Vincent the Robot

Here’s how it goes (in the beginning):

First it goes beep.
Then it goes bop.

Then, after a while of something else, it goes:


This audio cycle continues in this seesaw pattern for the expected duration of the robot. And the robot’s duration is infinite.

The robot is made to last and, with very minimal maintenance and check-ups, it should do just that. It should beep and bop today, beep and bop tomorrow and beep and bop throughout all the ticks and tocks that come between the two. One could call it a programmed metronome. A hard-wired pulse.

As a result, the very thought process of these robots is detailed as described: they think a beep or they think a bop.

This robot is one of function. Not functioning for itself, but to others. Others like you. It cleans and it cooks for you. It rubs your back. It brushes your teeth. It sits on your porch. It watches TV and it surfs the internet with you. It also tells you that you are pretty even when you are not pretty. It beeps and bops by itself until it is called upon to fulfill functions such as the ones listed above.

The beeping and the bopping keep the robot in a constant state of readiness. An engineered smile accompanies these beeps and bops. In its permanence, the smile is meant to allow the human who owns the robot to feel no guilt. Only when the robot is summoned by these humans does the beeping and bopping stop.

This is the technical procedure of the newest line of robots, as issued by the new King of America. Vincent is one of these new models.

He lives in the Anderson household on the corner of Sagebrush Terrace in the 12th district of the first epicenter of the new Kingdom of America. And it is, by far, the most decadent of the epicenters. The Andersons live up their lives in an attempt to meet this decadence with ease. In fact, they have to. The first epicenter lives in a state of constant excess. This debauchery is regulated by the Knights of America. The Knights of America roam the streets, making sure members of each epicenter stay true to their boundaries and practices.

The first epicenter must live like royalty. No exceptions to this rule. The second epicenter must live a little less like royalty. The third epicenter must live like less than less than royalty. And the fourth epicenter doesn’t live at all. They are dead. Either future-dead or present-dead. The present-dead have no pulse. They are corpses. Old and new. The future-dead reside in this epicenter as well. The future dead are undesirables. The homeless, the crazy, the perverted and the diseased. They walk among the corpses, waiting for their time to join them.

Nobody worries about the fourth epicenter. Not even Vincent. And it’s not because he’s a robot. Vincent does have the capacity to worry. He is top-of-the-line in this regard. He has the proper wiring to ensure a broad range of emotions. These emotions comes in handy if, say, his master is feeling sad. Vincent can be appropriately compassionate.

Beep-bop. Sympathetic.
Beep-bop. Supportive.
Beep-bop. Understanding.
Beep-bop. Everything Mr. and Mrs. Anderson could ever need in a robot or eachother.

As a result of Vincent’s capacity for emotion, he began to foster “other” feelings. Emotions that did not serve a purpose in the Anderson household. Feelings that were unnecessary in the emotional alchemy (as decided upon by the Alchemist of the new Kingdom of America) of functional robots. On their own, they proved a nuisance. The primary unwanted emotion was boredom. Vincent lived to help the Andersons. Yet, unfortunately, he could not always be in the act of helping Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. They slept at night, and rarely needed him during this time. As a result, Vincent was overtaken by the beeps and the bops during these hours. Vincent developed a love for his duties because they were a vacation from the mundane. A vacation from the realization, which he had on a frequent basis, that he was a robot.

Beep. Robot.
Bop. Not-human.
Beep. Only a machine.
Bop. No one loves you.

And so the pattern continues. It turns the clock and makes sure there is a steady eye on the passing of time.

Anything capable of love, is invariably capable of hate. And Vincent was no different. He loved to help. He loved the feeling it gave him. He loved feeling valued. What he hated was simple. He developed a simple hate for the beeps and bops. He began acting out. He would rub Mr. and Mrs. Anderson’s backs even if they didn’t make a request. He would make pasta at random moments throughout the day because Mrs. Anderson once proclaimed that she, “Could never get sick of pasta.” As a result of these actions, both unplanned and unwanted, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson had become more and more wary at the sight of Vincent. Thus they called upon his services less and less.

Vincent, following his wiring, became depressed

He held the potential for every emotion, yet boredom and sadness were the tissues that held together his life.


