(too confusing for my fans, I tried to be clever by avoiding naming things)
Once upon a time there was a shiny robot. He was covered in silver paint, and had square eyes that were large enough for him to be cute like a puppy. His body was modeled on the human body, but he had mittens for hands and boots for feet. His mouth was just a speaker, and his ears had been just drilled in so that nothing stuck out. Above his mouth speaker, some clever engineer had attached subwoofers in the shape of a small moustache.
The robot doll lived in a rental shop outside an amusement park that was Trademarked so that even the mention of its name in a short story like this might entail royalties. We’ll call it Trademark Park. If someone rented the robot, he would tell them the history of the park while they walked around inside it. But he wasn’t an official, Trademark Park storyteller, so he wasn’t rented often.
Then came the day of the tourists who all do the same thing. Most days tourists will try to stand out from one another, but on this day the Trademark Park official storyteller stand ran out of storytellers and needed to find just one more for a last minute visit by a government official who was just part of the common people. He was part of the common people, but he expected that he would be treated like, well, Royalty.
So a breathless Trademark Park Storytelling Booth employee came into the rental shop and rented all the unofficial Storytellers. There was Rodney the Rat-Eared Rabbit, Hugo the Hacking Hippo, Jumbo the Jilted Elephant, and our friend Robby the Robot. The employee used a quantity of hand sanitizer before touching the toys as if she thought they were all contagious and might dilute her Trademark. Then she ran back to the Booth and presented the government official’s daughters with their choice. The younger chose Robby, and they walked around the Park happily together.
But unlike the other rented talking toys, Robbie had been programmed with the advanced sensor, a little known override that let him take people on the “unofficial” tour. Robbie’s last rentor had paid extra and then the owner had forgotten to take the extra chip out. So the government official’s youngest daughter was given instructions that allowed her to slip into a back door, behind the scenes, to give her a shortcut into a ride.
Since the government official was so much part of the common people he had a security detail with him, the disappearance of his daughter set off a lockdown in Trademark Park. Very worried employees kept anyone from leaving, bathrooms were checked, and everywhere was looked through.
But no one thought of the back tunnels, where the youngest daughter was now following a character of Trademark Park, holding her Robot doll. He would have asked her who she was and solved the whole issue, but he was under strict orders to never, ever, under any circumstances, reveal that he was, in fact, just a regular human being. So he plodded along, and the youngest daughter followed him stealthily. They walked under much of the park, and came out an employee’s entrance. Not knowing what else to do, the character got into his car and the youngest daughter jumped into the back seat. Of course, the security cameras caught the whole thing, and since they were being monitored by satellite, the international news media had the story within a minute. Some unnamed blogger posted the story six seconds before everyone else, so he was given fame for breaking the story first. “Unnamed Trademark character kidnaps government official’s daughter” was what the headlines read.
The poor character was wondering what to do, but Robbie the Robot was programmed to promote outside the park concessions. So the government official’s daughter was given a choice of where she’d like to eat. She chose a ubiquitous fast food franchise, and asked the Trademarked character to stop and come in with her. He did so, not knowing what else to do, and thereby narrowly avoiding the massive onrush of law enforcement. The arrival of the government official’s daughter and the Trademarked character at the fast food franchise caused a stir of excitement and a choking fit in aisle six, where a media consultant of the Trademarked company had been watching the story on her smartphone of infinite smartness. She saw the two of them and imagined what the next headline would be. Instead, she snapped a picture and ran the following: “Trademarked company goes above and beyond: handling an offsite request for ice cream.” She posted that to the official blog, hoping that this wouldn’t be the last act of her career.
The post went viral, and commentators were quick to rush to the Trademarked company’s defense. The Trademarked company’s stock, which had been plummeting, recovered. Law enforcement still surrounded the fast food franchise, but they all had the information on their cell phones before they all went in and escorted the character and the government official’s youngest daughter to safety.
So the next time you go to the Trademarked park, look for the government officials’ children carrying Robbie the Robot dolls. The dolls have been programmed to take them on a little “pre-arranged” escape tour, where they go through a back door, end up behind the scenes, and are escorted to get ice cream by their favorite character. The original Robbie the Robot doll was confiscated by law enforcement, but had to be returned, unchanged, to the rental shop. The owner signed papers that he would never rent the original Robbie out again, but if you drive by his shop he has Robbie behind bulletproof glass in the window.
- Robby, the Genderbent Robot, or What’s So Forbidden About this Planet? (professortroubles.wordpress.com)
- Forbidden Planet Review (Sci-fi Movie Week) [Review by Mark] (thebishopreview.com)
- Robby The Robot Becomes Invisible (futurelawyer.typepad.com)
- Robots Rule: A Top Ten List of Robots (carlplumer.com)