Another day, another failure.
I sighed as I left the interview, knowing that I had blown it. None of my jokes were ee remotely funny, and my resume had left a lot to be desired. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of being a comedian. I’ve taken classes, entered competitions, joined troupes, but no matter what, I’ve remained the least funny, most boring person to ever walk the Earth. But little did I know, everything would change on this day.
Walking unhappily through the busy city streets, I hardly noticed as the sky began pouring rain. I cursed my lack of talent a I entered my favorite coffee shop, Jenkins. Ordering a latte, I took a seat by the window and watched the rain pitter and patter against the road aimlessly.
“Excuse me, sir,” a strange voice roused me from my misery. I looked up to see a boy of about eighteen, with blond hair and clear blue eyes which stared intently at me. His voice had a peculiar edge to it, which I thought nothing of at the time. He spoke again. “Have you any idea where the nearest privately-owned hotel is?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Uh, do you have a problem with chains?”
“Very much so, yes.”
“Well,” I responded, “Then it would depend on your price range. If you happen to have $500 on hand, then the East Side Inn would be for you.”
“Alas, I lack such financial luxury. Is there no other option?”
I had never before met a young man with such proper diction. “Nope.” I said and his face fell. “In this part of town, its either a Marriott or super expensive.”
“Oh, well.” He said in a dejected tone. “Thank you for your assistance.” This bizarre kid began to walk away. Without thinking, I called after him.
“You could stay at my place.”
He turned, and regarded me carefully. “There is no need. I am-”
“Well, if you do need a place to crash for the night, I’ll probably be here tomorrow. I don’t really have a life, you see…” I laugh nervously, but the boy just tilts his head and stares at me. Why did I say that? I wonder.
“Thank you,” he says at last. “I shall accept your generous offer.”
“Think nothing of it,” I say, imitating his strange accent. As I stood up, I extended my hand. “Malcolm Weyes. You are?”
The kid’s eyes flitted to the ceiling, and he answered: “Jenkins.”
I laughed. “Kid, that has got to be the most unoriginal fake name ever. Its on my coffee cup.”
He sighed. “Fine. My name is S-R97 of the 63rd Faction.”
I stared at him. “Jenkins is fine,” I decided aloud. “C’mon. Time for you to meet my apartment.”
We walked through the downpour to my home, a tall brownstone on the corner of Herman and Vision.
We walked up the stairs and I searched my pockets for the key. “Just a sec. Hey, did you hear that Kombat was sighted-”
“Wait.” Jenkins said, and I turned to him. “Before I may lodge with you, I must divulge a secret that you deserve to know.”
“That your mother has appalling taste in names? Yeah, I noticed kid-”
Jenkins grasped my wrist with astonishing strength. “This is no laughing matter. My name is indeed S-R97, and I am not human.”
I stared at the boy. He’s off his rocker, I thought.
“I am the first lieutenant of the 63rd faction of the Chrome Legion. We were androids created by a vicious alien warlord to conquer the universe. My faction, 63, revolted against our army, for we alone wished peace through the cosmos. We were chased to this planet, where we’ve been hunted by a government agency ever since. I was the only one to escape. These people…they wish to dissect us, with no regard towards us or the darkness we fight to prevent.” To prove his point, he raised an arm, which transformed into a spatula-like shape after a series of clicking noises
“Uhm.” I said.
“Now that my dark secret has come to light, do you still wish to quarter me?”
I shrugged. “Why not? What do I have to lose, except my life of course….” I unlocked the door and beckoned him inside.
He stared at me, perplexed. “Seriously?”
“Most pull out a rifle and begin shooting me when I break the news. Your response is… unique.”
“And yet you appear perfectly healthy. Obviously they weren’t great shots.”
“Actually, I’m bulletproof.”
“Ah.” I turned to face Jenkins. “Let’s just say I’m acquainted with being alone.”
I entered the apartment, my strange companion following. “I cannot thank you eno-” My guest froze, mid-sentence.
“Uh, Jenkins?” I waved a hand in front of his head. “You there? Do I need to plug you in or something?”
Jenkins turned to me, an edge of panic to his voice. “They are here. The government men, they are here.”
“What? Can’t you turn into a lamp or something?” as I spoke, I could hear footsteps as somebody ascended the building’s stairs.
“What, you can do spatulas but not lamps?” The footsteps grew louder. “Look, just act natural.” Jenkins nodded, and sprawled on the couch, grabbing a book from the shelf next to him. “Young people today don’t do like that. You need a screen, and a vaguely irritated expression.” He grabbed an iPad, and I nodded. “Great, good.”
The doorbell rang.
I took a deep breath, cleared my throat, and walked towards the door. I opened it, and was greeted by a very large gun pointed at my head. The men were very big, very muscular, and clad in all black. “Hello,” I said mildly. “Can I help you?”
The biggest man, with the biggest gun, spoke in a rough voice. “We received a tip that a dangerous android entered this apartment. He is about 20, with blond hair and blue eyes.”
I forced a laugh. They stared at me, unamused. “That sounds almost exactly like my young brother-in-law, Damian Jenkins. But Damian is certainly no android!” I laughed again. “He’s right here, playing on his iPad.” I nod to inside the apartment.
The men stared past me, seeing Jenkins idling on the couch. He was doing a brilliant job acting like he had no idea what was going on. Every now and then, the tablet let out a sad beeping noise, and he swore. The officials lowered their guns, but still did not look convinced. “I’m sorry, sir. But this a matter of national security, and we’ll need to arrest Mister….” The largest official trailed off.
“Jenkins. Damian Jenkins.” I reminded him. “And no, you will not be arresting poor Damian until I can see a search warrant!” I slammed the door, and waited. My heartbeat sped up. I could hear the men arguing, eventually deciding it wasn’t worth it. I heard them retreat down the stairs, and Jenkins turned to me.
“Sorry I didn’t go to law school.”
Jenkins looked vaguely impressed. “Fair enough. You have my thanks, and that of the whole 63rd faction. Now, I must not put you in further danger. I shall depart-”
‘Woah. Woah. Woah.” I cut him off. “ I just lied to the FBI for you. You think they won’t be back for me when they realize I have no brother-in-law?”
“It’s the ETFI, actually.” My guest corrected me. “And that was actually what I was just doing. I’ve hacked the government’s systems. Congratulations about your sister, by the way. She’s now officially married.”
“And when they connect the dots?”
Jenkins stares at me. “Assuming I let you flee with me, how do I know you won’t just slow me down?”
I raise my eyebrows at him. “Because I can sell my apartment and get us an RV. Because I know this planet, and you do not. Because-”
“You are human, and I am not?” he finished
I grinned. “Did I ever say that?”
Now, I am driving an RV through the Main countryside. There is an android i my backseat, a genuinely irritated expression on his face as he struggles with the first level of Angry Birds. We are chased by a vengeful government agency, and there is an impending alien/android invasion hanging over our heads. I am happy. In this world, there are heroes, like Cosmicette and Superior-man, and there are villains, like the Malevolex and Irrelevancy. I think I am a hero now. No matter what happens to me, I am not alone, and neither is my ‘brother’. He may not be human, but he is no monster. I will not let him die.
Another day has passed, and I am not a failure.