In honor of the late Ray Bradbury, Oliver Lee Bateman launches an entirely new sub-genre: online dating science fiction.
“So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m just not over him,” winsome young Camden Camden explained to the Evil Genius.
“Over whom? This ‘Toe’ character you used to date? He sounds like a real dick,” said the Evil Genius, who was hoping against hope that Camden Camden would “give it up” on their third date. He hadn’t invested mother’s hard-earned money in two 40s of Olde English malt liquor and a bootleg Veronica Mars Season 2 DVD set out of the goodness of his heart, after all.
Camden Camden fought back her tears. “It’s just that…I don’t know, I still love him, I guess. Do you have anybody like that? I mean, you’re a nice guy. You understand, right?”
The Evil Genius rolled his eyes, heaved a handful of heavy sighs, and otherwise carried on like a spoiled brat. “I’m not interested in talking a walk down memory lane with you, hon. We’ve been on this date for almost three hours, and it’s about time that you shit or get off the pot.”
“I thought you were different,” Camden Camden said. “I thought you’d understand where I’m coming from and we could be friends.”
“Why on earth would you think that?” the Evil Genius asked.
“You have such kind eyes. I just wanted a friend to sit on the couch with me and hold my hand. We could talk about him—‘Toe,’ I mean—and I could get better and”—here she began to sniffle and sob—“everything would be okay.”
The Evil Genius zipped up his fly—which he’d unzipped preemptively a few minutes after entering Camden Camden’s house—and made preparations to depart. “Yes, that’s exactly why I posted an advert on Adult Friend Finder. I was hoping to sit on the couch and chat for hours about some traumatized woman’s erstwhile paramour. I’ve got a fetish for such things. You’re really turning me on, heating me up, getting my rocks off, et cetera,” he deadpanned as he strode toward the door.
“You mean bastard, I’m baring my soul to you and…”
The Evil Genius slammed the door behind him, and didn’t hear the rest.
Zombie manservant Crow peeked his head into the Evil Genius’ garage laboratory just as his master was finishing an intricate series of welds on his latest robot. “This thing again, boss? I thought you told your mom you were taking it out to the landfill,” he said.
“What Eunice doesn’t know won’t hurt her, Crow. Anyway, come hither. My latest triumph is nearly complete,” the Evil Genius answered.
Crow entered and gave the robot a quick once-over. As before, its enormous steel frame was covered with gears, wires, and other doodads. “Huh, it looks about the same,” he said.
“Oh no, I’ve completely redesigned it. It’s going to do something that no robot has ever done before.”
“Is it going to get you out of your mom’s house? Because if it does, I know she’d be eternally grateful. She was really bitching yesterday about having to clean up my brain droppings,” Crow said.
The Evil Genius shook his head. “Why won’t she get off my case? I told her I’d stitch your scalp back on after I’d finished my research.”
“What research is that, boss? All we’ve been doing for the past three months is playing video games and drinking malt liquor.”
“It’s known as ‘normal science,’ Crow. We can’t all be out there decoding the human genome or figuring out how to clone pygmy seals. Anyway, watch this,” the Evil Genius said. He flipped a few switches on the robot’s control panel, then began fiddling around with the upgraded Atari 5200 joystick he used to operate the robot.
Various LED indicator lamps blinked on as the robot lurched to life. “What’s up, baby?” the robot said to no one in particular, its mellifluous voice phase-vocoded by a 99-cent Auto-Tune “app” that the Evil Genius had downloaded from the iTunes Store.
“This robot is going to break some hearts,” the Evil Genius announced haughtily and with a sweep of his hand, as if he were speaking at a press conference or giving an interview on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.
“What the hell does that mean? Is it going on a killing spree, then?” Crow asked.
“Christ, Crow, where do you get these ideas? Life doesn’t work like that Call of Duty game you’re always playing. No, this robot is going to break hearts on the dating scene.”
Crow was confused. “Have you been smoking
crack bath salts or something, EG? Who would want to date that big piece of junk?”
“My first girlfriend will, Crow. This robot is going to locate her, learn if I had an impact on her in the same way that all these other absent first boyfriends seem to, and then make her wish she’d never left me.”
“Emily Twiggs? But she could be anywhere, EG,” Crow said. “And how is the robot going to get her to go out with it?”
“You just leave that to the robot,” the Evil Genius. “This thing is a real pro.”
