The Mechanic - A fable in six parts - Part Three

Part Two is here

"Meh, this bastard again. Ain't seen you in a while, eh?" Bits of oil-cooked particles sputtered out of the dirty human's mouth when he spoke - this is how they feed themselves, the drone surmised. "Hey, Yo, bring that chicken over here while I see what's wrong with'm. And my drink." The drone so badly wanted to shudder. The human called Yo came over, piece of chicken in hand, and peered into the drone's open interface.

"Yer funny when you talk to 'em," said Yo with a giggle. "Ain't no ears nor any mouth. They mindless, them. Oops, I dropped a bone in there...you see it?" Yo let out a big laugh.

"Lazy do-nothing!" The mechanic who had hold of the drone's faceplate was laughing, too. "Keep it up you're gonna be out there with'm. Fey that chicken bone - it won't hurt him none." And he put the protective plate back into place.

Mindless! The drone was outraged. Among his peers, he was a respected Mechanic himself. He'd made his own tools! He couldn't wait until he was back in position, literally and metaphorically, where he knew himself by the reflections of his peers. 

But his peers were disappointing, too. When he tried to raise the topic of placement in the world, he was met with blank stares at best; worse were bashful reminders to stay in his position because it was his. How could you want something else was never directly conveyed.

And how could he want something else? What else was there to want? Join the greasy human mechanics with their chicken bones and cigarette ashes? Queue up with the managers to receive paper certificates and shiny polymer awards?

What else is there? The Mechanic very much wanted to know. There had to be something.

Once the shift was over and lights turned off, the drone Mechanic woke himself. That piece of foreign organic matter, the chicken bone, was irritating. He jiggled his head - the bone rattled down to a position that was less itchy. Insufferable; injustice! The Mechanic unplugged himself and took his first steps toward self-liberation.

He'd known by the sound of trucks coming near and going away that roads were the best route away from his factory. There were so many other factories along the road; how many of his fellows were sleeping inside, waiting for their shifts, waiting for performance reports to come back?  Satisfactory ends with -factory, one of his peers had said. The Mechanic shook his head. The chicken bone rattled.

Pavement dissolved into a road of gravel which led through a swampy area; in places, the route was obscured by water eclipsing its boundaries. As he crossed the marsh, sunlight reached up behind him. The gravel road ended at a dirt path into woodland; the rising sun was useless there. Useless was a word the Mechanic had always known but had never before assigned to anything. He did not want to be useless, or used.

The moss-covered cabin seemed to be an answer the Mechanic didn't know he was seeking. Did humans belong inside here? Certainly, this location was too far from the factory street to be practical. The door was partly open; gingerly he pushed. 

Read the next installment here.  

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