The Boy in the Giant Robot
by Michael Thomas McCormick
Once there was a giant robot.
Every day the giant robot went to work with other robots. He had to work to get electricity. But work was hard.
Every night the giant robot came home from work. A female robot was its mate. Which means they lived in the same house, shared electricity, and disagreed about things.
One night the giant robot came home low on power. It wanted to sit in the tranquility room and recharge for a while, maybe download some news feeds, then sit in the back yard.
But the mate robot entered the tranquility room with an angry face pattern.
"You promised to degauss the flux filters today," she said.
"My promise was contingent on available time and energy."
"No such contingency was specified!" she howled.
"It was implied," explained the giant robot.
The mate robot was not pacified by this clarification. She went rapidly to the sleep chamber and sealed the door.
The giant robot had no choice. He ratcheted himself to full height, inflated his steel-belted biceps, activated his laser eyes, and turned his face into an angry scowl.
"Come back here!" he demanded. "You concluded our interaction prematurely."
"Screw you," replied the robot mate.
So the giant robot spent the night in the back yard, listening to crickets and watching the moonset.
Inside the giant robot was a boy.
A little boy lived inside the giant robot, mostly in the head area which housed a command center with viewing screens, levers, and buttons. There was also a lumpy garage sale sofa, scattered comic books, and a case of root beer. Seated in his chair within the head, the young boy had complete giant robot control.
One day at work the boss robot said there would be no raise this year for the giant robot due to "lackluster performance."
The boy saw and heard all this on the view screens inside the giant robot's head. He swung into action, first pressing a rapid-fire series of facial control buttons. In response, the giant robot's face formed an angry scowl and his eyes lit up.
The boy used several levers to ratchet up the giant robot to full height and inflate his metal biceps. Then he swung breathlessly back to the view screen where the robot boss' face was on display.
A flicker of hesitation registered on the boss' face.
Then came the audio.