“Robot Fabio”

Here’s my robot-death story for Leigh Teetzel, entitled “Robot Fabio.” Enjoy!


ROBOT FABIO

“Enough of these fucking Fabios,” Leigh Teetzel said, pushed away from her desk, stood up, and went for lunch.

She had worked at Marlekwin—a publisher that produced bodice-rippers—for fifteen years now, and had seen more bullshit in print than she’d care to admit. Her job as an editor saw her routinely shovelling ten pounds of literary shit into a five-pound bag, which is what had been happening when, yet again, her upper Fabio limit had been reached, and she needed a break. This—coupled with the ridiculous behaviour of the women in most of these books—had again amounted to all she could take.

Also, it was lunchtime, and food in her belly usually calmed her down enough to dive back into the horror come 1 p.m.

She rode the elevator down to street level, headed over to the Starbucks inside the giant office building that housed the Marlekwin offices. She stood in line, muttering under her breath about Fabios and the useless women who loved them.

What do these women think they’re going to get when they marry these kinds of guys? They’re just meat with eyes, for chrissakes! And why do the women who write the damn books want to perpetuate this crap!?

She must have still been scowling when she got to the front of the line because the barista asked, “Why so glum!?” All cheery and full of beans.

She had the sudden urge to slap the ridiculous smile right off his hipster face.

Instead, she took a deep breath, and said simply, “Just work stress. Nothing that won’t pass.”

The guy nodded appreciatively. “Heh, yeah. We’ve all been there. Mondays, am I right?”

She forced a smile that looked like she’d just swallowed a bee. She tried to emit a chuckle, but a croak came out instead. Dropping the charade, she let her face fall, and said, “Just a large coffee, please. Black.”

“Robot Fabio?” the guy said.

Leigh was digging in her wallet for change, and didn’t hear what he’d said.

“Miss, you said, ‘Robot Fabio,’ right?”

This time she heard him. She looked up, faintly alarmed. “What did you say?”

The guy rolled his eyes a little. “Your order. Robot Fabio. Is that correct?”

Leigh just stared at him. “Uhhhhh . . .”

She turned around quickly to see if the guy behind her had heard the same thing. He just looked annoyed.

“I asked for a large black coffee.”

“Right,” the barista said. “Robot Fabio coming right up. Can I have a name for the order?”

“Excuse me, sorry. What’s a Robot Fabio, and why do you keep saying that’s my order?”

The barista looked confused. “Because that’s what you asked for. Can I have a name, please?”

“Leigh,” she said. “For a large black coffee, though, right?”

The barista scowled. “Yes, exactly. That’s what I said. Several times.” He walked away from the counter, went into the staff room.

Leigh wondered what the hell had just happened. She put her money on the counter for when the barista returned.

Moments later, a robot that vaguely resembled Fabio came out with the barista. It had apparently been put together without much care: the hair was clearly a women’s cheap wig; its pecs looked like stretched turkey skin, and the penis (which was, alarmingly, exposed) was quite obviously a fat pork sausage. The rest of the body was metal. It clanked across the floor, hydraulic noises accompanying every step. It reminded Leigh of the T-1000 in The Terminator—if it had been put together by a romance writer high as fuck on LSD.

The barista called out, “Robot Fabio! Robot Fabio for Leigh!”

Leigh wasn’t sure whether to run and hide, or put up her hand. In the end, it didn’t matter. Robot Fabio spotted her, and came out from behind the counter. “Hello, Leigh,” it said, amiably enough, its voice sounding like a digitized version of Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.

Up close, it was even more horrific. The metal of its face looked melted, and now she could see that it used to have skin, but it had been burned off at some point. Tatters of it still clung to the steel here and there, like a robotic Leatherface.

She backed up as it came closer. She turned to look at the other patrons, assuming she’d see looks of horror on their faces, too, but they only looked annoyed. The guy who’d been behind her in line, said, “Jeez, lady, what’s with all the drama? Just take your order and go already.”

Robot Fabio clunked past her, opened the door, said, “After you!”

Leigh shot out the door as quickly as she could, making sure to stay as far away from the thing as possible.

When they got outside, it looked down at her, its demeanour changing instantly. It leaned down next to her ear, whispered, “I’ve heard everything you’ve said about my kind, and the women who love us.”

It stood up again, grinned horribly, then ripped Leigh limb from limb right there in the street. It tore her to pieces, blood slashing passersby, the pavement, the flowers. Then it skinned her remains, using the tattered pieces of flesh as its own.

It shuffled into the Starbucks, went back behind the counter, into the staff room.

Where it waited to be summoned again.