Kevin Eric Paul is a Finnish Canadian fiction writer currently residing in Ottawa (originally Thunder Bay). He enjoys working on genre novels and short stories, always under the close supervision of his old tortoiseshell cat Mittens. "An Android Story, Literally" is in Short Circuit #13, Short Édition's quarterly review.

Image of Short Circuit - Short Circuit #13
"Oh, Geoffrey! Good. You're finally home. Just put it all on the kitchen table. Were you able to get everything I wanted for the party?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"It's just that it's so late, did you run into any tr—Aaahhhh!! Geoffrey! What's happened to you?"

"I encountered some difficulties, ma'am. At the baker's, and again on my way home."

"You're filthy. Dirt, everywhere, and . . . vegetable oil? Grease? And what's all that red splatter . . . that's not blood, is it? Are you feeling quite alright, Geoffrey?"

"Before my departure, I ran a complete diagnostic, as per regulations. I am operating under normal parameters."

"But what about the update last night? Could it have . . ."

"Normal parameters, ma'am."

"I think you've got some explaining to—oh, hang on, I'd better get this. Hello? Yes, this is she. Yes, that's the serial number of my . . . oh. Oh, no. Really? He couldn't have . . .You're quite sure? Yes. Yes, sir. I will. Right away. Oh, for the love of . . . Geoffrey?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Enable stationary mode."

"Stationary mode enabled."

"Geoffrey, the police are on their way. You're in some hot water."

"You are mistaken, ma'am. I am not currently immersed in liquid of any temperature."

"Don't beat around the bush. What happened? Out with it!"

"There are no bushes present, ma'am, and I am unable to beat anything while in stationary mode. But I can inform you of the details of my excursion. Where would you like me to begin, ma'am?"

"Well . . . for starters, what is that . . . goop all over your arms?"

"It is butter."

"Butter? Why on earth—"

"You may recall, ma'am, that you told me that it may not be possible to obtain custom-made confectionaries on short notice. You further informed me that I may need to persuade the employees of the bakery to comply with the request. I retrieved some blocks of frozen water from their cooler and proceeded to pulverize them, however this action was not received well by the baker's clerk."

"So, you were trying to . . . break the ice?"

"At your suggestion, ma'am, and I did not simply try. I was successful. But it appeared to have a negative effect, rather than positive."

"Geoffrey, what does this have to do with the butter?"

"When destroying the blocks of ice did not achieve a satisfactory result, I tried another of your suggestions. The baker's clerk resisted and called out for aid, but I was able to cover most of his surface area with butter."

"You . . . buttered him up? Literally? Geoffrey, something must be—"

"Normal parameters, ma'am. I regret to inform you that your butter strategy also failed, at which time I resorted to the final option you presented. The baker responded to his colleague's cries as I twisted his arm and promised to prepare your custom order immediately."

"You assaulted an innocent worker and held him hostage to force the baker to make up the order? Have you gone mad?"

"Normal parameters, ma'am. Need I remind you that I was merely following your instructions?"

"Well, I suppose technically . . . but this isn't my fault. You're the one who—"

". . . followed your directions, ma'am."

"Well, hear that? Sirens. The police are nearly here. Now, please tell me that's red icing all over you and not human blood."

"It is indeed blood, ma'am."

"Do I even want to . . . whose is it?"

"I do not know their name, ma'am. While the baker was working on your order, I left to obtain proper payment. You did mention that it could be quite expensive."

"Oh, no . . . you didn't . . ."

"They were compensated generously, as per your instructions."

"You don't mean . . ."

"I paid them with an arm and a leg."

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