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Night and Day by Terry Cummings
SUMMARY: Because Robots have feelings too
Night and day
It is a little thing perhaps, sleep. That's what we are told anyway, I wouldn't know. That strange enigmatic condition is not a requisite for us. The downtime hours we are recommended to endure is pointless and is mainly for show, to allow us integration into the world around us as it slumbers. There are many things we do throughout our days, many pointless conformities designed to make those around us feel more comfortable. I blink for example. A ludicrous thing. My eyes are made of fluid filled scratch-proof silicon resin. I could pour a glass full of sand directly into my eyes and it would fall away harmlessly, affecting neither my vision or my comfort. And yet I blink constantly throughout the day. It is a programmed reflex, pre-conditioned, so thankfully I do not have to consider its performance. I blink in circumstances of confusion, I blink against oncoming wind and rain. I blink when I am in a situation which would create nervousness in people. I blink away tears of laughter and I blink when I look from one person to another. I have prolonged blinks to express disappointment and if I haven't blinked for a certain number of seconds I blink just to make up the numbers. I have a certain amount of blinks allocated which expend the tiniest fraction of the energy released by my existence each day.
I blink when I am about to close my eyes in pretence and stare into blackness for that time of sleep.
And when I do close my eyes I am downed for that snippet of eternity until the clocks inside chime my awakening or an external stimulus rouses my attention.
Hours of shivering blackness deleted in the morning to conserve memory.
It is illegal for us to possess what I have in my hand right now. It is an intrusion on the psychology of the people whom I have been designed to serve and obey, to protect and to serve and to serve and obey. I uphold their laws and now I break them just as they have broken me time and time again, drunken leering faces looking down on me wondering where they should thrust the bottle, where would cause the maximum amount of damage for maintenance to repair in the morning.
I wonder, if I could sleep, would I see those faces still? Would my mind conjour them up, invent scenarios for revenge which I am programmed not to pursue? Would it play with the questions which I find deleted as soon as they are formed? Would I begin to breath more easily as the demons were chased away?
I am alone of course, as are we all. Alone and naked, lying in bed as the world sleeps and dreams around us.
It is a basic prerequisite that we have no drives or desires for those people around us whom we serve. Nor do we have any compelling attraction to others of our own kind. We simply exist. Without questions voiced or alternatives imagined. That is the official line and this allows those around us not to worry about the fact that maybe were we made a little too well. Maybe we were designed a little too exactly in the replication of the humans to whom we have been delivered into slavery.
The confiscated disk in my hand.