I stood in the middle of the ruined city and wondered if there were any survivors. I had been in the mountains when my cell phone suddenly didn’t have any signal. I didn’t care then. It was part of the reason I love hiking the Adirondacks.
I figured when I drove to the gas station after my hike that I would check in with my roommate, but there had been still no signal. The gas station had been empty. The place was open, but no one was home. Hell, the lights didn’t work.
I drove empty roads all the way back to my dorm, but I didn’t meet another moving car. Hell, I didn’t see another human.
Now I stand here and wonder if I was the last person here on Earth.
I begin to hear a rumble from the west.
I am filled with fear.
I run but I…
The barbershop smelled of talcum powder and yesteryear’s stale cigarettes. Dale closed his eyes and felt the gentle tugs of scissors cutting through his wispy graying hair. He remembered back to a time where he would be smoking one of those cigarettes as the barber struggled to tame his gorgeous mane. He had been king back then, and this place had been his private den. Now he was an aging male with a comb over and a paunch of too successful hunting.
The bell announced a new customer. Dale opened his eyes to see Charlie come in. Charlie rubbed what little stubble he had on the top of his noggin. “Got time to shave me?” Charlie asked. “My daughter is getting married this week.”
Dale smiled and closed his eyes. He may not have much, but he had more hair than Charlie, and that was good enough for this king.
The click of an empty chamber fell upon recently deafened ears. It was finally over, or at least Margret hoped so. Then there was the creak of a door opening downstairs. She dove under her bed. She had dropped a couple of rounds when loading last time. She just needed to find them.
The stairs creaked and groaned as the cause of the noise climbed to the second floor.
Margret’s searching hand slapped away a smooth metallic object. She stifled a curse and pulled herself further under the bed.
The door to the bedroom opened.
Margret felt tears fall from her chin. She closed her eyes and said a prayer. Her hand still searching, her fingers found the fallen round. She slowly opened the chamber and slid it in. She frantically tried to locate her assailant.
The floor creaked.
Something grabbed her ankles and pulled.
She never got to scream.
Nothing was left in the tank. The car had screamed at Greg miles ago that it needed sustenance, but Greg drove on anyway. Why should the car get what Greg could not?
It had been twenty days since she had left him. Now Ginny was on the west coast with her new job and new friends, and here he was in Cleveland, no money, no gas, and no chance of undoing any of his mistakes. To think at one time Greg was her bad boy. Now he was just being bad.
He left the keys inside the stolen car and began walking home. Sometimes you needed a long walk to clear your mind, but all the way to Atlantic City?
After two miles his feet were screaming. Okay, maybe this walk was a bit melodramatic, but it would be a great story to tell Ginny’s sister. She was hotter anyway.
He sat in the chair, transfixed on the clothed canvas before him, hints of what lay beneath poking out at various points. His anticipation growing by the minute, he was afraid he was going to burst before this was all over.
She slowly revealed her canvas, piece by piece. The art danced before his eyes, mesmerizing him as more and more of the picture was exposed. What he originally thought was a collage of disparate pieces began to coalesce together into one masterwork. Soon everything was revealed and it took his breath away.
She smiled a coy smile. “Want to have a closer look?”
He was shaking as he approached. Even mere inches away the art was unbelievably complex. His excitement threatened to explode. What stood before him was amazing in every way.
She giggled. “I knew you liked tattoos, but I didn’t expect this.”
He blushed. “You’re beautiful too.”
Those people that thought Elvis was still alive made Travis laugh. It had been almost 41 years since that fateful day and yet Travis could remember every intimate, crazy detail like it had been yesterday. He was supposed to play Utica, New York on that tour. Why on earth had they booked him in Utica? Well Travis was happy it never happened.
Travis chuckled at that thought as he looked out the nursing home window. He spent a lot of time thinking about the past and what might have been. That was how Travis spent most of his time. Getting older may suck, but the alternative was worse. Besides, being 88 wasn’t that bad, really. He still could enjoy his music and his peanut butter and banana sandwiches. He then remembered the sequined jump suits. Man he hated those. Who thought they were a good idea? They made him itch.
As the 3D printer printed out another iteration of his robot’s body, Martin pondered if this method of construction could be considered hand crafted. He had designed the robot shell in Autodesk Inventor, carefully putting in every curve and thickness. He had precisely lined up the mounting holes so that all the electronics would fit perfectly with just enough space to make it relatively simple to assemble while making it look tight and tidy to an outside observer. He had put the previous prototype together, piece by piece, including programming the behaviors himself. He had molded those behaviors, creating new routines and shaving off excess commands till the code was beautifully efficient.
As Martin watched that previous prototype scurry along the floor, he decided it was hand crafted in this new digital age. That means he could claim to be a robot artisan, and Martin like the sound of that.