As if on cue, the robot grabbed its decorative aluminum codpiece and made an obscene gesture. “Moustache rides fifteen cents,” it said, again to no one in particular.
body type: robot
pets: no way/allergic
education: 2 terabyte hard drive
on here for: long-term relationship, short-term relationship, pen pals, casual encounters, online chat, web “fun”
about me: Hey, robot here. I’m looking for a girl who is smart and funny, and who likes all of the same things that I like. I’m into going out on the town but I also don’t mind staying in, it just depends on my mood lol. I respect a girl who is a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets lololol. I’m definitely one of the funniest people I know lmao. Friends say I’m always up or down for whatever. In terms of religion, I would guess that I’m spiritual but not religious. I have a good amount of superstition too rofl!!! Politically, I’m in the middle of the road. However I think they should legalize it so I’m def 420 friendly!!
body type: didn’t answer/don’t care to say
religion: spiritual but not religious
pets: i have cats
education: bachelor’s degree
on here for: long-term relationship, pen pals, true love
about me: Hi there! I’m a very cool young lady with a lot of interests as well as a nice heart and a good personality. I love to laugh but I also think deeply about various social concerns. I am especially worried about Darfur, not to mention Katrina. I’m a fan of sitting in coffee houses and have a total caffeine addiction. I’m also a real foodie, so nom nom nom! As far as fiction goes, I like all the great books: “The Great Gatsby,” “Great Expectations,” “The Great Santini.” With television, I can do anything from a reality show to a drama — just depends on my mood! Music moves my soul and I couldn’t live for even three seconds without my iPod. Some of the best singers going are Ke$ha, Boogie Crackerjack, Clay Aiken, Savage Garden, Young Dro, Jessica Simpson and the Black Eyed Peas. Unlike a lot of girls, I am for real and in the market for something serious. However, I would not mind if it just happens because I can go with the flow. You never know when there will be a spark. When it’s right, it’s right. True love is out there and it’s worth waiting for. No scrubs or players, please.
Hey saw ur profile I am for Katrina and Darfur as well. Like that u like coffee r u up for sum this weekN? I work M-F but I Have good availability Sat and part of Sun after the Spartans game. Go team!
You sound really cool! One of the things that caught my eye about your profile was that you are into going out as well as staying in. I think it’s nice to be flexible and it’s pretty clear to me that you are! I was also really interested in your height. You are super tall! How’s the weather up there lol? But seriously I think that’s just great. It’s probably a lot of fun to be that height. Do you work out? I’m just getting back to it and it’s a bit of a pain but I want to lose a few pounds. I don’t know many robots but it’s nice to be able to talk to somebody who is different. As you can tell from my causes like Katrina and Darfur I’m very much into diversity and robots fit in with that. Maybe we can get our java jolt this Saturday at 5 pm?
yeah thats good with me. its cool that you are ok with the height and my being a robot. that scares alot of girls off lol but you seem pretty chill and i like that alot. if you want to chat just msg me on FriendFace I already added u lol! guess were moving pretty fast roflmao ;)
robot8===>: hey sup emmy
ETwiggs01: Hi there! What’s up with you, Mr. Robot?
robot8===>: nm u
ETwiggs01: You just asked me that! Lol’ing! Are you ready for our date?
robot8===>: yah hey u got any pix not nudez tho lol
ETwiggs01: Well I have my pictures here on FriendFace…
robot8===>: yah cool jus wanted 2 c if u had a few more lol :D
ETwiggs01: I might have just two or three naughty ones if you promise not to post them anywhere else! ;)
robot8===>: yah sure send them jpg format pls kthx
Emily Twiggs is so excited about her date with a certain tall dark and handsome robot!
Posted at 11:03 a.m.
CamdenC a robot really? 11:06 a.m.
Emily Twiggs Yep, totally diverse! <3ing my life! 11:09 a.m.
Brian Powell lawlz it’ll be like Short Circuits up in there 11:11 a.m.
Danny Cater The correct title of that Steve Guttenberg classic is “Short Circuit,” FYI. 11:12 a.m.
Posted at 11:29 a.m.
Toe B fuk yeah u kno it roflmao 11:33 a.m.
Robot str8 trippin homes 11:33 a.m.
Toe B pimpin like the kid fucked dat pie 11:34 a.m.
Danny Cater The movie you’re referring to is “American Pie,” FYI. One of Jennifer Coolidge’s best roles, IMHO. #JenniferCoolidge 11:48 a.m.
