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A synthetic man befriends a banker who has lost so much.

By Skyler SaundersPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 9 min read
Photo by Maxim Berg on Unsplash

Stacks of unread mail lay on his desk. Doctor Morry remained slumped over, breathing heavily. He was about five foot seven inches with pine colored skin at fifty-eight years old.

“Doctor,” Lindsay Morry called in an authoritative voice. She was about five foot nine inches tall with reddish brown skin that enveloped her bones. She was forty-five.

“What, what?” He roused from his sleep in a slow manner.

“You haven’t showered, your face is all scraggly, what’s going on?” she asked, concern coloring her words. “I know. It’s about Fredrico. Rico. Hmm. That’s five best friends you’ve lost in eight years. Best friends,” she said.

Doctor Morry looked up at his wife. Tears stained his face.

“I want one,” he said. The corners of his mouth rose a little.

“We can certainly afford it,” Lindsay replied.

“I mean, I want one that’s state of the art and has all the bells and whistles.”

“That can be arranged.”

Morry raised from his seat and grabbed his wife by the arms.

“Yes,” he said, “I’m going to ensure that I will always have a friend no matter what.” He shaved, showered, and read his mail.

The couple looked online for a synthetic being. A man. She still possessed dozens of cousins and friends but his closest allies died of natural causes. Cancer. Heart attack. Diabetes. It all was tough to take for Morry. He enjoyed the times that he had shared with all of his friends, but they just kept dying. He didn’t believe in God, so he sought no solace in some mystical force. Instead, he and Lindsay searched for the ideal man. A man to challenge and make jokes and share ideas with over the course of the rest of Morry’s life. The cost of the synthetic man remained at $180,000.

“It’s like a car,” Lindsay observed.

“And with just as much performance. Look, he has a list of features here. His programmers made him proficient in multiple languages. I don’t really need that. English is fine with me. But, uh, let me see here, he’s got a mean way of being able to cook. That’s always a plus. We can crack jokes and I’ll drink beer. He’ll make steaks and when the kids come home from college, we’ll be able to show them his wit and charm.”

“And the fact that he will remain with us for the duration of our lives. Be we must remember he is not indestructible,” Lindsay mentioned.

“Yes, my dear. We’re all going to be able to enjoy this little mission of ours. It will be to take on the grave. This being will enable us to find the richness and the glory of our own existence.”

That was enough. The two of them ordered the synthetic man and he came into their home in just a day. Fully functional and operational, Plexus stood at six feet six inches and looked like a black mannequin with diamonds studded all over his frame.

“Hello, Miss Morry, Doctor Morry.” Plexus introduced himself and held out his hand.

“Come on in here!” Morry commanded, grinning.

“I hope I didn’t arrive too late,” he said.

“No, not at all.”

“I have been programmed to be your friend. May we be friends?” Plexus asked. His mind focused on being the best and most ideal pal to the Morrys, especially to Doctor Morry.

“Yes, we may of course be friends. It is within us to become our own embodiment of what we’re supposed to be. As I’m sure your engineers told you, I’ve buried a few friends in these past years. I look forward to being in your company.”

“I do so as well. I think it’s vital for us to recognize the idea that there is a chance we’ll be linked together until my own passing, seeing that I’m mortal and all.”

“Of course, but we don’t have to go that far. I can make some chicken and sardines. If you’ve got near beer we can have a bit of a party,” Plexus said. The braid in his artificial cortex began to run even higher. It was like a mini lightning storm rolling through his head. He walked into the spacious household, admiring and appreciating the high ceilings. He found the kitchen and started to go to work. As he prepared the chicken and sardines, he looked at Doctor Morry.

“It’s strange. You are not a physician or a doctorate holder in philosophy. Why the name?” Plexus asked.

“It was my parents. They wanted me to have a name that reflected respect within the neighborhood in which we lived. So, Doctor stuck. My mother and father wanted me to become a surgeon so people could say, ‘Dr. Doctor Morry.” It was the first time Morry heard Plexus laugh. He laughed heartily and with a sense of lightness at the same time. Plexus finished up creating the meal and he and the Morrys sat at the dining room table. Of course the synthetic man ate. The food didn’t convert to waste elimination but to steam that exited his body. He smiled, recognizing that his new friends had begun to take to him even more so than before.

“I’ve been down for so long and tired of all of this. Delaware is a small state. If you are fortunate to find two friends, know that is something precious. I had five. All gone. With you, nevertheless, you’re here to stay.”

Plexus nodded and drank the non-alcoholic beer. “Thank you, Doc’.”

“I keep forgetting how well they programmed you. It took them no time to solidify the fact you’re equipped with all of my information and knowledge.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Plexus said.

“That bundle of nerves sure knows all about us. How did they manage to cram all of that data into your network?” Lindsay asked.

“They actually accumulated all of your ideas, thoughts, and scraps of intelligence and braided them into my memory. I know just about as much as you do about your own selves. Maybe more. I didn’t know about the name, I admit.”

“I’m not going to test you, but I enjoy your company. Could you play a symphonic tune. Phyllis Deav––?”

“Sure,” Plexus said and composer Phyllis Deaver emitted from his speakers in crystalline, stereo sound. The couple looked at each other. This selection played at their wedding.

“How did you know…?” Lindsay stopped and remembered what Plexus just said.

“For two bankers, we’re not too bad off financially,” Morry said. “Our capabilities permitted us to purchase you and to have you enter our lives.”

“That’s mighty fine of you to say that,” his tone was even and warm.

