A Story by Grenouille Rousse

Will I ever be something with feelings to hide? Or am I just a boiler with nothing inside? (Steam Powered Giraffe)


I can’t believe it!  Oh my goodness, I’m out of the mansion!  I’m going to go where there are real people, humans!

That probably sounds very strange.  I should back up a bit.

I am not a human.  I was built, not born, in the laboratory in my creator’s mansion.  He has built many machines, but we are all different and treated like family.  My name is Jiffy, as in the arguable unit in time, because I was built out of old clocks.  Currently I live in the same room as my “younger brother” robot, Munthas.

The mansion needs more bread, and all the humans are either busy or sick.  So, they decided that I am responsible enough to go out by myself, with human makeup and silicone facial prosthetics on, of course.  I was going to bring Munthas with me, but he’s not quite ready yet.

I just got onto a bus, because I was not programmed to drive a car.  I’m being polite to the humans around me, even though they’re sort of staring at me.  I just know that they can tell I’m not like them.  Even if I look like a human, I don’t move like one.  I suppose I should just sit as still as I can so that I don’t stand out even more.  I lock my limbs and gaze out the window.

Wow, that’s a lot of trees.  And oh!  Horses!  That’s pretty cool.  Are those cows?  Woah, they’re weird.

It is exactly 1:40 pm and the bus stopped again to pick up more people.  One of the women who boarded the bus has taken a seat rather near to me.  She’s not scared of me.  I smile at her and she smiles back, but we don’t say anything.  I look down at the floor and notice--oh, my…  The lady has a robotic leg.  Well, not completely robotic, but it’s no organic material; it’s metal.  There’s a spring and straps and I’m not quite sure how it works if she has no wires running through her.  I quickly avert my eyes away so that I’m not staring.  I’m contemplating on asking her about it… but probably shouldn’t.  It’s none of my business.

The bus is nearly full and is about to leave the bus stop when another person comes sprinting to the doors.  Tardiness has always been a pet peeve of mine.  The person steps onto the bus and he’s a young, smiling man with short, very red hair.  Breathing heavily, he thanks the bus driver for letting him on and then… oh, well, the only seat available is next to me, so he sits there.

He turns to me and says, “Hey,” his chest still heaving a little.  Sometimes I wish I could breathe like a human.

I make eye contact with him, and--wow…  They’re so green, and not even an inorganic green that I’m used to.  They’re the same color as the trees outside.  They shine with moist tears and seem soft, like most of a human’s body.  They are so unlike my hard lenses because of this, but they also… show emotion.  Eyes like mine could never do the same, even if the words were projected straight from them.

“Hi,” I find myself saying, my hands quivering.  Oh goodness, what is wrong with me?  I feel a tingling warmth in my chest and my conscious is giggling.  My abdomen feels like it’s alive.  Do I suddenly have a virus?  Am I overheating?  What is wrong with me?

“The name’s Robbie,” he says as he holds out his hand.

I hesitate before I shake his hand and reply, “Hello, Robbie.  I’m uh,” can’t say “Jiffy,” that’s not a normal human name.  “I’m Jetta.”

“’Jetta’,” he repeats back.  It sounds beautiful coming from his vocal chords.  “That’s a nice name.”

“Thanks,” I smile.  He smiles back at me and my abdomen comes alive again.  Holy sundials, his smile is perfect.  And by “perfect” I mean imperfect.  I’m used to perfect smiles and precisely aligned teeth back at the mansion.  His teeth are kind of crooked and one side of his mouth rises a bit higher than the other.  One of his cheeks pinches inwards, something I’ve never seen before but have been told is called a “dimple.”

He’s glancing around the bus and I notice a small bead of sweat resting on his temple.  I guess he had been running for a while.  Now that I look at his clothes, he’s wearing jogging shorts, a tank top, and tennis shoes.

“So where are you going?” he asks.  His eyebrows raise and his eyes brighten.

“Uh, I’m running errands for my family,” I answer.  Truth is, I have always considered the humans and robots at the mansion as my family.  But not all of them say the same.

