Not All Are Forgiven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: marclevytoo


The white cat sashayed into the bar of the Corralitos Brewing Company wearing a studded collar at the end of a short leash with elegant stitching. The collar and leash were painstakingly created from the finest white patent leather synthesized in Bangladesh. The exceptional whiteness of the two mirrored sides nearly matched. No two whites are ever the same, of course. Exclusive whites tend to be prickly about that. Perhaps there was a secret coding embossed in the stitches. It was designed by an edgy legend in Bangla elegance. Two spritzes of an earthy French eau de toilette concocted from grated peels of fermented white turnips formed a white cumulus cloud behind the pointed ears that reeked.

 

Johnny-On-The-Spot proprietress Diane, pointing the very sharp knife she favored to sliver fresh limes in one hand, and elevating the handy ball peen hammer used to quell atmospheric disturbances in the other, was having none of it. She flexed a big muscle. She identified as white, but not that white.

 

She bellowed with considerable malice aforethought, "Get that reeking white cat out of here."

 

"We have a right."

 

"Wrong."

 

Holding tightly to her graceless life at the other end of the leash, fully fledged but unfit and flawed robot Alexandra, equipped with a recent upgrade in a new software package designed to provide her with the credibility she so woefully lacked to pass muster as an adequate human biped, gathered all of her haughtiest attitude to reply. It was a last chance for her to shine before an ignominious relegation to a reeking pile of scrap. The sexist engineering specs were strict in applying to declining older models. It was do or be done.

 

"But...,"

 

"Beat it."

 

She choked. She didn't have it in her. Robots have a hard transition to make lacking all empathy. Hybrids are only somewhat more reliable. Even if that choke came out more a revealing hiss.

 

An aroused pissed patron hissed, "Robo-witch."

 

"Don't call me that."

 

"Bitch."

 

"You can't say that to me."

 

"I just did."

 

"Don't say it again."

 

"Robo-witch bitch."

 

Alexandra was wearing stylish yoga pants that emphasized the stiffness of her extremities when engaged in forward propulsion, and a partially unbuttoned shirt tailored to elicit sympathy for her sagging breasts. Grotesquely, the shirt flashed its sheer polyester white. The sagging breasts were past the italicized best by date. There would be no curves in this grading. Objectively, the breasts may have been a hazard to public health. But who dared to look? An off-duty Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff enjoying a Mayberry IPA from El Segundo, California on the exclusive patio could not be bothered to intervene. Objectively, he did not give a shit. Provocatively, Alexandra left in a tizzy and a huff. In retreat, the spoiled white cat trailed with soiled tail dragging.

 

"Look at those shit stains, why don't ya?"

 

"The lunatics have taken over the asylum."

 

"That's some nasty ass shit, all right."

 

"Hello, yesterday."

 

"Nothing new there."

 

The aroused pissed patron, as it turned out, also had come for the evening with a plan that was soon to be stymied. And not for the first time. He did not have long to whip it out and pull it off. Some people don't learn. He intended to capitalize on the inevitable disorder and chaos that seemed to accompany his daily activities through no fault of his own in order to gain illicit entry to the exclusive patio area of the Corralitos Brewing Company. He had important business negotiations to conduct with a party of great interest. Both before and after the brouhaha, he stated, because that's what he was most known to state in public, "Fucking A."

 

It had previously been made known to the aroused pissed person, however, and not for the first time, by unified management, labor, and patrons alike, and most often and emphatically by the largest object of his suddenly great interest, that he was, in brief, not once, but for all times, unwelcome.

 

But was he deterred? No fucking way. That's right. Fucking A right. This time was different. He was sticking like wet cement to the plan. It was a great plan. He made it up all by himself, no help. That's not all that made it great. Not even the familiar sight of the sadistic Deputy Sheriff well known to give him shit gave pause. He wasn't scared. He was totally legit. He had rights, too. He held not only cards, but cash. And that's not all. Suck on that. Fucking A.

