“The Borscht Mother”

Here’s my 6th robot-death story, this one for David Demchuk!


“What’s that thing, mum?”

Little Davey Demchuk sat at the kitchen table, a bowl of borscht in front of him, spoon at the ready. It hovered there, frozen, as the object at the far end of the table caught his eye.

“That’s a matryoshka doll,” his mother replied.

“What’s a matter-yosker doll?”

His mother laughed. She turned from the stove where she was ladling borscht into her own bowl, walked toward her chair, sat down. She put the bowl in front of her, then picked up the doll. “Matryoshka dolls are nested inside each other, starting with a big one, and getting smaller and smaller as you open them up. Want to see?”

“Yeah!” Little Davey said.

“Okay, watch.” His mother opened the first doll to reveal a slightly smaller one inside. Then another, and another. Davey’s eyes widened with each opening until she got to the last one, which looked impossibly small to Davey. They were now all lined up in a row on the table.

“Wow!” he said, and smiled from ear to ear.

“Yes, very neat, wouldn’t you say?” His mother beamed just as widely as her son at his happiness. It had always been this way. She lived for him, and he for her.

“Hey,” Davey said, his smile suddenly slipping from his face, “what’s that one doing, mum?”

“What one, darling?” she said, and looked down, following his gaze.

The largest of the dolls seemed to be putting itself back together. The two pieces were slowly but surely coming together again all on their own. Mother and son just stared as this happened. Davey’s mother instantly thought it was a curse coming to bear on them, some punishment coming due. Davey just thought it was awesome.

Once the biggest one had put itself together, the second biggest started doing the same thing—and on down the line. Davey’s mother pushed her chair back very slowly while they did this, as if any sudden movement might alert them to her presence.

When they were all fully back together, they started to move. Davey’s mother stood up and shrieked, knocking her chair over in the process.

It sounded to Davey like little gears were moving inside the dolls. It was faint, but he was sure he could hear it.


No answer.

“Mum, what do we do?” Davey asked and, for the first time, felt the sting of terror in his heart. He pushed his own chair back, and ran quickly to his mother. She hugged him to her side. Davey buried his face in her chest. He was more afraid of her reaction than of the little dolls themselves.

But that was about to change.

The whirring of the gears got louder, and the dolls formed a tight circle. They began vibrating, jittering on the table, as if communicating with each other. A two-inch spike suddenly shot out of each of the dolls’ chests. They turned toward Davey and his mother, the vibrating becoming more forceful until they were bouncing all over the table.

That’s when they struck.

They launched themselves from the table en masse, and drove their spikes into Davey’s mother’s head. Most of them landed on the top of her skull, but the smaller ones wound up on her face, dotting her cheeks and forehead, still whirring with life.

Davey batted at them with his little hands, but it did nothing. They were stuck in hard.

Strangely, his mother did not scream, or struggle in any way. She just stood there with the dolls all over her head, and stared forward. The dolls stopped wriggling then, their gears winding down. Whatever they’d done to his mother, it was over. They sat motionless on her skin.

Then she spoke:

“More soup?” she said, her voice inflectionless. It no longer sounded at all like Davey’s mother.

Davey began to cry.

She moved to the stove, picked up the ladle there, and stirred the soup. “Sit down,” she said in her weird new voice, “and we’ll have more soup. Borscht is best served with love. And my love for you is forever. It will never, ever die. Sit down, darling. Sit down.”

Davey walked slowly to his chair, sat down, still bawling, tears obscuring his vision.

His mother stirred the soup fast for a minute, then slowed down more and more until Davey calmed down a bit, tears drying on his face. His breath still came in hitches, but his vision had cleared, and he could think somewhat straight again.

“Mom?” he said quietly—almost too quietly to be heard. But the new mother heard him. She would always be able to hear her only son, no matter where he went, and no matter how quiet he became.

Instead of answering in words, she suddenly stopped stirring the soup, and turned to face her son.

As little Davey watched, a thin crack formed down one side of her body, opening, opening . . .

Inside, he saw another mother. A slightly smaller version. And then that version opened, too.

On and on, deeper and deeper inside, until this new being, this flayed mother, stood before him. Red the colour of beetroot.

Davey’s tears came harder this time, obscuring his vision once again. He bowed his head, unable to look at the creature anymore.

And when it finally spoke, it did not speak of love.


Killer review of A PERFECT MACHINE by Corey Redekop!

