As told by Employee ID 3583002, transcribed by Teo Yi Han
Art provided by America Jones
T minus four days
All the way to work I debated with myself and changed my mind about once approximately every five minutes:
Ask her for a photo together
Don’t do something so ridiculous, please
What do you have to lose at this stage
She is going to stare at me, uncomprehendingly, and it is going to make me feel bad that I’ve done something out of convention that she has not been programmed to respond to, that my behavior is out of human average again.
I tossed the options in my mind one last time; they landed, heads up.
Don’t care, I thought, don’t care what she thinks, don’t care.
Even if she thought me weird, I would still have my photo.
She wasn’t at her usual place when I walked into our shared cubicle. I pulled out my phone and saw that the automatic message notification had been sent much earlier, in the midst of all the flip-flopping of decisions: one of her parts had malfunctioned, and she had been sent back for maintenance.
I didn’t even need to fret over it after all.
Later that morning, I was in the toilet cubicle, staring at the back of the door blankly. Someone was crying softly two cubicles down. Occasional soft sob and hiccup. Not even trying to hide. When I cry in the toilet at work, no sound is allowed to escape from my throat. I stayed still and silent so as not to disturb. I decided if I walked out and saw the person I would ask her, Are you okay? I would offer a hug.
I wondered if it was a colleague I knew.
I waited. The other person waited too. For me to leave.
So I did. I didn’t get to see who she was.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2018 collection.
Employee ID 3583002 has learned not to fall in love with company made-to-order androids and will spend her spare time on dating sites looking for human males or females to date instead. She has made great strides towards reducing the incidences of alternatively crying and cursing at any complex piece of technology. Please send any potential dating partners (HUMANS ONLY!) her way.
Teo Yi Han is a Singaporean policy analyst with a degree in psychology who struggles with policy writing by day and narrative writing by night. One of her stories won 1st prize in the Singapore 2015 Golden Point Award short story category, and others have been published in Southeast Asian anthologies such as FLESH: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology and This Is How You Walk On The Moon: An Anthology Of Anti-Realist Fiction.
AJ is an illustrator and comic artist with a passion for neon colors and queer culture. Catch them being antisocial on social media @thehauntedboy.
“A Record of Android M14DA3-Y2015’s Last Week in Headquarters” is © 2018 Teo Yi Han.
Art accompanying story is © 2018 America Jones.