Home or Bust by Carin Marais

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It wasn't as if anyone got hurt. Though a white-hot sprocket did make it right through the new IGOR 3000xf and left Violet in quite a predicament. The nearly-finished masterpiece of gleaming copper and glass filled nearly half the cellar at the Happy Home for the Chronologically Challenged.

The social worker that had come to check on her got quite a fright when she found the old lady with soot smudges on her face. And it also didn't help that her room's curtains were always closed and everything still sat under a thin film of dust, just like last week. Violet sat in her old Lazy Boy, as always. The digital photo frame next to her was still empty. There was no one who wanted to remember her, so she would remember no one. She made a joke about changing her name to Havisham, but that also did not lighten the mood. She asked for a new IGOR, even an earlier model, but the social worker would have none of it.

"You know we can't just hand out IGORS all willy-nilly, especially not in the intergalactic colonies."

Violet took a sip of tea to calm her nerves; she knew very well what the woman had insinuated. We'll hand them out... but not to old people. Trust the woman to even use a word like "willy-nilly"!

"But, I'll tell you what. What about Harold helping you? He probably knows all about sprockets and spanners," she grinned, but her eyes remained dark.

Violet took another sip of tea. "Who's Harold?"

"He is a retired pilot. Funny thing, he only arrived yesterday and was telling me how he wanted to get his hands dirty again. Apparently he also likes to build things." Grin. "Just like you." Grin. "Harold!"

So, Violet thought, she had already made her decision and the poor man was waiting outside while she was having tea and a ginger biscuit. She held out her hand in greeting. It felt good to be meeting someone new. Anyone new. You could go crazy being around the same old people every day.

"Harold, this is Violet," the social worker grinned. "She also likes to build things. Tell him what you're building, Violet."

She had to use all her self-control not to throw her tea at the woman. She was 112, for goodness' sake, not 12!

"A coffee machine," she said, mimicking the woman's grin, "and it can froth milk." She could see Harold's face fall. Good. An uncomfortable silence filled the room until the social worker took her leave. Violet waited for her to round the corner and then took a hipflask from beneath her quilt.

"After a visit from that woman you need a tot of the ol' devil's drink, hey?" she said to Harold, who held out his cup in silence. But she could see the tears starting to brim in his eyes.

"What're you in for?" she asked. "My family said I couldn't cook too well anymore. Burnt the meat. Never was much of a cook, though." She took a swig of her drink-infused tea. "As good a reason as any, I guess."

"I was in the way." Harold shrugged. "They keep us alive too long nowadays. I should've been dead a good forty years ago. Now they want to give me a cyborg leg. To do what with? Now even my own children have left me here to die!"

"Well, I'm getting out of here.

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