I wanted to submit this to a webpage but since I had already posted it on my blog, I couldn’t, even though I had deleted it previously. So, I’m posting it here with love.
Martin swore as a screw fell between the arm of the chair and the wall. He groped for it with one hand. The piece of wood in his other hand threatened to disengage from the rest of the unit. It was usually easy. Slot A into slot B. Piece C to piece D.
A ship had landed earlier. He’d heard it while working on the previous chair. His fingers closed on the screw and he held it against his chest for a moment, eyes closed. There would be people in that ship. They might want chairs.
A woman approached him. “It’s time to go, son.”
“I just need to finish assembling…”
She touched his shoulder. “You’re needed.”
Martin looked up. “I need to finish putting this chair together. People need chairs.”
The woman’s face was kind; she was smiling. “You’ve been alone for a long time. If you come with me, I can get you help.”
“Your father,” she said, stressing the word father, “has been dead for eighty-three years.”
A memory, his father yelling at him. I didn’t create a robot to assemble furniture, Martin. I built you to win this war.
“I won the war,” he whispered.
“I know. I saw your father’s video logs. We can correct the error that eliminated your ability to distinguish the enemy from the allies.” The woman put her arm around his shoulders and helped him stand. “This is important. We need your help with our war.”
Martin looked out over the rows and rows of empty chairs. “I was created to win.”