"You're a funny man," says Mr. Fantastic. He is an E70 robot from Westeria with twelve fingers and an addiction to battery acid. He enjoys loud music and men with good jokes but never tells any of his own. "Say it again."

"Fuck off," says Jim. "Get your feet off the couch.

Mr. Fantastic puts his pegs on the ground and sits up straight. He wonders what a White Russian tastes like but is afraid to ask. He watches the girls in the corner rolling their drunken skulls and shaking their hips and dreams of being a dancer. Loud 80's music shakes the walls.

"I'll be here all night long," says Jim to his human friends. He drools on the couch when no one is looking. His face pushes into the leather and he screams before falling onto his back against the cold wooden floor.

"Jim is intoxicated," says Mr. Fantastic.

All the guys laugh. They think the E70 is funny but only because Jim hates machines. A big fat human man hasn't spoken all night. "You think we should turn him over on his side?"

"Why?" says Mr. Fantastic.

"So he won't die."

Mr. Fantastic takes even steps over to his master and flips him onto his side. Jim pukes on the floor and the E70 cleans the remaining chucks from his master's face. Everyone leaves. The dancing girls and the laughing guys. The house is a mess but Mr. Fantastic only cleans what he is allowed to touch. He hasn't worked since he was replaced by the E74. They are the top dogs in technology. Most importantly they are capable of adolescent transportation (although terrible party-goers).

Jim wakes up with a hangover. Mr. Fantastic gives him a fresh bucket every two vomits and a moist towel and a glass of water. "I'm detecting fascinating levels of Adrenocorticotropics in your blood. What's wrong?"

"I was supposed to be somewhere today," says Jim. "Wait here while I get my coat." He stammers out of the stinking living room into the area of the house where machines are never allowed.

Mr. Fantastic looks around at the scene left over from the night before. Everything is broken and disturbed. The room reminds him of home. Nobody wanted him there. They said he was useless. He hears a bash on the back of his metal head but feels nothing at all. He falls on the floor and turns around. Jim is standing over him with a baseball bat.

"This is not very human of you," says Mr. Fantastic.

Jim breaks open the E70's cranium and steals its eyes. They go into his coat pocket but the rest of Mr. Fantastic goes to the backyard. To the dirt. With the other animals. One was hit by a car. The other was killed by a man who could not afford to feed it.

"Mr. Fantastic"
Copyright: © 2010 Garrett Ashley
Garrett Ashley has appeared in Inwood Indiana, Short Fast and Deadly, and is forthcoming in Twisted Dreams Magazine. He lives in Brookhaven, Mississippi and in his spare time enjoys watching squirrels fall out of trees.


  1. Just what I imagine the future to be like: advanced and expensive technology as playthings to drunk teenagers.