“Oh, cool,” he responds.  “I’m going home.  Taking a break from jogging.”  Robbie is laughing at himself.  His laugh is goofy but natural.  That seems to stand out so much, him being “natural.”

I now realize that the next stop is at the grocery store I need to go to.

“I’m sorry, but I’m getting off on the next stop,” I fidget with my hands.

“Oh, well, it was nice to meet you,” Robbie flashed a smile.  “Tell you what,” he pauses, digging through his pockets.  He whips out a pen and a scrap of paper, “here’s my number.”  He jots down a series of ten numbers, which I realize now is his phone number.  “Give me a call sometime, Jetta.  You’re pretty nice.”

“Sure,” I grin as wide as I possibly can, on impulse.  “You’re pretty nice as well,” I say with the playful tone I hear girls on TV use.  We’re waving goodbye to each other as I depart from the bus.  I watch the bus drive away and Robbie is still looking at me with a content expression.

*     *     *     *

I come home to the mansion with the bread that we need.

“Hello, Jiffy,” my inventor greets me, “I see you got the bread.  Thank you!  We’ve been running out lately because--“

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” I apologize, “but I think I have a virus.”

“What?  No, not possible,” he says.  “You can’t have viruses.  What makes you believe that?”

“Well, today on the bus,” I start, “My hands were shaking, my chest felt warm, a voice in my head was giggling, and my stomach felt like it was moving!  What is wrong with me?”

Father is silent but not upset.  He’s standing with a sly, happy expression.

“That’s supposed to happen,” he finally answers.  He takes a damp cloth and is wiping off my human makeup and peeling off the prosthetics.  “You felt attraction.  It was exactly as programmed.”

Attraction?  Like… magnetic attraction, or love attraction?

“What kind of attraction?” I ask.

“Love,” Father says with a kind smile.  “One of the absolute best feelings in the world.”

“Can the other robots feel it?”

“Most of them.  Munthas is not supposed to, but he somehow does, which baffles me.”

“Oh.”  That’s interesting.

“So,” he continues, “who was it?”

“Uh,” I’m laughing, “this human, named Robbie.”

“A human?” he asks, but doesn’t really sound shocked.

“Yes?  Is that bad?”

“Not exactly.  Just fascinating.”

It is silent for a moment while Father wipes the remnants of makeup off my face.

“Does this mean that I’m not allowed to go outside anymore?” I quietly ask.

“What?  Of course not!” Father laughs.  “You didn’t do anything you weren’t supposed to!  In fact, by doing that, you have helped me see that you can pass off as a human and be responsible to do it without a real one to guide you.”

“Oh.  Thank you Father,” I answer.  I realize that I feel a strange mix of accomplishment and humility.  Father telling me that I am even more like a living thing than I thought makes me proud of myself, for some reason.

© 2013 Grenouille Rousse

Author's Note

Grenouille Rousse
Sorry for any mistakes. This was originally a fanfiction but I changed it a little. I should probably add that this is very heavily inspired by the band Steam Powered Giraffe. If you've never heard of them, check them out. :)

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very nice story, i wish i can watch it as a movie soon if you worked on making it longer to see what may happen next. i imagine what the production of such a relation between a robot and a human being would be would be a humobot i think...

i loved how you have thought out of the box, how you described the life of robots and machines, how you described some human problems we face everydaay like transportation and buses which stop more they than they really move..

i liked how you described Robbie but i still wonder, why didnt Robbie feel strange twards her while all the people in the bus did except that lady in red hair who you said she was even robot like?

i have really enjoyed the story..sorry if i have talked for so long but that is because i really got intrested..

Posted 10 Years Ago

Grenouille Rousse

10 Years Ago

thank you! Don't worry, you didn't talk too long. I was hoping that the machine and robot stuff mad.. read more

10 Years Ago

lets see what happens next..

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1 Review
Added on March 5, 2013
Last Updated on March 7, 2013
Tags: robot, robots, automaton, clocks, human, bus


Grenouille Rousse
Grenouille Rousse

Hello! I'm Grenouille Rousse :) I love drawing, music, writing, and art in general. I'd like to think that I'm a good actress but I guess I'm not :/ Though that doesn't really matter. I write all .. more..