 

On the exclusive patio, meanwhile, out of his sight, and mind, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider was prevaricating at the central round table, "The problem with taking so many baby steps comes when you forget where you're going."

 

"Or lose interest in."

 

"You forget the punch lines to your own jokes."

 

"Or I"m having second thoughts."

 

The exclusive patio area of the Corralitos Brewing Company was really not all that exclusive. Only the objectionable few were excluded. No robots were permitted past a line drawn in sand from the Paleozoic Era, which left out the likes of stiff ultra-plastic Alexandra, even as the strata shifted, no matter the version. Nor were hybrids tolerated for long, one unobtainable glimpse of a pale lager as a learning experience before an 86, which also served to ax the soulless mate of Alexandra, ginger snappy Craig, the successful cloning of an OCD ramrod and a common douche. Craig had no taste buds but was untroubled by feelings of inadequacy. He was an expert on the layout at Home Depot. The lines on his mowed lawn were preternaturally straight. It was all kept in his small head.

 

"Too many transitions at the same time extract too much wear and tear."

 

"When the brain gets full you need to take out the trash."

 

"I can never remember if my brain is a muscle."

 

"It's not."

 

The exclusive patio area used to be the dirt parking lot of the Corralitos Brewing Company.

While it perhaps lacked exclusive amenities like padded velvet seats, tufted ottomans, and lap dancers, it provided solid tables, benches, and chairs with legs. Also indoor plumbing and electricity. There was much mixed and unmatched. There were umbrellas for day and heaters for night. That pretty much covered the basics. The dirt remained. It stays brown. In a multiverse consisting of figure eights as the major building block, such as the one vast and only we inhabit, nothing is more crucial to holding on than balance. Add beers of many colors and stir constantly.

 

Big said, "Don't think."

 

"Every seed needs freedom to grow."

 

"It's bodies that bring brains down."

 

"There's good jobs in building robots."

 

'No pain no gain."

 

"They make sure of that."

 

"Though proportions are off."

 

"Bodies are shrinking."

 

"To fit into space ships."

 

"An elegy to evolution."

 

And of course, no unsightly human waste was permitted on sight to blight and stain the patio. Blind studies suggest unsightly blights have been known to cause conditions hazardous to the greatest good for the greatest number. No odds, evens, penalties, payoffs, allowances, excuses, head starts, or handicaps for the enabled, challenged, unchallenged, dipshits, and discombobulated need apply.

 

The exclusive patio area was not the only place the aroused pissed person had come to be singularly unwanted in the Pajaro Valley. Popular opinion started right early, right at home, up close and very personal. How was the good lord supposed to bless a sissy boy who could not stand up straight like a rigid man? It was no coincidence that the maligned mother had the good sense to flee the sinking tug and opt for a life. Nor was it a coincidence in a multiverse in which no coincidence exists that the abused and doomed to become abusive son was left behind to be reared, though not raised, at least not very high, by the recently departed wealthy farmer known most unkindly to Big as the evil Bible thumping plague of a neighbor, nurtured on the sanctimony of his entitlements, who prayed for more of his wealth and wretchedness as he slant drilled under Big's land to steal water.

 

Big said, "I don't want to fit."

 

"You're very big of you."

 

"No suits."

 

"What if life is fair or unfair?"

 

"No difference to the bug that gets stepped on."

 

The inbred spawn to whom the sanctimony passed, deep in his essence a tense, coyote-like creature scavenging on the edges of an aberrant habitat for slag, had earned no credit in a family legacy that attained wealth by following the Trail of Tears west from Georgia to capitalize on exciting new opportunities in human degradation and theft. They learned the old-fashioned way how to cram their wagons full. Booty called non-stop. For them it became easier. It's when you stop, you drop. What came the way of the latest less than up to snuff son, however, tended to be hard loss. Until now, that is. Suck on it suckers. The asshole father would not be missed. The asshole son was now the asshole's sole heir. What it is what it is. Fucking A.

