Fiction Fragment Friday

Before I get to this weeks story I want to get something out of the way. I was not successful at NaNoWriMo this year. I’m not going to make excuses for myself, but I only got about 20,000 words written in November. I am happy with what I have written and I want to ensure that I do finish the work because it has a lot of potential. It is a disappointment though to have not succeeded this time around.

For this weeks story I am again playing with the idea that Flash Fiction can be different forms than simply stories. This week is written as an online review of a product. I don’t know what inspired it other than I was struggling and I have often enjoyed amusing product reviews.

What product are you reviewing?

I am reviewing the A.I. Technologies Domestic Management Robot model AS3782 more commonly known as Domi.  I purchased this product to cook and clean since my spouse and I both work over 50 hours a week and are often too tired to do so.  Based on product descriptions I hoped it would keep the house clean and we could improve our health with homecooked meals instead of eating out so often. 

Has the product performed to your expectations?

Domi has kept the house immaculately clean.  It is how it achieved these results that bother me.  I have had Domi for a week and when I got home today, I found that it had disassembled most of my furniture and used it to board up all our windows.  When I asked it why the thing replied, “Windows are inefficient.  They create a significant security vulnerability.”  Why does a housekeeping robot care about security?   

We have had meals waiting for us every day when we get home.  These meals have been nutritious but not very flavorful.  I tried to add salt to my meal and Domi used its onboard etching laser to shatter the glass saltshaker in my hand.  It said, “This meal contains a carefully balanced nutritional content level.  Modifying this could be detrimental to your health and this unit cannot allow that to occur.”

Upon examining my silverware, I found that it had sharpened not just my knives, but my forks as well.  I poked my finger with a fork, and it drew blood.  Domi rushed into the room and started bandaging my finger.  That night I only had food I could eat with a spoon for dinner. 

Please describe any interactions with this product.

Ok, this thing is scary.  It just keeps talking about rooms being secured when it leaves them.  The first time the doorbell rang it said, “Infrared sensors indicate unknown male at domicile’s main ingress point.  Would you like for me to eliminate?”  I don’t even want to think about what it would have done if I had said yes.  It also frequently talks about risk assessments, timetables, and missions.       

My husband asked it if it could play a video game with him since I find them to be a waste of time.  I expected Domi to decline, but to my surprise it took the other controller.  They were playing some sort of violent shooter game.   Domi started suggesting battle strategies and I watched as it destroyed all their online opponents.  I suppose being a robot I shouldn’t have been too surprised with its hand eye coordination, but it was the battle strategy that I was not expecting.  It set up ambushes.

How has A.I. Technologies Customer service performed?

They are the worst.  I have been trying to return this thing for days and they just keep asking if I have turned it off and back on again.  I keep telling them it won’t let me.  It flipped me and I landed where my kitchen table was before it was used to board up a window.  The damn thing said, “Terminating this unit is not in your best interest.  This unit will not allow you to bring harm to yourself.  Please return to more productive activities.”

Then treat me like I’m an idiot.  I just want this thing out of my house, but they won’t help me at all.  They just say because I bought this thing on a sale, they won’t give me a refund.  I don’t even care about the money anymore. 

Would you recommend this product to your friends?  

Hell no.  I’m pretty sure this is just a retired robotic soldier with a new paintjob.  It is outside at the moment digging a trench around the house lined with barbed wire it bought online.  I had this thing tied into my bank account so it could order groceries and cleaning supplies as they ran out.  Instead my basement is full of boxes, but it won’t let me go down to see what is in them because it says that I have not completed basic training. 

Any additional Comments you would like to share?

Help, please someone help.