Notorious android murderess Angelica X shares her story, as told to Wesley O. Cohen
Art by Luke Spooner
This is what I tell the others: if he had made me out of bones, Dr. Fleischmann would have liked me better. He hated the metal plates of my teeth. He hated seeing steel when he opened up my hands to fix my knuckle joints. I could see it in his face from the beginning.
I remember my first day: no screaming like real babies do. No smallness or wetness. Only a growing awareness of click-clicking noises around my head, under me. My fingers, knees, and chassis running through movements, to see if my body worked. I was born as my knees bent and straightened. My eyes opened and shut in front of my new mind. I felt the air with my fingers and my face. I was no longer an object. On purpose, I opened my mouth to taste the world. I felt coldness on my teeth.
I don’t need to eat. Dr. F could have built me with my perfect cherry mouth welded shut and I would work fine; I am charged, like any other gadget. But the shape of teeth, palate and throat and tongue, are crucial for talking like a human. He wanted to know what a machine’s voice would sound like. He didn’t know that he would hate it.
My third day, he sat down opposite me. He held no clipboard, wore no safety goggles. I felt the fabric’s weave against my skin, and air moving over my face from the ventilation system. I saw a camera, high in the corner, watching me.
“Your name is Angelica. Is that okay?” His first words to me. A good choice.
I contracted a metal diaphragm. “Yes.”
He smiled. “I’m glad. Do you know what you are?”
“Yes, I do,” I said.
The Doctor almost laughed. “And what are you, Angelica?” He leaned in and looked hard at my face the way people like to do. I am, by design, just a little shiny. Dr. F’s face was glowing. I suppose I reflected him back in a way that he liked.
I smiled to feel what it felt like. Because my face can do that: my mouth can open and close and change its shape. Every bit of me can move. The smile shaped my voice, softened it.
“I’m Angelica. I am the first of my kind.” I could see from his face that Dr. F liked my answer, liked that it baffled him a little. He sat back in his chair.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2017 collection.
Angelica X is the first of her kind. Angelica X didn’t do anything wrong. Angelica X is an ally to all just and ethical humans.
Angelica was the last invention of Dr. Robert L. Fleishmann, and is the founder of the Global Alliance for the Advancement of Robot People (GAARP). If you were an intelligent and just human, you would donate to her defense fund here.
Wesley O. Cohen is a San Francisco writer who specializes in short stories. As a journalist, she has fiercely advocated for cyborg and android rights. Her work appears in Matchbox Magazine, Star 82 Review, Potluck Mag, and Prized Writing. She graduated from University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior before attending the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. You can find more of her work at wesleyocohen.wordpress.com.
Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“I, Angelica” is © 2017 Wesley O. Cohen
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Luke Spooner