Pickup at the Robot Club takes place in the dark days soon after The Emancipation of the Robots where the survival of the Robot species was placed in serious jeopardy by the new rules of banned behavior that were inflicted on both the Humans and the Robots. As any intelligent being will do when faced with the need to survive, illicit assignations existed for those daring enough to seek them out. Sometimes someone comes along seeking the rarest find of all. (Note to buyers: This story is also contained in the anthology: The Fembot Chronicles—Volume 2, available in e-book and print. In the same way that iTunes sells individual tracks off of an album, individual stories are available without the need to buy the entire anthology.)
Warnings: This book contains sex with robots including coerced sex.
Word Count: 20,100
Jon's birthday had looked to be a quiet affair. His parents lived over a thousand miles away and his younger, married sister already had two young kids to look after. Jon didn't see himself wanting kids ever. He was just not the family type. So he was facing a quiet birthday when he heard Tom and Susie over the fence. They seemed to be celebrating something so he went out to see what was happening.
They were barbecuing in the backyard and when they found out it was Jon's birthday they insisted he come right over. Turned out that Susie was sporting quite a rock on her elegant ring finger and they were celebrating their engagement. They morphed that party into an impromptu birthday celebration as well, and somewhere after Jon's third beer Susie asked him The Question.
"So, Jon, why haven't you settled down yet?"
That's a pretty personal question to a thirty-four year old bachelor, but somehow Susie could ask it in a way that seemed concerned—rather than rude.
So maybe it was the way she asked the question. Or maybe that last beer. Or maybe it was being depressed about being alone on your thirty-fourth birthday when your friend and neighbor had just bagged the most beautiful girl around. Whatever it was, Jon gave Susie The Answer.
He looked levelly into her clear, green eyes—a little hard to do given that they were above her ample and barely covered chest—and told her straight out, "Because I've never met a woman like you."
Her reaction surprised him. She turned to Tom and asked, "Does he know?"
"I don't know. I haven't told him. Have you?"
"No," she replied to her fiancée with certainty. "It never came up."
"Me neither. I guess I assumed that you'd have mentioned it along the way. It's yours to tell, but didn't he ever see your you-know-what?"
"You're too sweet when it comes to me," Susie said, giving Tom a quick kiss. "And I never wear it outside because it's going to be yours alone now."
Jon was completely baffled by their conversation. He finally had to interrupt. "Tell me what?" he demanded of them both.
Susie and Tom looked at each other. Then Tom came over and put his arm around Jon's shoulders.
"Jon, good buddy. Susie is a 'bot. A robot," he added, seeing Jon's puzzled expression. "And there are a few others like her still out there."
Jon turned to look at Susie with his mouth hanging open in an unspoken question he couldn't quite get out.
"Of course I am, silly," she said brightly back to him. "A fembot, to be precise." She seemed proud of being exactly what she was.
After that, the course of the afternoon changed radically for Jon.
There were more beers intermixed with The Story of how Tom had met Susie and how they'd fallen in love. Though robots were somewhat common now, Jon had never knowingly interacted with any, except at a couple of stores where they handled checkout duties. And although the 'bots were free now, you didn't expect one to just show up in your rather sedate neighborhood and fall in love with your best friend. It took a long time to tell the story because Jon kept interrupting with very basic—and occasional stupid—questions about robots overall. Afterwards when his head had cleared somewhat he thought he must have asked some of the questions more than once.
Jon awoke in his own bed the next morning with a very fuzzy head, and the feeling that his world had been overturned somehow. When he looked out his window, he could see Susie in her yard in a minimal yellow bikini cleaning up after yesterday's party. Jon quickly put on his old, frayed bathrobe and dashed out to the common fence.
She saw him immediately. "Hi, Jon," she greeted him brightly. "How are you feeling today?"
"A little confused," he answered truthfully. "Are you really a..."
"A robot? Of course I am. I told you that yesterday."
The world seemed to suddenly rotate a bit faster as it looked like all of Jon's memories were intact. That left only one question that mattered—and it mattered a lot.
"Could I really meet someone like you? A robot, I mean?"
Susie looked him over carefully, as if seriously assessing him for the first time before being willing to consider introducing him to any of her friends. Whatever grade he needed it seemed he passed because she replied, "Come on over tonight when Tom gets home and we'll tell you how it works."
This book was added to our catalog on Wednesday 27 July, 2011.