Yeah, this one made my whole damn week:


Here’s a snippet:

‘While on its surface A Perfect Machine would appear to fit comfortably within the genre niche of “science fiction thriller”, it quickly proves itself to have a lot more on its mind. Savory isn’t afraid to push his story away from its more straightforward Running Man underpinnings and into the mind-melting strangeness inherent of the writings of Stanislaw Lem, Theodore Sturgeon, Samuel R. Delany, and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. If I may attempt to translate the novel into more cinematic terms (an apt tactic, I believe, considering the vastly cinematic nature of the narrative), the tale of Kyllo’s transformation is Philip K. Dick by way of David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky, with a side trip into the body horrors of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, H. R. Giger’s biomechanical artwork, and the gruesome Japanese cyberpunk film Tetsuo: The Iron Man.’

“Sucked to Death”

Robot death #5! This one for Greg Herren.


“I had a friend who once stuck his doinker in a Roomba,” Chip said, raking leaves with his friend and business partner, Greg. They owned a gardening company together.

“Ha. Good one. A friend,” Greg replied, using air quotes for the word friend.

“No, honestly, not me. Buddy of mine. Don’t think you know him. Steve Jenkinson.”

“That name sounds super-made-up.”

“Your face sounds super-made-up,” Chip said, and smiled wide.

“How can my face sound like anything? That doesn’t even make sense.”

“You face doesn’t even make—”

“Ugh,” Greg grunted, cutting Chip off.

“Come on, seriously, you think I’d stick my doinker in a Roomba? You think I’m that dumb?” Chip asked, stuffing a handful of leaves into a yard bag.

“Well, let’s see. You’re dumb enough to trot out ‘Steve Jenkinson’ as a name to cover up for the fact that you stuck your cock in a Roomba, so yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say you’re that dumb,” said Greg.

“Oh, like ‘Greg Herren’ is such a real-sounding name.”

Greg just stared at his friend for a while, aghast at his idiocy. Then he said: “Anyway, tell me about the time you stuck your cock in a Roomba.”

Chip sighed. “Forget it.”

The next day, finishing up the same lawn:

“Have you heard about iRobot’s new Roomba model?” Chip asked.

“Is this another non-story about your friend ‘Steve’ getting a Roomba blowy?” Greg replied.

“No. And shut up. I do have a friend name Steve Jenkinson.”

“Okay, but imaginary friends don’t count. You know that, right?”

“Haha. Whatever. Listen, this is serious. iRobot’s new Roomba is a joint venture with Dyson so they could get maximum sucking power. It’s a full-size man or woman of your choice. You can make it look like anyone you want. And it vacuums your fucking house. So rad.”

Greg propped his rake against a tree. “Say what now?” He wiped sweat from his brow, and sat down with his back against the tree.

“Hey, it’s not break time,” Chip said, playfully whacking Greg with his rake.

“Yes, it is. I can’t very well be expected to rake leaves and listen to your ridiculous bullshit.”

Chip leaned his own rake next to Greg’s, pulled out his smartphone, tapped it a bunch of times, swiped here and there, then turned the screen toward Greg, and leaned down. “Look, fuck-knuckle. The new Roomba/Dyson hybrid.”

Greg sighed and took the phone from Chip’s hand. His eyes widened considerably. “Jesus H.”

“See? Told ya, dingus.”

The image on the screen was of a very attractive man holding a vacuum—rather, the vacuum was one of its arms, seamlessly blending from a hand into a pipe, broadening out to become a vacuum head when it reached the floor.

“Creepy, but . . . yeah, dude is super-hot. No argument there,” Greg said, passed the phone back to Chip. “You gonna name yours Steve Jenkinson?”

Chip kicked Greg in the feet. “Shut it, filth.”

“Seriously, though, are you gonna get one?”

“They’re way too expensive for me.”

“What if I bought you one?”

“Whoa, you’d do that?” Chip asked, suddenly very excited.

“Sure, why not? I have some extra dough socked away, and I still owe you some for the extra you’ve put into the business. And hey, you’re my buddy, and it makes me sad that no one wants to blow you.”

Chip kicked Greg’s feet again, this time much harder.

“Hey, easy! Save that energy for your new boyfriend,” Greg said, standing back up, and brushing himself off.

They raked up the rest of the leaves, and put the yard bags at the end of the customer’s driveway for pick-up. He wouldn’t tell Chip but, truth be told, Greg was pretty excited to see what this sexy vacuuming robot was all about.

When it arrived four days later, Greg was at Chip’s house playing video games with him.

The doorbell rang, and Chip nearly knocked everything off his coffee table leaping for the door.

“Christ! Take it easy!” Greg yelled after him. “You really do have toxic sperm build-up, don’t you?”

Chip ignored him, whipped open the door, flirted with the FedEx guy while he signed for the massive box sitting on his porch.

“Hey,” Chip yelled into the living room, “help me get this monster into the house!”

