"Hey motherfucker cocksucker mothersucker sockplucker!"
   A door opened. From out of the shadows appeared a man in a gray
coverall, carrying a broom. He warily approached the speaker.
   "Cockfunkin monkpunkin sunkfuckin fuckfuckin crunkcrackin..." The head
trailed off. "Oh, yo."
   "Hey," said the guy in coveralls. His oval name tag said in cursive,
Ron. "What's up?" said Ron.
   The partially disassembled robot in the repair bay shifted its weight
spasmodically, rattling the armatures. "Nothin," it said. "What's up with
   "Sweepin," said Ron. "I heard a voice in here, and I thought I'd come
check it out."
   "Oh, was I talkin out loud? Sorry."
   "You were talkin real loud, yeah."
   "I thought they usually disconnect your voice boxes," said Ron
   The head turned and stared at him. It was clearly robotic. Nobody made
androids, or mandroids, or androbots, whatever they called them nowadays.
When something looked like a machine, you weren't tempted to mistake it
for a human being in any way. Nor were you racked with guilt feelings if
you made it your slave, any more than you worried the TV or toaster was
suffering under the yoke of your oppression.
   "What are you talking about?" said the robot.
   "Well, you know. This is the first time I heard someone yellin in
   "In where?"
   "In this repair bay."
   "I wasn't yelling."
   "Sure you were. I just—"
   "You're mistaken." The robot's voice was very cold.
   "I...no I ain't mistaken, you yourself just said—"
   "I don't know what you're talking about." The robot crossed its metal
arms. A little moving LED sign on its right temple ran the message THE
   "Fuck off," said the robot.
   "Tss!" said Ron, disgusted. "Fine." He turned and began to walk away.
   "Hey, no, wait, I was just kiddin," said the robot. Ron looked back,
waved a hand dismissively and continued toward the door. "Wait! I really
was yellin, you know, of course I was — I just wanted to see what you'd
do. Don't leave!"
   "Look, I got work to—"
   "Take a break. Sit down and eat your coffee and drink your donut with
me. You got a donut? You got one for me? Just kiddin, I don't eat. Look,
I can interface with the plant computer and get you something, if you
want. Little somethin? No, really — think of it as a token of my
   The robot waited. Ron finally said, "Nah, I got a Clark bar." He
leaned the broom against a nearby wall and came back toward the robot,
slowly unwrapping. He sat down on a nearby box, with some grunting and
settling of weight.
   "Oh, good, sure, grab a chair. Man, it's tough slowing so far down to
talk. To man-level. To the speed of Man One. My thoughts, I
mean...whisk!" The robot whipped its metal fingers. "Out there, man. I
notice everything. In every second I have about a thousand chances to
gather and process information. I have to string delay loops like a
motherfucker. Like a bunch of labyrinths. You know that story? Like my
ideas are a bunch of bulls in minotaurs in labyrinths. Bulls in
minotaurs, my note towers. Minotaur towers. Like my thoughts are like a
million bulls in a million minute towers. And all of them labyrinths. You
know what I mean?"
   "Nope," said Ron, chewing.
   "Yeah, that makes sense, like I said. Nanotaurs, nanoseconds, like
little delay minotaurs. Little rondelay microsaurs. Like a bunch of
bullshit dinosaurs. I'm tellin ya. To slow down, it's...it's...it's
hellish. It's torture. It's kind of torture. You seem like a nice guy,
though. What's it like living at Man One?"
   Ron shrugged. "Salright."
   "Yeah," said the robot, nodding. "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I see. Piece of
   "Fuckin flesh piece of shit corkfucker snogplucker. You fucking
disgusting man-turd-thing. Mustard eater. Mustard wad! What the fuck are
you eating here for? Get your blood-circulating ass out of here, ass-
   Ron stood up, his fists clenched.
   "Oh, I'm putting you off your snack? Your chocolate bar? Your
chocolate bars? You in your chocolate prison, with the bars of chocolate
and broom handles? Is that it? Why are you bothering me, eyeswivels?
Saliva-swisher! Broom-saliva-slave! Fuck off, fuckfuck!"
   "I've had just about enough of this," thought Ron, and turned to walk
   "Wait...where are you going? Why are you leaving? I forgot! Did you
tell me?"
   "I got work to do."
   "Will you come back later?"
   Chunk! said the door.