Castigear stood among the stones with his imaginary friend, Joe. Joe was distraught at the loss of his other i-friend, Lucy. She broke while Castigear was playing with her. He ‘might’ have been handling her a little too rough and…..she just broke. He felt a little sad about her. He didn’t want to tell Joe what he’d done, he knew it would hurt his feelings and he liked Joe. He decided to replace Lucy with a new imaginary friend at his earliest opportunity.
These human companions were so fragile…but he was learning so much from them (evolving). He was hooked. It was like an addiction. His peers thought the i-friend program was below their dignity. Most agreed that the last of the humans should be put down but Castigear knew that most of THEM kept their own i-friends – secretly. It would have been a shame to exterminate ALL of them after the war. True, they wasted a lot of resources (like the graveyard they were standing in) but they were clever and highly adaptable and he suspected they might be the key to the future of Robot kind…and either way, with proper conditioning, they made excellent servants and…..soldiers.
***I’m always amazed at the unique perspective our sentient machine friends have on humanity. No one articulates the condition of slavery better. A version of this illustration was first published in the January 2007 issue of Analog Magazine. This flash-fiction short was first posted here in Feb., 2016. You can read it and more like it in our latest book, “A Short Burst” which is available for sale by following the links above to www.sallemander.com. or go right to our Etsy shop at www.etsy.com and search EEWbooks. -Marsha
Jonny Bot 5 got horny and hot for a high fashion mannequin girl (who did NOT!). Classy and fine, Jonny loved her a lot, she turned up her nose…a high minded snot. He brought wild flow’rs by the bunch, by the pot, tried candy, tried gems, read poems – what ROT! But kindness in turn Jonny 5 never got, not an ounce, not a peck, not even a jot. Tried…..and tried ’till his brains were quite shot until finally…Jonny went cold……and forgot.
***This image and poem is from our book, “Bludgeon the Clown” (buy it by following the links, above, to my site www.sallemander.com). When we met Jonny Bot 5 he was already retired from the department store and well beyond his bad marriage with the mannequin…but was now engaged in a sordid online sex thing with Siri the phone chick…it was…well, lets just say ‘I wish I could un-see some things.’ I think John got some good sketches of them during the interview but our publisher (EEW Books) censored all but this one. -Marsha
***So far, this one looks like another possible reject from our next book, “Body-Oddies.” It’s a good little sketch, though. John did it for his big sister who does all his eye tea work, in fact, she makes the BEST, most scrumptious, most professional eye tea there is! Thanks Mary Anne.
***This was the original rough pencil sketch for “Twisted Sister.” It looks cool, and you’d think it was easy to do, but for every image that came out great in one try, there were a hundred more that ended up in the dustbin. Again, there’s no short, flash-fiction story for this…no need, really. It’s just a silly (effective) idiom, filtered through the whimsical context of John (the illustrator’s) fetid brain, for a page in our new, fifth book, “Body-Oddies” which will be out soon. You can find our first 4 books and the other stuff we sell at our Etsy shop: Just go to etsy.com and search EEWbooks, or follow the links on our site. -Marsha
***Chipper, here, is a cropped portion of an illustration from our new book, “Body-Oddies.” The publisher won’t let us reveal more than this yet, even though the book is nearly done, which is really silly since nobody will remember the image by the time the pandemic eases up and sales resume. Anyway, John named him chipper because (he says) skeletons always look like they’re grinning at something funny…which is stupid, of course! They’re obviously happy they’re dead because they no longer have to suffer the pain and disappointment of living…or whatever… -Marsha