Stinger and Violet, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-
. . .
Stinger and Violet, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-
. . .
“This is never going to work,” says Max Stinger, the glorious reconfigurable bee-human machine.
“It’s my chastity circuit,” frets Violet.
“No,” Max says. He reaches out to brush Violet’s metal brow. “Your chastity circuit is not breaking tree branches. That is our combined metallic weight. Your chastity circuit just supercharges your metal skin with painful electricity when we attempt hanky-panky and says, ‘Danger! Chastity mode engaged.'”
“Oh,” says Violet. “So that’s why you always leap away shaking your hands when it engages.”
Max nods sadly. “You didn’t know?”
“I thought it was just playful nervousness,” Violet says.
Max Stinger sighs. He looks away into the distance. “If we cannot sit in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G, we will have neither love nor marriage. And while your circuit functions, we may know no lust. Ah! Violet! Life is cruelly engineered!”
“What we need,” she says, “is some sort of anti-gravity belt.”
“No,” he says. “I mean, we don’t need that. We can use some sort of . . . a block and tackle, or . . .”
Violet looks at him.
Max deflates. “Fine,” he says. “I’ll ask him.”
“Why are you so afraid of my father?”
“I’ve heard he eats robots alive,” Max says. “On toast!”
Violet considers this.
“He’s too thin for that,” she says. “Robots are very heavy and would be totally indigestible without a lot of toast.”
“Fine,” Max says. “But I’m only doing this because he’s the best antigravity engineer on the planet! If he weren’t, I’d so keep on hiding from him until he died.”
“And then you’d pretend regret?” Violet teases.
Max stomps off.
Max goes to the old man’s house. He knocks on the door. After a moment, a wizened figure hobbles out to meet him.
“You? Who’re you?” The old man peers at him, up and down. “I didn’t make you,” he says. “Go away.”
“I’m Max Stinger,” says Max. “I’m interested in your daughter’s hand.”
“You’ve got bee hands!” declares the old man. “You don’t want a flower hand! That’d disrupt your overall aesthetic theme!”
The old man looks Max up and down. He lifts Max’s arms. He studies the transformation mechanism. He hits the back of Max’s knee with his titanium cane.
“Definitely not. No flowers for you. Look at those bee hands! They shoot off in a one-two punch of justice!”
“I mean,” Max says, after a moment, “in love. I am interested in falling in love with your daughter. But the branches keep breaking under our combined weight.”
“Oh no,” says the old man. “I’ve been down that road before. That’s why all my modern daughters have chastity circuits!”
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes genetic recombination using robot parts! That’s what the chastity circuits are for—to utterly remove the risk that irresponsible mechanical one-night stands will burgeon into tender affections and a long-term committed relationship! Honestly, you ought to know better.”
“But I’m not really interested in the irresponsible mechanical one-night stands,” says Max. His subvocalization circuit adds, Much. “I want love. I want marriage. I want robot children.”
“Listen,” says the old man. “How would you go about making children with my daughter?”
“Well,” says Max, “I guess that I’d take some of her design elements—kind of a robot genetic code, you know—and some of mine, and mix them together.”
The old man nods. “And?”
“Well,” says Max, “I’d innovate some. I mean, just so that junior wasn’t the same as every other transforming bee-human/flower-human robot hybrid out there. Like, possibly I’d add some sort of transformation that would let the first little boy become a supertanker, and the first little girl become—”
Max draws a blank as to what a girl might transform into. “A nuclear hawk-wolf,” he says, to avoid an awkward silence.
“Exactly,” says the old man. “You’d evolve. And evolution leads inevitably to humans being nothing more than glorified apes, which is precisely why we don’t let robots do it.”
“But . . .” Max founders. “You let computers evolve.”
“That’s totally different,” says the old man. “You can’t fight Moore’s Law. It’s hardwired into God’s plan. It’s part of the Telos.”
Max hesitates. “If you’d make us a gravity-defying belt,” he says, “we could commit to a barren and childless marriage.”
The old man tilts his head to the side. “What, you’d never even be tempted? Tubes can be untied, son. Snips, unsnup. Mechanical clocks, they tick.”
“I’m a playboy,” Max Stinger tries, desperately. “I really just want to sow some wild oats in Violet!”
The old man snorts. “Don’t try to fool me, son. I can see the gleam of commitment in those polished titanium eyes.”
“I’ll . . . I’ll . . . I’ll think of America!”
The old man hesitates.
“I will! Every time! I promise! I’ll think of nothing save America as our circuits mesh in glorious mechanical harmony, a rhapsody of patriotism and lust that will totally curtail any desire to differentiate my genes and spread my design principles to a new generation of competitive robot offspring!”
The old man sighs.
“Ah, damn,” he says. “You had to hit me in the patriotism.”
Stinger and Violet, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-
S-I-N-G! First comes
love, then comes marriage,
Then comes a frantic choral representation of the Star-Spangled Banner!
“Somehow,” says Max Stinger, “I can’t help thinking that it would be easier to prevent robotic evolution through intelligent design.”
“Shut up and sing,” purrs Violet’s secondary speech processor. “It’s the third verse that’s the sexiest.“