They hauled it in, unpacked it, put it together, and now stood appreciating it in the living room.

“It has a very nice penis,” Chip said.

“Yes. Yes, it does,” Greg agreed.

“Want to turn it on, see if it works?”

“Should we put some clothes on it first?”

Chip considered this for a moment. “Why bother?”

“Just less creepy is all. He’s very creepy right now, don’t you think? His dong just hanging out like that.”

“No, I like it. No clothes for him. That’s settled,” Chip said and grinned at Greg.

“Fine, have it your way.”

Chip leaned forward and flicked the on switch.

The moment it came to life, it dropped to its knees and started sucking at the air with its mouth. It raised its hands like it was cupping a shaft and balls.

“Jesus!” Greg said. “Are there different settings? It must be set to SexBot or something. Turn it off. That’s disturbing as hell.”

“Says the guy who has no trouble getting blown,” Chip said.

“Well, if you’re leaving it like that, I’m outta here.”

Greg headed for the door, a shiver winding its way up his spine. Something about the thing’s eyes . . . Christ. Horrifying.

Behind him, the robot stood up. “Where are you going, friend?” it asked.

Greg froze, turned around slowly, tried not to look directly into the thing’s eyes.

“You bought me to clean Chip’s house and give you blowjobs,” it said.

“Good lord,” Greg muttered under his breath. “I’m not your fucking friend, you weird-ass machine. Now back off.”

It dropped to its knees and started sucking the air again. “Give me your cock, friend. Give it to me. Give it to me. RIGHT NOW.” On the last two words, its voice dropped several octaves. “GET IT IN ME. GET IT IN ME RIGHT NOW.”

The slurping sounds were horrendous. Greg involuntarily backed up till he slammed against the door. The hand motions were harsher now. Greg imagined his dick in those hands being pummelled and crushed.

“Turn it off, Chip. Jesus! Something’s obviously wrong with it. Turn the goddamn thing off!”

Chip moved forward, tried flicking the off/on switch, but nothing happened. It stood up again, starting moving toward Greg, sucking the air, slurping sloppily, drool now running from the corners of its mouth.

“It won’t shut off, Greg. Fuck! What do I do?”

“Kick it! Punch it! Do something!”

Chip tried pushing it over, tried punching it, but it didn’t stop, didn’t even waver.

Then it was right in front of Greg, who stood paralyzed by fear. His hand reached behind him, scrambling blindly for the doorknob, but the robot’s hand pulled Greg’s away from the knob, moved it down to its engorged penis.

“STROKE ME,” it said in its nasty, guttural voice. Then it dropped to its knees for a third time, and its voice changed to an insistent whisper. “LOVE ME, LOVE ME.”

Greg screamed as the robot pulled his pants down hard, jammed Greg’s cock in its mouth. It sucked and sucked, its Dyson motor revving up to full power. Its eyes rolled back in its head.


That’s when Greg lost consciousness.

Right before his cock was ripped off entirely by the force of the vacuum engine, he heard Chip very far away, saying, “But . . . it was supposed to be my robot. No fair. It was supposed to be mine.”

Chip called 911, but Greg bled to death on Chip’s floor before the ambulance could arrive.

The next day, Chip returned the robot for a full refund, and ordered a regular Roomba instead. He used the extra refunded money to pay for Greg’s funeral.

And a blowy from his friend Steve Jenkinson.

“The Universe Understands”

Finished my fourth robot-death story yesterday, “The Universe Understands,” for Ali Magnum.




The pensioner didn’t know what hit him.

One minute, he was just waiting at the bus stop, the next, he had a knife embedded hilt-deep in his ribs. He fell over, gasping for air. Ali Magnum kicked him twice in the face.

“Goddamn, you’re old,” she said.

He gurgled, then passed out from loss of blood.

A good citizen across the street called 911.

Ali fled the scene.

“I knifed a pensioner today,” Ali said over breakfast the next day.

“Oh, yeah? Who was it? Anyone you know?” the man across from her at the table said.

“Nah, just some old, used-up fuck,” Ali said and sneered around her mouthful of Honey Nut Cheerios.

“You do know you’re a horrible person who’s going to one day meet a disastrous end, don’t you? You have to know that.”

“Oh, I know,” Ali said. “I know very well. I even have hopes for how it happens.”

She let that hang over the table for a while, then she wiped her mouth with her sleeve, pushed back from her chair, said, “Well, I’m off to desecrate a church. Back by noon.”

The man, his mouth full of cereal, just nodded, waved his hand in Ali’s general direction.

Ali marched into the closest church she could find, threw open the big double doors, and hollered, “Everyone get the fuck out! I’m burnin’ this bitch to the ground!”

