The robot, nonsensically, began to play a cooking show over the place its heart should have been.
“First, we’re going to sauté the chicken…”
The voice emanating from the screen insulted Herb. He didn’t want to be advertised at, or talked to. That’s why he was here with the ducks.
“Get out of here, robot,” said Herb. “Go on, git.”
The robot, in a frenzy of confusion, shat out a birthday cake.
“What did you do?” said Herb, hearing the sound but smelling the cake.
He stood up to see the cake, fully lit, and written in icing: “Happy Birthday, Clemont!”
“What did you do?” Herb repeated.
“I made it for you,” said the robot.
“My name’s not Clemont,” said Herb, whose name was indeed not Clemont.
“Social Network Facial Recognition scans were inconclusive,” said the robot, apologetically, ashamed. What looked like the robot’s eyes, which were actually the back-up hard drives for the CPU, looked down in despair.
“I’m sorry,” it said.
“Shut up, robot.”
Herb kicked the robot. It rocked backwards, destroying Clemont’s cake. Herb had been sober for twenty-eight hours, and felt it. He kicked and kicked again, breaking the toe of his right foot.
He pushed the robot off the pier, watching as it sank.
The robot, whose operating name was OPI-99947, did not move. Triple-nine-four-seven his friends called him. Assholes called him Opi.
Opi sank to the bottom of the lake, thinking he must have deeply offended Herb for mistaking his name. He deserved to be here, he thought. Such a stupid robot I am, failing to search something as simple as a name. I should have tried harder.
“Now, let’s add a bit of oregano,” said the TV where Opi’s heart should have been.
“Oh, shut up,” said Opi, as he switched off the screen to save power, already receiving warnings that his hard drives were starting to corrode.
Opi stared into the sky, from the place his eyes actually were located, his optical lenses self-cleaning, the sun visible with its napalm sheen, and slowly a palm-sized blue rectangle floated down to keep him company.
Opi could not reach the harmonica from where he lodged in the sedentary muck. It sat a few feet away from him, as if making its entrance and waiting for a cue. Opi could not understand why he wanted so greatly to hold it.