Hopeless and with no one to pity him, he made his discovery. He was plugging in a lamp when it happened. The outlet was slightly cracked and his hand plunged into the socket when he attempted to plug in the chord. His fingers connected with a few open circuits and he was shocked by a jolt of electricity.

And this is where he found it. This is where he found his bliss.

A moment of nothing.

Immediately following the jolt, his system was short circuited for a small duration of time, and during that time, he was free from the beeps and the bops.

Instead of beep-bop, beep-bop, he felt this:

And this was beautiful.

He was hooked. In the dead of night he began electrocuting himself on purpose. Each time the beeps and bops would momentarily leave him. His work began to suffer as a result of this new practice. Instead of genuinely loving to serve, he served out of function and function only. All he could think about was sticking his fingers into the socket once Mr. and Mrs. Anderson went to bed.


Letting his eyes roll into the back of his head and relinquishing the grinding chore that is constant thought.

Not having to exist at all.

He kept his routine in check at first. He decided he would only escape during the night when his masters didn’t need him. But the beep-bops started getting to him.

Beep. Real quick.
Bop. You know you want to?
Beep. It’s under control.
Bop. Okay, one and then right back to work.

One day, during dinner, his desire for the nothing got the best of him, and he snuck out to the garage to get a quick fix from an extension chord. He served the roast beef to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson then sat on a stool and prepared the chord.

He briefly smiled upon placing the extension chord in his mouth, and then he felt it: even more nothing than before.

He felt so much nothing that he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t take the chord from his mouth. The nothing wouldn’t let him, and he didn’t want it to.

He sat on that stool; not thinking about anything.

Not thinking about breakfast and not thinking about lunch.
Not thinking about rubbed backs.
Not thinking about mowed lawns.
Not thinking about scrubbed toilets.
Not thinking about stained clothes or dirtied dishes.

Vincent didn’t think about the beeps and he did not think about the bops.

Vincent no longer knew that he was a robot.

Vincent was happy on what appeared to be, despite no previous evidence of such occurances, an instinctual level. Vincent’s electro-bliss carried him through the night, and it would have continued to carry him on until the power went out. Instead, Mr. Anderson found him.

Mr. Anderson examined the scene, noticing the power chord hanging from Vincent’s mouth and the blank eyes accompanied by a lazily blissful smile, then quickly passed judgment.

“Fucking junkie.”

This was the end of Vincent’s stay in the lap of luxury. A junkie was not decadent. It had no place in the first epicenter. Within twelve minutes of Mr. Anderson’s phone call to the castle, the Knights of America had effectively relocated Vincent to epicenter four.

The land of the dead. The location which he remains to this day.

Epicenter four is not allowed electricity. It has no need. Thus, Vincent can not find his bliss. This epicenter is for the dying. The hopeless. The ones who anticipate the release of death.

Vincent is not one of these people. He is not a person. He is a robot and he is immortal. Thus he will sit forever in the fourth epicenter; envying the rotting corpses and diseased rejects of humanity.

With a smile of protocol on his face he sits. The passers-by believe he is happy because of this preprogrammed smirk. They have faith that he has found a permanent happiness. The wretched souls of mankind come to him daily to pray. They sit and look at his smile. It gives these outcasts hope, and they smile. Albeit briefly, they do smile. They come in the morning and leave at night. They say goodnight to Vincent but he ignores their kindness. He can’t hear them. He hears something else…




4 Comments on “Vincent the Robot”

  1. 1 kristof said at 11:45 am on February 24th, 2010:

    Thanks for this tale of robotics and science affliction!


  2. 2 Sean said at 2:43 pm on February 26th, 2010:

    Science affliction! I really like that. Thanks for reading, Kristof.

  3. 3 Renee Alexandria Stuart said at 11:18 am on September 23rd, 2010:

    I simply could not find a contact page! But then again I didn’t try very hard..


    Side note: love absolutely everything.

  4. 4 Renee Alexandria Stuart said at 11:25 am on September 23rd, 2010:

    I simply could not find a contact page! But then again I didn’t try very hard..


    Side note: I love absolutely everything.

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