“I think it would be wise of us to go out on the porch and just bask in the greatness of engineering,” Morry announced.

“Yes. Let’s keep going,” Plexus responded.

The couple led the synthetic being down to their finished basement. A pool table and video games adorned the space. Lights flashed from classic pinball machines like bursts from fireworks displaying in the summer night sky.

“You know, I can link all of your various records and vinyls together and organize them in a way that you’ll be able to enjoy them even more….”

“We’d appreciate that, Plexus,” Lindsay remarked.

Plexus walked around the area as Lindsay and Doctor sat on opposite sides of a home theater complete with a giant screen. He looked around the room and found the pool table. He racked the balls and broke them, all of the balls in play found a home in the pockets.

“My friend Gallo could do the same thing…but you probably already knew that,” Doctor said. Suddenly Gallo’s favorite classic rock song oozed from Plexus’ frame.

“Did you want me to stop playing? I know it’s a sore spot for you….”

“No, please continue. It’s like having him back here, again.”

Plexus moved onto the pinball machines. He mastered the technique and achieved the high score that Morry couldn’t even attain. Plexus then walked around to where the theater remained and admired the huge area which also featured a classic popcorn dispenser.

“We can watch a movie if you like….” Lindsay suggested.

“Of course,” Plexus said.

Corry loaded up a film where teams of synthetic beings slaughtered each other in the name of humanity. Mangled bodies and parts of machinery littered a battlefield. Plexus looked a bit pensive, nervous even.

“Maybe that wasn’t the best choice, Darling,” Lindsay declared.

“Excuse me,” Morry said. I didn’t want to….”

“It’s quite alright. I know that you and Virgil enjoyed this film very much. It doesn’t upset me that much at all. We can continue watching it.”

The thrill vanished. It seemed like drinking a carbonated beverage that had gone flat.

“Hey! Why don’t we go outside while there’s still sunlight. Then we can sit around the fire pit,” Morry said with enthusiasm.

“I can do that,” Plexus said.

“Sure, Honey,” Lindsay replied.

The three of them journeyed outside. Air whooshed by providing respite to the September heat. This brought into focus the idea that this all made sense. Plexus could run. Fast. He tossed around a football as Lindsay relaxed on the porch.

The synthetic man and the human played like kids. They laughed at each other and Plexus knew how to throw a perfect spiral and catch it as well. A hill in the front yard provided enough space for them to continue their amusement. The speed and agility left an impression on Morry. He looked at his watch and then up in just enough time to catch the pass. With this kind of recreation and bonding between the two, it felt like Morry’s worries began to melt away. He felt compelled to pass with accuracy and agility. Morry proved himself to be a bit of a match for Plexus. This excited him. He knew that the synthetic man and he could be friends. Plexus continued to hurl perfect passes and soaked up the moment of leisure that the Morrys could hold onto because of their positions as senior vice presidents at Diamante Bank in Wilmington, Delaware.

“You go long this time,” Morry shouted. He wondered why he yelled. Plexus could hear him perfectly fine with even a whisper. His senses remained that much in tune. The synthetic man ran further back and caught the ball. Next, he rocketed it right back to Morry with aplomb. The man laughed hard. He laughed freely like a child discovering gravity for the first time. It seemed like play but he realized that this moment consisted of a relationship building program.

Only he and Plexus could understand all of what happened between the two of them. Friendship codified into a living thing. Morry knew that Plexus was not a man, but he still felt the same companionship he felt with all of those that he had lost. If he had believed in the unknown and unknowable, he’d say he had a curse placed on his head. All of his friends that passed away appeared to be part of some grim, cosmic joke saying, “You’ve got to spend your life on this miserable Earth!” But Morry didn’t see it that way. He viewed his time on this planet as something to cherish and behold. No matter how many setbacks he encountered, he still went ahead with complete control. He looked at his new found friend.

“Go even longer!”

“Okay!” Plexus replied. Morry passed the ball with intensity and strength, making his own perfect spiral this time. The synthetic man ran further and further until he reached the street. His sensors warned him of a pickup truck barreling down the road. The sensors were too late. The sound of metal shredding, glass breaking, and a human-like body thudding against the vehicle caused Morry to run. Lindsay heard the crash as well and jolted to her feet. Neighbors left their residences to see the commotion. Morry reached Plexus. What to do? He thought. Is there an ambulance service for synthetic people? Plexus looked up at Morry. Plexus began to play the voices of all his friends that passed away over the near decade.

Lindsay found her husband. The driver of the truck came rushing out and looked at the three of them, his eyes the size of saucers.

“I didn’t, I mean it! I couldn’t help it!” The driver took off his hat as he saw the last few sparks of synthetic life escape Plexus’ body.

“We were but friends briefly, chiefly soulmates,” Plexus said. His circuitry failed under the glow of the street lamp.

Morry didn’t cry. He just motioned for his wife and the truck driver to clear a path for the first responders.

Later that night, Lindsay and Morry said goodnight to one another and embraced. They went into their separate rooms and both prepared to brave a dawn with one less friend.

Sci Fi

About the Creator

Skyler Saunders

I’ve been writing since I was five-years-old. I didn’t have an audience until I was nine. If you enjoy my work feel free to like but also never hesitate to share. Thank you for your patronage. Take care.


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Comments (2)

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  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Amazing excellent story 🎉🎉 keep it up

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    This was one of the most uniquely heartwrenching pieces I’ve read in a while ugh loved it!

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