The pastor abruptly stopped speaking at the pulpit. The congregation turned in their pews, faces a sea of shocked horror.

“Go on,” Ali said, “get up, and get the fuck out! This is my church now.”

Some people panicked and ran immediately for the various exits. Others were still in shock, and just stared dumbly at Ali. She waved around the jerry can she’d picked up at the hardware store and filled up along the way. “This is full of gasoline, you dimwits. If you want to die horribly in a fire, by all means remain seated, but if you want to live, stand up and vacate the fucking premises!”

“Hey!” a young man a few pews over yelled. “Aren’t you the woman who stabbed that pensioner at the bus stop this morning?”

“Yeah, that was me,” Ali said. “Which is how you know I mean business about this whole church-burning thing. Now get out.”

“That was pretty great,” the young man said. “I’ve always hated that old bastard. Fred Mersten. He always looked at me like he wanted to eat me.”

“Glad to be of service, then. Now go,” Ali said, and started dousing the pews and aisles in gas. More people screamed and ran out the doors.

“Oh, now people believe me. Jesus Christ. This is why humanity is in such a shit state. It takes so goddamn much to prove to people that you mean to actually murder them.”

“Hey,” the young man said, now standing up and walking over to where Ali was liberally sprinkling gas on some old fuck who’d fallen asleep and still hadn’t woken up, despite all the shouting and general commotion. Maybe he was already dead. “I totally dig where you’re going with this ’cause I love to destroy things, too—especially people and churches—but you know the pastor is a robot, right? They’re programmed to kill if their congregation is threatened.”

Ali stopped with the gas for a moment, looked up at the pastor, who looked entirely like a human being. “Um, that’s a person, dipshit. Robots are metal. Nice try, though.”

“Nah, nah, they make robots nowadays that look like humans but are actually metal underneath.”

Ali stopped again. She’d seen movies like that before. She looked up at the pastor, who stood motionless at his pulpit still. That is a bit weird, she thought. Why wasn’t he trying to stop her, or running away like everyone else?

“Hey, pastor shit-for-brains!” Ali shouted.

The pastor didn’t move or answer, just stood with his hands on either side of the pulpit.

Ali sighed, walked toward him, dripping a line of gas in her wake. When she reached him, she raised the can to eye level where he could see it, then dropped it to the floor. “I ain’t fuckin’ around, dummy.”

The only ones left in the church now were the young man, the old (possibly already dead) man in the pew, Ali, and the pastor.

She poked the pastor in the chest. “Oy, fucko. I’m talkin’ to you.”

The pastor just stared straight ahead.

Ali glanced back at the young man, who now looked very nervous. He said, “Listen, uh, I’m gonna bounce, but, um, yeah, keep it real, yo. Fight the power, or whatever!”

The young man ran out the door as fast as his legs would take him.

Ali shrugged, turned back to the pastor. She poked him hard in the chest.

“I’m gonna burn down your church, and you ain’t gonna try to stop me? What the fuck is that about? Don’t have the courage of your convictions?”

The pastor finally moved. He turned his head slowly to face Ali.

“On behalf of the iRobot corporation, and its continuing directive to prevent religious hate crimes of the sort you are perpetrating, I sentence you to death.”

Ali frowned. Could it be, she thought? No, impossible. Too good to be true. “Well, on behalf of fuck you, I don’t give a shit,” she said, and reached into her pocket, retrieved a Zippo lighter, flicked it, produced a flame.

As she dropped the lighter, the pastor extended a hand so quickly that Ali had no time to react. He snatched the lighter out of the air, pulled it back and calmly put it into one of the folds of his robe. Then he spoke gently: “Haven’t you always wanted to be killed by a robot, Ali? Hasn’t that always been the way you wanted to die?”

“How did you . . . Who told you that? And how do you know my—?”

“No one told me, Ali. The universe knows everything, and we are all part of that universe. Sometimes things just coalesce into moments like this, and we get our wishes. What’s the phrase humans use? . . . ‘Dreams sometimes do come true.’ You murder people to feel free. Nothing else makes you feel like you exist. I understand. The universe understands.”

Ali began to cry.

The old (not dead after all) man, soaked with gasoline in one of the pews, woke up, stood shakily, and wandered out into the chilly morning air.

The pastor removed the lighter from the folds of his robe, offered it to Ali. Tears in her eyes, she took it from the robot’s hand. “You cannot leave this place, Ali Magnum, but do not be ungrateful for what the universe has given you. I’ll be waiting outside,” he said, and walked slowly out the door.

When he was gone, Ali flicked the wheel of the lighter. A smile crept through the tears on her cheeks. She dropped it. Flames licked up from the floor immediately.

She did not scream while she burned.