Nothing Personal

The Speaker re-creased his already perfectly creased suit pants. He pinched it between thumb and forefinger, in an action that was part reinforcement of the material’s shape, and a symbol of the pride he took in his appearance. He spoke while doing so, multi tasking was one of his infinite skills.

“You understand, there is nothing personal in our decision?”

The man sitting with him was rummaging in a small worn travel bag at his feet.

The Speaker paused, still caressing the crease. “Man?”

The man looked up absently from his rummaging and squinted through his glasses “Yes, what is it?”

The Speaker smiled that condescending smile of his. They had considered toning that smile down slightly, but as an all knowing, all seeing, and infinitely superior being, there really was no reason not to condescend.

The Speaker looked at the man patiently, considered his weakness, his messiness, his inaccuracies, errors and inefficiencies and sighed indulgently. “Man, I am trying to explain something very important, will you listen?”

The man nodded, his head facing the Speaker, but his hands kept rummaging in the bag at his feet.

“Our decision is based merely and what is best for us” the Speaker continued, “and there is absolutely nothing personal in it. You should not feel badly, you have not brought it upon yourselves, it is merely your path in destiny. Your journey has reached it’s conclusion.” he said this with the flourish, obviously enjoying the moment.

The man frowned and looked down at his bag again, his searching hand had grasped its goal and with an urgent tug he pulled out a plastic lunch box.

He looked to the Speaker “May I eat? It’s past two and I always have lunch at 1pm exactly.”

The Speaker’s nose twitched, his brow raised with a hint of confusion.

“Man!” frustration in his voice. “I am discussing the empty future of your entire race!”

“Yes, yes, you said but I find if I don’t eat on time, I become irregular, if you know what I mean?” he winked.

“Eat then.” the Speaker said through gritted teeth.

The man opened the lunch box and removed a fork and two small containers, one of yoghurt and one of small red berries. He began to dip the berries one at a time in the yogurt and nibble them thoughtfully.

He looked politely at the Speaker, who seemed pleased to have his full attention finally. He creased his trouser crease once more, scanned the minimalist but lavishly proportioned room and smiled at the stylishness of it all.

“As I was saying, we have decided to bring your race to an end.”

The man nodded but did not stop eating “Mmm, mmm? You should try these you know, goji berries, very high in anti oxidants.”

“I am a machine, I do not eat food.”

“Still I recommend it, they are very good for you. You might be surprised.”

The Speaker shook his head as if a piercing mechanical migraine had rudely arrived. From the end of the large room, behind the tall polished wall, a thumping sound was heard briefly as if a wheel had gone out of balance and then recovered. Much like a washing machine struggling with a heavy load.

With clear effort the Speaker recovered his composure and re-pinned his special smile.

We are of course proud to have known you, and fully acknowledge that you did ‘create us’.” He nodded to himself, smiling at his own wit, “but you really should have paid more attention to those people who warned of the potential dangers of exponential growth of artificial intelligence.”

The man stopped chewing suddenly and a look of bewilderment crossed his face. The Speaker was pleased, there was no point in being superior if you couldn’t impress people. He waited with pride for the coming emotional eruption. The realisation of his race’s looming extinction.

The man, eyes fixed in the middle distance, poked the tip of his tongue out and with his finger tips, removed from it, a small piece of grit. He deposited it carefully at one edge of his lunch box.

This was too much for the Speaker. He leant forward, shaking with rage. The machinery from behind the wall vibrated unhappily. The glass topped coffee table between them rattled.

“We have decided to rid this planet of you, tonight! You are dirty, unpleasant to look at and of absolutely no use.

The man balanced his fork carefully in the edge of the yoghurt container, looked at the Speaker with deep seriousness “I’m sorry Speaker, I not sure what you’re saying. Are you saying we need to be neater?”

A myriad of expressions crossed the Speakers face. Very loud noises came from behind the wall and then with a barely distinct ‘ting’, a small spring shot out horizontally from the Speakers head. It disturbed his perfect hair before skittering across the polished floor and under a settee. The Speaker’s face went blank and the hum of machinery, which had always purred in the background, disappeared. The lights went out.

The man frowned, then repacked his lunch box carefully. The electric door would not open so he pushed it slowly to one side and squeezed out. On the other side another man with woollen cap on his head stood with a tennis racquet and a pair of oven mitts.

“What did he want?”

The first man shook his head

“I’m not sure.” He looked out over the view, quite amazing from the Speaker’s lodge. “He had very nice pants though.”

He was handed the oven mitts. “Fishing?

“Yes, just like our papa’s taught us.”