Celtic music was playing inside Alice's head. It sounded sweet and light. She wanted to skip over mountains like Heidi. The problem was, there were no mountains near her. Just a few hills. Nothing remarkable about that.
She felt the same way about her life. Nothing remarkable. Work. Eat. Sleep. The rotation was dulling her nerves, drilling the life out of her. She was becoming a robot. Suddenly, she thought - what a wonderful idea! What if I built a robot that was me and then the real me could go have a real life? Alice thought this a splendid idea.
It took a long time, well, years actually because Alice had to go to school to learn robotics, but she finally made it and even graduated at the top of her class. While she was attending school, she worked as a waitress at a diner. Everytime she had to serve someone a luke-warm plate of food and they complained - she'd fantasize about the robot doing her job. She'd imagine the robot looking at them while smiling a fake smile and saying, "Oh. I am so sorry! I will make sure the food is hot when I return it to you!" Then Alice would swivel her head around and make a clicking sound while it locked into place. Then she would make her way back to the kitchen with mechanical movements. Her co-workers and the manager found her to be quite entertaining. They thought she should be on David Letterman.
Finally, Alice created a robot that looked just like her. She was pretty proud of it and would carefully style its hair to look like hers, a short black bob which was thick and shiny. She had crafted the face to look like hers although she gave the robot lips she dreamt of having - which were big, puffy pillows of flesh. Take that, Hollywood, she thought as she expertly applied red lipstick to the robot's lips. She decided to name her robot, RoboAlice. It had a nice sound. She eyed her beautiful creation and decided it was time. It was time to take RoboAlice out and introduce her to the real world. After awhile, she'd leave RoboAlice alone while she did something more meaningful like post stories on a message board or sleep all afternoon.
She bustled RoboAlice into her Volkswagen Rabbit. "RoboA" in the Rabbit. That made her giggle. RoboAlice looked perfectly happy in the front seat. Alice fiddled with the remote control and made RoboAlice smile. Yes, definitely happy. RoboAlice even had lovely large teeth which glistened like big Chiclets. Alice liked Chiclets. Chiclets were crunchy and chewy. She popped a few in her mouth and drove to the diner, anticipating her manager's approval for having such an efficient and friendly Alice on the job.
She arrived early for her shift and parked a block away. She had to be careful not to be seen. She lifted RoboAlice out and set her down gently on the pavement. Actually, RoboAlice was pretty sturdy, but Alice didn't want to ruin the night by denting RoboAlice's head right off the bat. She made some adjustments on the remote control and RoboAlice started to walk toward the diner. Something didn't look right. Alice studied her masterpiece and then realized RoboAlice's arms weren't moving as she walked. Alice's fiingers danced across the remote control and suddenly, RoboAlice's arms were swinging nice and slow, almost poetically. Alice breathed a sigh of satisfaction. Oh, her RoboAlice was so beautiful.
RoboAlice opened the door to the diner and walked inside, her arms and legs moving in a smooth rhythm while she turned her head slowly to smile at the Fred the manager.
"Hey there, Fred," RoboAlice purred. Fred looked up from the register and smiled. He thought Alice was hot and wondered if tonight should be the night he'd make his move. Maybe. She looked really good tonight and her lips especially looked luscious. His face started to feel warm so he concentrated on the counting of money. He could focus on Alice later.
RoboAlice went to the kitchen to get her apron and order pad. Jocko, the chef was at the grill.
"Hey, Alice baby, whatchuknow?" Jocko flipped a burger into the air where it hit the ceiling light that had some dust and dead flies on it. It eventually came unglued and landed on his greasy spatula. He was still looking at Alice. RoboAlice smiled at him and looked toward the dining room.
"It looks like a full house. The grass is yellow!" Her head jerked around. Jocko looked at her strangely.
"Hey, kittycat, you didn't sneak into the catnip and not bring some for me, huh? Huh? Whatchu on, kittycat?" Jocko was sliding the burger into the bun and dishing a mountain of fries on the plate.
"Catnip? Oh, that is our special tonight? Okay. Catnip." RoboAlice swiveled around and walked into the dinining area. She approached an elderly couple who were just finishing their meal.
"Can I take your order? Our special tonight is catnip!" RoboAlice flashed her very bright smile at them.
The old man looked at his wife, then her. "For Pete's sake, missy, we're finishing our food! Can't you see that? We don't want no catnip, anyways." He looked away from her while finishing his over-cooked steak. His wife moved her food around the plate and took a tiny sip of water. Meanwhile, Alice was looking at her remote video of the situation and had to quickly steer RoboAlice into another direction before things got suspicious. She had to work on a few things. Get the bugs out.
RoboAlice walked to another couple who had just been seated. It was a young teenage couple.
"Happy Lotion! Catnip is our special tonight, would you like it?" RoboAlice whistled through her teeth.
The teenage boy tried to laugh like a man. "Cool." The girl looked at him oddly and then rolled her eyes.
"Whatever." The girl went back to smacking her gum loudly. Alice wondered if she was a Chiclet chick.
RoboAlice went back to the kitchen to place her order. Jocko picked it up.