So about the date. I guess you could say it went as well as could be expected. We both got there at the same time and found a table in the back. It was some kind of hipster place, Xeroxed band posters on the wall and really bad paintings for sale. That turned out to be fine because they had 10w-30 motor oil brewing and that’s all I drink. It’s apparently really “cutting-edge” right now. Go figure. She drank a “red eye,” which is extra dark roast coffee with a shot of espresso in it. Anyway, we start talking and it’s clear she likes me. “You’re just as tall as you said in your profile,” she repeated a bunch of times. People lie about that a lot, I suppose. Doesn’t make sense to me but whatever. From there she asked me about being a robot. Said it’d be neat to be a robot, how being a robot is “something that’s very now, very tech-y.” I said that I’m the only robot around, as far as I know, so it can pretty lonely but I make the best of it. I tried to “kino-escalate” by bringing my hose attachment up against her kneecap. She didn’t like that as much so I laid off and let her talk some more. She talked about not knowing what to do with her life, how confused she was, how it made more sense when she was in college but now she just wasn’t sure. I asked her if she had any big dreams. She said she wanted to travel outside the country, maybe go somewhere she could make a difference. Said she had her causes and cared about a lot of things such as Darfur but that she had to pay down her credit card bills and student loans first. Then she went into this long digression about she’d gained a few pounds in all the wrong places, how she was hitting the gym, how she hoped I didn’t mind given how athletic I was. I reminded her that I was a robot and I didn’t need to hit the gym. Then I tried a “neg” by saying that I did mind how she had kind of a hooked, witchy nose. She responded in the expected way, laughing nervously, and I began running a search in my C: directory to see if I had remembered to bring condoms and lubricant. I was quickly getting to the end of my programming loop and I hoped to finish strong. After she drank her “red eye” coffee, I asked her if she wanted to go somewhere more comfortable. I could tell she was a little nervous but I said it was nothing to worry about it, I had a motel room about a block away, and all we had to do was go there and talk. Just talk about things, you know? Maybe we could talk a little bit more about her dreams of traveling and making a difference. She agreed and we made our way back to the room. There was only one king-size bed—another tip from my programming—and we sat down on it. Her makeup was starting to run and she looked pretty bad. I don’t think she was very attractive, objectively speaking. She had sent me some “dirty” pictures online that were actually mild compared to the filth that’s out there, and it was clear she had put on about thirty pounds since they were taken. Not that I cared, being a robot, but there was a flicker of recognition in the back of the program that I was running that this was worth noting. I moved my feather-duster attachment against the back of her neck, and she shivered involuntarily. She was nervous, like a “cat on a hot tin roof” so to speak. I asked her what was wrong. I explained that I wasn’t trying to be fresh or anything, but I felt like I was starting to care about her and I wanted things between us to be really special. Did she understand that? She nodded a little bit and said that she understood, but that what I wanted wasn’t something she could bring herself to give right now. She wasn’t ready, in other words. When I asked her why, she said it was because of something that happened to her a long time ago. This was what you were waiting for, so I fired up my .wav recorder and waited. The story you’re going to hear is—it’s definitely not what you’re expecting. What was holding her back from doing what I wanted, from having this special moment I so clearly deserved, was her memory of how, during her first relationship—which was with you, of course—she basically cheated on her dweeby boyfriend with every guy who talked to her. She thought of her dweeby boyfriend as such a nice guy, and of herself as subhuman and totally unlovable, and so she came to believe she had to humiliate herself over and over again. The stories are on the cassette tape—she talked for about forty minutes without any prodding from me—and I don’t want to repeat them here. They’re disturbing, to say the least. She said that, at the end of it all, just before she broke it off with you, her dog—Old Bones was his name—ran out into the street and was hit by a car. He didn’t die but he was crippled for the rest of his life. Even though this didn’t have anything to do with her relationship or the other stuff she was doing, she became convinced that the accident was in fact the judgment of an angry God—she felt it was important at that point to emphasize how she was a Christian deep down even if “the rest of it I don’t know about but I know that God’s a Christian and He is love”—and she believed that, no matter how much penance she did, she would never be forgiven for what happened to Old Bones, even though he held on for nine more years and by all accounts had a satisfactory existence during that span. The injury to Old Bones was why she kept going on dates yet never experienced a connection, why her heart was so troubled, why she was overcome by tremendous and oppressive foreboding. After she told me this, I said—and here I was at the bitter end of the program you wrote—that I’m sorry about what happened to her but to be perfectly honest it didn’t make any sense. “You men are all alike,” she replied. “Why couldn’t you just sit there and listen to me?”