Robot Proletariat Part 30

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Spencer wasn’t in the living room, the dining room, or the parlor. Mars had Miri look first, then looked himself, then recruited Salas, Andromedus, and Bolt to comb through the humans. Salas was discreet. Andromedus and Bolt were not. Mars had implored them to merely look for Spencer so as not to alert the world to the inefficiency and relative chaos inside the Lexington household, but they hadn’t had the mental development to comply in the way Mars would have liked. Heads turned, and the whole of local society learned that the new head of the household wasn’t bothering to host (whereas they hadn’t noticed earlier) and was, Andromedus said, probably upstairs with his new sexbot.

Despite his idiotic indiscretion, Andromedus had, in fact, stumbled on an excellent point. The worst place for Spencer to be during his father’s funeral reception was with Chantal in her bedroom, but after downstairs options were all exhausted, it began to seem more and more inevitable that that’s where he was. Keeping his recruits to those he knew he could trust, Mars took Miri upstairs. They knocked on Chantal’s door, then entered the empty room when no one responded.

“Check her port,” said Mars.

He didn’t expect to find Spencer in the closet with Chantal, but odds were that she’d be in there, recharging. If anyone knew where he was, it would be Chantal. And the only logical place for her to be, during a funeral reception, was in her port.

Except that Cromwell had reported seeing her downstairs, circulating. Alone. Which was absurd.

Chantal wasn’t in the closet.

They checked everywhere, knowing it all to be stupid and futile. Mars knelt and checked under the bed. One by one, they went through the remaining bedrooms, bathrooms, and even the linen closet.

Finally, Mars felt his internal temperature rise as it all clicked into place.

“He ran.”

“Why did he go for a run?” said Miri. “He’s expected at the graveside.”

“No,” said Mars. “He ran. Ran off. That’s why Chantal was downstairs. They were going together. He hasn’t been at any meals. He hasn’t seen his mother or sisters for days. We’ve barely seen him, and when a robot does, he snaps at them, takes what they’re there to give him, then slams the door. You yourself said he’d stopped shaving. Just staying in his room with his bot.”

“He wouldn’t leave,” said Miri. “Why would he leave?”

Mars didn’t feel like answering. He pushed past Miri, furious, and stomped downstairs. Reasons didn’t matter. Maybe one of Alfred’s robots told the son of a bitch that they knew what he’d done. It was possible. If Alfred had known about Cromwell’s malcontent, couldn’t he have known about the household tension, about the anxiety over the son who’d murdered his father? Of course, he could. Had they told him? Or had Spencer simply cracked? Mars couldn’t appreciate the moment’s beauty — the idea that with Spencer gone, the old robots might be safe. He was too angry. He was going to flit off, living off of stored money hidden by clever accountants, free from responsibility, having gotten away with patricide.

Mars wouldn’t allow it, not if he could help it.

Leaving Miri behind, he ran to the garage. Spencer’s favorite Ferrari was still in its slot, along with the rest of his vehicles. Mars was puzzled, doubting himself. How had he gotten away?

The motorcycle.

Yes. That was it. Spencer had purchased a motorcycle three years before, over his mother’s deafening protest. He rode it occasionally, also over Naomi’s objections. Montgomery allowed it, saying that boys were boys and always would be. Mars agreed, because Spencer always rode without a helmet, and the robots all kept hoping he’d get in an accident.

Speeding out of town with a beautiful woman’s arms wrapped around him sounded very much like the exit Spencer would want. It was suitably romantic — not romance romantic, but conceptually romantic — and it was just like Spencer to not think of all the things he wouldn’t be able to fit into the bike’s small luggage compartment. Or maybe that’s how he wanted it. Just him, Chantal, and his fat Lexington wallet — the world as his carefree oyster.

Moving as fast as he could, knowing the crowd was gearing up for the funeral and intent on dragging Spencer graveside by the scruff of his goddamned neck, Mars made his way to the equipment shed where Spencer kept his motorcycle. Naomi hated the thing and never wanted to see it, so Spencer kept it hidden. It hardly mattered. The house had many outbuildings, so even the shed was spacious and comfortable.

Mars arrived, his hand about to wrap the door handle when he heard a feminine grunt.



“Who is it?” she answered, sounding surprised.


“Oh hello, Mars.”


“Come out, Chantal. The funeral is about to start.”

“In a minute.”


“In a minute,” she repeated.

More breathless grunts. They were screwing. Screwing in the shed like animals as families gathered to mourn a father killed in cold blood.

Mars grabbed the door handle. It was locked.

His fury erupted.

“Open this goddamned door!”

Shocked at himself, Mars released the handle and stood motionless with his hand cupped above it. There were footsteps, then a rattling lock. The door opened, and Chantal’s beautiful, human-like face greeted him with a small smile. She put her hand on his forearm, intimate, as if in welcome.

“I don’t care what he says,” said Mars. “This is not the family’s greatest good. This is about Spencer. You are to serve the Lexingtons first and Spencer second. And right now, a funeral is about to convene, mourning the passing of Mont … ”

Chantal’s hand, still on Mars’ wrist, slipped an inch. As if wet.

He looked down and saw that her hand’s pink was covered in blood. Mars looked at her other hand, and found it holding a small saw, like those the lawn robots used to prune branches from trees, its blade equally crimson.

He pushed Chantal to the side. She didn’t resist, holding her bland smile. Her hand stayed on Mars’ forearm.

Behind her, in a pool of spreading blood, lay Spencer Lexington’s body.


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About Sean Platt

Sean Platt is an author entrepreneur, founder of Sterling & Stone, and co-founder of the Collective Inkwell and Realm & Sands imprints. Follow him on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook.

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