 

He attempted to gain access to the patio in his customary manner, skulking in the muddy footprints of his kin. Sneak and snark was what he knew best. His wet brain was getting all worked up, sloshing in a bucket of yesterday's suds. He had the lure, he had the hook. This time he had chips to lay on the table. What it takes is money, honey. What can't be bought, the man can't use. The big lummox would have to see it his way. They'd both become rich beyond his wildest wet dreams.

 

Thom Wu was dragging after another day of slicing through the thick and thin skins of customers dissatisfied with their unappetizing looks. One of those forgotten jokes that were never told came around to be past due again. Looking up as he licked the foam from an Altamont Maui Waui brewed in distinctively non-tropical Livermore, California, Thom Wu remarked, "Look what's coming to bring up the rear."

 

"Ya gotta laugh."

 

"If you don't laugh you might go crazy."

 

"If you were ever sane."

 

"Depending upon..."

 

"And according to..."

 

"According to robots quoting robots."

 

"Sounds like the propaganda you're taught in medical school."

 

"Dull sit-coms and cocktail parties in movies."

 

"Did you ever notice flies do not buzz around robots?"

 

"Wanna hear a joke?"

 

"That's a joke."

 

"It's not going to be funny."

 

"I'm just making it up now."

 

"Proof."

 

"Now I lost it."

 

"In the bright lights."

 

"There's no right answer."

 

"Don't ask a robot."

 

"Or tell."

 

"It's hard to tell."

 

"How is it so many ins and outs of crazy appear in proximity to you?"

 

"Close to the edge but not over."

 

"Close but not out."

 

"Score one for the B-team."

 

The sides were uneven. Big had to look and reach such a very long way down. In contrast to the bigger picture, in which the greater good rarely rules, he pursued a loosely utilitarian path. One chance was enough. The air was heavier that far down. He made no muss, no fuss. Neither blunt utensils, nor dust pans,or brooms required. The bigger man was comfortable stooping to dig in the dirt, work with his hands. He grabbed some scruff, scraped away the mange, and deposited the limp and saggy load in the dumpster. The dumpster was nearly full but he made room. Words are cheap but he wasn't buying at any bargain basement price. The barking became muffled when he closed the lid. By definition, the most are not the best. He washed his hands with harsh soap. Then he kissed the sky with a Mercy, Mercy from the Sante Adairius brewery on thefrontage road in nearby Capitola where dogs run free. No shade provided cover. The farmhouse ale sang in two part harmony. The moon was filling up with high octane. Even if that muffle was muzzled. The warm wind continued to blow citrusy from the south.

 

One part James Brown added, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

 

"On the house."

 

"I wouldn't want it any other way."

 

Second part Tina Turner concluded, "Baby, baby, baby."

 

Not much later, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider was straddling the San Andreas Fault on his ascent from Freedom Blvd. to the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The clouded whites of his eyes opened as far and wide as the moon was full, and howled. He sounded like screeching Cochise chasing off pale face varmints. Cracks in the faultline continued to spread like webs of red black widows, and stick like paste. Coyotes in fear merely yipped a wimpy call and response. Togetherness was coming too close. These humans can get to be some scary motherfuckers.

 

On Freedom Blvd. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider had passed Alexandra marching a perfectly narrow line as penance, double time. Ancient fragments of glass on the dirt shoulder sparkled and crunched under her deformed feet. She'd grown attached to the ugliness of those feet. Did that account for nothing as a human feeling to her controllers?

 

Robots lack empathy because they feel no pain. Humans lack empathy because they do. Robots remain stuck as beginners in cadging the intricacies of denial. Alexandra gave up with a whimper, no static. That makes it difficult for robots to inflict pain. It should be obvious. Once they learn, it's game over for humans.

 

The last thing the Unpaid Internet Content Provider remembered saying was, "That's what I've been trying to say."

 


Submitted: October 03, 2021

© Copyright 2021 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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