"Hey! It's blank! What do they want? Man, you are really flying, aren't you?" He peered into Alice's eyes and then suddenly stepped back. He couldn't be certain, but he swore her eyes looked painted on. Meanwhile, RoboAlice went to reach into her apron's pocket to get the order pad, but her arm went the opposite way. Very fast. She ended up giving Jocko a pretty good smack that lifted him off his feet and throwing him across the room.
"Molecular Motion!" She laughed happily.
Fred came in suddenly. "What's all this noise for God's sake? What did Jocko do this time?" His face was all red and he looked buggy. RoboAlice just looked at him and gave him her blindingly white smile. Jocko was in a heap and wasn't moving.
"Inertia!" RoboAlice yelped.
"Alice, I swear to god if you're jacked up, you probably should go. I can't have you serving customers like this." Fred's ideas of a love rendezvous were fast evaporating. Meanwhile, the real Alice stood outside, whipping around the remote controls in a frenzy. She had to think quickly before RoboAlice's cover was blown.
"I am unjacked, Fred. Honest. I will serve." RoboAlice picked up a raw burger and put it on the bun then put some frozen fries on the plate.
"Alice, you can't serve that, the food isn't even cooked! Oh geez, this is getting absurd." Fred was shaking his head while trying to place the raw meat on the grill and the frozen fries into the fryer basket.
RoboAlice tried to help him but then her arms started to go haywire. Suddenly, Fred was thrown on his back onto the grill. In spite of his screams, RoboAlice managed to flip him onto his stomach while pouring hot oil onto him. Flames started to lick around the sides of the grill. RoboAlice slid Fred onto a large serving tray and hoisted him in the air. She came out of the kitchen and made her way to the table with the teenage couple.
"Catnip!" She proclaimed victoriously. Fred was charred all over and moaning. The girl screamed and the boy scooted out of the booth while shouting, "What the fuck? What? Fuck what!" RoboAlice smiled at them happily and placed Fred down on the table with a good thud. Before the boy could get up off the floor, RoboAlice's arms swung around again and hooked the boy underneath his left arm, sending him flying over two booths and landing on the table of the elderly couple. The old man frowned at the boy and the old lady took another tiny sip of water.
Outside, Alice was in a panic, trying to figure out how to get RoboAlice out of there before she killed everyone. She manipulated her remote controls again and RoboAlice suddenly did the splits and then popped up again like a toy. She twirled around and started doing some kung-fu kicks. A wooden chair went flying. She turned around and twirled again, while executing some high kicks. A table was catapulted out the window.
By this time, all of the customers were screaming and running toward the door to escape RoboAlice. RoboAlice went around and took the dishes of half-eaten food and started to throw them.
"Catnip for everyone, catnip for you all!" She sang the words to the tune of "Row, Row Your Boat."
Just about everyone got out of the front door and ran down the street, screaming their heads off. Meanwhile, RoboAlice did a shuffle across the room and then slid on a piece lettuce that was on the floor, wet with gravy. Her heavy body was, for one tenths of a second, perfectly horizontal before landing with a loud crash upon the linoleum, right beside the elderly couple. The old man looked down upon RoboAlice with disgust.
"These young kids. They don't know nothing. These damn schools don't teach them nothing and look where it gets them. Flat on their back with smoke coming out of 'em. I swear Helen, it was never this bad when we were young." He shook his head as he finished the last of his meal. He had to push the teenage boy's arm over so he could get his water. His wife sniffed and then took out her lipstick and dabbed it on her small lips. She had very small lips, almost non-existent really.
The old man got up and walked around RoboAlice. "Come on, " he grabbed his wife's hand. "We're leaving. We ain't ever coming back to this joint, I can tell you that. Back to McDonald's it is. At least their fries are hot." They walked out over the broken glass and slowly made their way to their car.
Alice was outside, still trying to make RoboAlice get up and walk out of there before the cops came. Finally, RoboAlice moved and got up with some jerks and hops, but got outside. Sirens were fast approaching and Alice drove her Rabbit to the entrance with a screech. She threw RoboAlice in the seat just as the first of the police cars arrived.
A young twenty-something officer aimed a bright flashlight on Alice.
"Hold up. What's going on?" He was smacking gum and Alice felt instinctively drawn.
"Well, officer. It's like this. The diner was robbed by a crazed psychopath. I think it was a man. I couldn't tell because he had long hair but he ran in, beat up all the customers, fried the manager, knocked out the cook and stole some salt shakers."
The officer looked at her in silence.
"Um, officer, may I go? My sister here isn't feeling so well." Alice nodded toward RoboAlice, hoping he wouldn't take too close of a look and smell the burning wires.
"Well. I need to get your number if I have more questions." He smiled at her as he got out of the car and tried to walk like a cowboy.
"Okay. Here it is." Alice wrote down a fake number.
"Well, if I don't have any questions, can I still call you?" Officer Cowboy tried to look suave.
"Um. I guess."
"Okay then. Bye."
Alice drove off fast, not realizing the police officer took down her license plate. He eventually did catch up with her and they had dinner. Alice couldn't deny she liked cowboys. She had a thing for the outdoors.
zink poe ©2003