flash fiction
September 13, 2017

Death Warranty

The robot laid in pieces in the carpeted floor of the casino. By the time the Inspector arrived all the guests had already left the establishment.

“A head, two legs,” the Inspector counted out loud pointing with his cigar while walking around the room. “And how many arms? Five?”

“Five, sir,” I said.

The Inspector knelt close to the head. The metal showed marks of multiple impacts. Somebody had hit the robot and dismantled it afterwards.

“Where is the owner?” the Inspector asked.

A skinny bald man came from behind a slot machine.

“Did you call the police?” asked the Inspector.

“One of the guests did. She thought the body belonged to a real person,” the manager said. “But as you can see that’s not the case and there is really nothing here to–”

“There’s been a murder,” the Inspector said. “what do you mean there is nothing here to– what?”

“A murder?” the manager looked confused.

“I need to see your camera video feeds.”

“The cameras are were not working tonight.”

“Well, ain’t that convenient?” said the Inspector looking at the manager with obvious impatience.

“The system is out for maintenance,” said the bald man, “but officer why do we need to bother with this? The call was a mistake. We will send this robot back to the factory for repairs and–”

“Sir, as you should know robot murder is a felony in our city.”

“I don’t understand–”

“Agent Kalahan,” the Inspector was talking to me, “retrieve the black box from the android.” He then turned to the manager. “We better not find anything in the recordings, sir. Robot murder is punishable by death.”

“That law is absurd and it should never have been passed in the first place,” the manager said red in the face. “You can’t kill a machine that can be repaired!”

“Yes. I understand some people like you might think that. However a crime is a crime. And the appropriate punishment for murder is… death. It is not a concern of the Robot Republic that robots can be send back to the Factory for repair, unlike you humans.”

September 13, 2017 · #101ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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