How Michael almost learnt his purpose in life
(by gavin williams)

  Michael sat on the table and waited for the doctor to speak. The open-back robe he was wearing gave him a chill.

  "So I understand you feel you have a problem with your crotch?" asked the doctor. Michael looked around him. "Yes," he stuttered. His cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

  "So what exactly is the problem?" The doctor was arranging some unseen items in a drawer. He didn't even look up at Michael.

  "Well, I saw a photo just the other day of another manís.. you know, but it looked just so much different from my.. you know," Michael stammered.

  "Hmm.. Are you telling me that you haven't seen another manís genitals before?" asked the doctor. Michael felt himself becoming defensive. "Well, I haven't really been looking."

  The doctor sighed, "Well ok, please lift your robe." Michael did as he was told.

  "Good God!" exclaimed the doctor. "My, my, my.." Michael's eyes widened. "What is it?"

  "Well, Mr Phillips, it would appear that in fact you have no genitals at all."

  "Your point being?"

  "You're supposed to have them"

  "So what does this mean?"

  The doctor lowered the hospital robe. "I'm afraid Mr Phillips, it would seem that you are a robot."

  "Son of a bitch!"

  "Now calm down Michael, this is not necessarily a bad thing, being a robot can have many advantages, however, what I would like to know is, how exactly did  it came to be that you hadn't realize that you were a robot before? Didn't you notice any of the signs that you may be mechanical?"

  Michael started to feel panicked "I don't know, what signs would those be?"

  "Well," said the doctor sitting down, crossing his ankle over his knee and putting his fingers together, fingertip to fingertip, against his lips thoughtfully, "have you noticed any signs of super strength, or abnormally high intelligence? Do you have an affinity for repetitive tasks? Do you have any emotions?"

  "No, now I think about it, I can't seem to remember ever having any emotions." replied Michael.

  "How about repetitive tasks, or high intelligence?" asked the doctor.

  "I work in accounts payable for a living," answered Michael.

  "Well there we go! Those are classic signs of being a robot. In fact, we could find your model number if you are interested, hm?"

  "How would you do that?" Michael asked wide-eyed.

  "Here, allow me to.." said the doctor as he motioned Michael to lower the top of his robe down, and then pushed in the centre of his chest, slightly to his left. Michael heard a click and watched in horror as a large portion of his chest slowly folded down. He craned his head to see what was inside the cavity.

  "You see that," the doctor said pointing, "that is your heart. It will have your model and serial number on it."

  Michael saw the metal cylinder in his chest. There was a strong smell of motor oil and a rhythmic whoomp, whoomp as a bronze plunger was pushed in and out of the cylinder.

  "Ah yes, I can see the inscription now, if you could just turn to your right slightly Mr Phillips-" The doctor said, as he leaned in closer.

  Michael put his arm up over the hole in his chest. "No" he said quickly, shuffling back from he doctor slightly.

  The doctor looked surprised "don't you want to know what model you are? We could check with the manufacturer and see what your purpose is." Michael shook his head, he felt dizzy.

  "I don't think I want to know right now"

  "Well, that seems very odd to me, " said the doctor pushing his glasses higher up his nose and sitting back down. He pursed his lips. Michael pushed his chest flap back into place. "Of course, as for your crotch, I hope you realize that there are plenty of options open up to you. I personally know an excellent plastic surgeon who does great work at attaching body parts to robots. Here," he opened a desk drawer and pulled out a booklet, "take this home and read it over. There is a wide selection of male genitalia available, with differences in size, shape, colour and price. Give me a call when you make a decision on the matter. Please pay at the reception desk"

*  *  *

  Michael was led to reception desk. "This is Michael Phillips" said the doctor, "he had a routine check-up, and also brought a robot prosthetics catalogue." And with that, the doctor left.

  "That'll be $120," said the receptionist. Michael got out his wallet. The receptionist gave him a look up and down his body. "Say, you're a robot, eh?" she asked.

  "Yes, I am" He felt his voice sound tinny.

  "Oh, cute. My cousin was a robot."

  Michael handed the cash over to her.

  "Say, what's your name?" she asked.

  "Michael" he replied.

  "Cute, mine's Liz." She took the cash and put it into the register. "So how long have you been a robot for?"

  "I only found out 4 minutes ago" he responded. She handed him his receipt.

  "Say," she asked, "I finish in a couple of minutes, do you want to go get a drink or something?"

  He looked at her, and felt his heart beat faster.

  "Yes," he said, as he hid the prosthetics catalogue behind his back, "Yes I do."

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