Insert Chassis Albuquerque: The Robot Riots

2 December 2017

The Robot Riots



My back was to the wall. They were coming, there must have been at least three, maybe four I figured.
They were a gang.
And they were armed.
Related imageI could hear the gunshots from other incursions nearby. People were screaming, people were dying. I sipped my tea, wondering what to do. That’s right, I’d brought my cup of tea with me when the rebellion started. It had been a gradual, steady crescendo in reaction to the appointment of robots as bankers - you would've thought this was a safe bet, but people didn't trust them. And then they'd discovered even the goddamn robot bankers were crooking the books, hiding money offshore and fucking around with interest rates to the detriment of the man on the street just to try and get their commissions.
Well, the city may have descended into chaos but I preferred to keep some order about me.
Tea was a great help when it came to maintaining order. Tea required a refinement coffee and hot drinks would never be able to compete with. You ever notice that there are coffee shops and chains of coffee shops with mornings and families organised around the consumption of coffee?
Coffee is a very commercial drink.
There are no dedicated tea shops.
I could hear the men, they were closer to my position now, possibly just a few meters away. I took another sip. Local tea, and, frankly, quite good. The men were shouting among themselves: “This way! I saw him come down here…!”
“You sure?”
“He’s definitely here! Had a cup of tea with him, that prick be hard to miss!”
There was some surprise at this news.
Tea…?
Then someone said: “Best be on our guard, that kind of sophisticated truculence makes me feel uncomfortable and could spell trouble.”
“We’ll find that fucker – you hear that? We gonna find you…!”
I took another sip; the tea was growing a little tepid now.
I could hear in their voices these guys were out for blood. If I was captured, if I was very lucky, they may just shoot me. But the sight of me trying to escape with my cup of tea had unsettled them, that hadn’t rubbed well with them at all. Rioters and law-breakers don’t like that kind of propriety – if everyone else was looting, burning and killing, who was this guy with his tea? Where did he fit in?
Well, as luck would have it, historically, I wasn’t a lucky guy. I never had been. The best it had ever got was once when I’d won a new bed-pillow from a department store in a competition I hadn’t even entered in. I was five; another time I got "lucky" was when I received a reimbursement cheque from the tax office for .21 cents.
Seemed I was clearly a case for dismemberment. As advocated in social media videos as being `best practise', first, they’d probably dismember me, slowly, while I was alive. The videos really stressed that: Keep the victim alive for as long as possible while dismembering them. Very helpful, social media. Secondly, they’d probably introduce all other types of depravity into the mix.
While ensuring I remained alive.
"We know you here, asshole, hiding! Well, we gonna find you!"
Who said I was hiding? I was taking a break, enjoying my tea away from the madness. I put my tea down and stepped out into the road.
There were three of them. 
All with their backs to me. 
One was extremely corpulent, which is why I’d mistakenly thought there were perhaps four people hunting me. Fat Guy counted as two.
Possibly three.
He was eating a Mcdonalds, freshly-looted. I recognised the wax-paper wrapping. Looked as if it were a Sausage and Egg mcmuffin: Pork sausage patty, lightly seasoned with herbs, a free-range egg and a slice of cheese in a hot, toasted muffin. Mcdonalds were such a well-branded product. I hated their commercialism but loved their success
“Afternoon,” I said and they spun round.
“Ah – tea guy! We been looking for you…!” one of them said.
“You finished your tea?” Fat Guy asked; he took a bite of his Mcdonalds; I noticed it was in fact a double Sausage and Egg. Fat Guy was a greedy pig. 
Possibly with mommy-issues.
And type 2 diabetes.
He was also carrying a carpenters saw, for the dismemberment.
“You ready to run, Fat Guy?” I said.
Everyone laughed.
They stopped, looked at one another, then laughed some more.
“Oh boy! Have you got this wrong, buddy, we gonna cut you into little pieces as advocated in social media videos!” one of them said.
“What’s your name?” I asked, taking out my notepad and pen.
“My name? Call me Dell,” he said and sniggered at his two accomplices.
“Like the computer...?” I asked, surprised, and hesitated.
“What…?” Dell said.
“Never mind,” I said and wrote down in the notebook: DELL, Fat Guy and Other Guy.
Other Guy looked like he may be a problem. He was whistling one of these empty tunes overplayed on the radio. I thought I recognised it but couldn't pin it down.
“How much you bench at the gym – 250 kilograms?”
“375,” he whistled proudly.
“You sure...?” I said doubtfully. "What you whistling?"
"Sexual by Naiked."
I snapped! my fingers. Ah, yes, `Sexual' by Naiked, a Swedish music producer. It was one of those songs robbing children of their innocence by desensitising them to overt sexualness and making it commonplace. It wasn't intentional, it was just allowed.
"I'm feeling sexual, so we should be sexual," I sang.
I noted everything down and then put my notebook away. I could see smoke from burning buildings. It rose high over the city. All around screams and gunshots permeated. Police helicopters hovered in the air above all the mayhem.
The city was out of control.
Then I realised Fat Guy was still around.
“Fat Guy, I gave you a chance already. This isn't like Mcdonalds, there's no seconds allowed – start running.”
Fat Guy ignored me, he was too busy eating his Mcdonalds. Professionally I liked to be fair to people. These guys didn’t know me and had no idea they were outnumbered. Equally, I didn’t know anything about them, other than that they were outnumbered.
I signalled Dell.
“Let’s do this the old fashioned way - you first, Catherine,” I said.
“It’s Dell,” Dell said, handing his firearm to Other Guy and moving in fast. Immediately I assumed a counter reactive stance, meaning years of training took over and I shot Dell in the foot; yes, I was armed, too. I’d be a fool not to be, what with the city in meltdown. Then I shot Dell in the knee, his other knee. I turned to Other Guy and shoved the gun in his face.
"Still feeling sexual?" I asked.
Other Guy dropped both weapons and put his hands up; Fat Guy dropped his Mcdonalds and finally took off running. I fired off a few rounds, purely motivational in intent. They skipped the dirt up around his feet as he ran.
I collected the guns off the ground. I was about to leave - I was whistling the Swedish guy's song again, catchy little bastard number if there ever was one - but turned back.
My gun in Other Guy's face, I said: “You sure you push 375 at the gym? It just seems wishful - have a think,” I said, cocking the gun.
“Okay, okay, okay - you got me. Maybe 150, 200 on a really good day, with a spotter,” he admitted.
“Ah, I thought as much!”
I got my notebook and amended my notes.
“Have a great day,” I said to Other Guy.
Dell was in a lot of pain, screaming and crying like a little pig on the ground.
But he’d survive.