw the advertisement underneath. It showed a robot in a chefs hat chopping vegetables. In the next room a man sat, relaxing in a chair with a drink. "The All New Housebot" the paper said, "Let Us Do The Dirty Work."

Frank's hands were trembling. "Marvelous" he said, as he picked up the phone and dialed the number, "marvelous."

"Thank you for calling American Robotics, please select from the following menu options." The lady on the phone said. Frank could barely hear her, but he knew she was asking him to press buttons.

One. Frank wanted one robot. He pressed the one button. In afterthought he also punched in the word "robot," spelling it out on the numbered keypad. Frank listened. There was silence on the other end. Credit card. Of course, he had done this many times before. Frank quickly punched in his number. There was now a steady humming coming from the phone.

Content that his order was now complete, Frank leaned back in his easy chair, and soon fell asleep to the static snow on the television.

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