NEW LIFE: Chapter Three

Its tail twitched, and then its eyes opened. It focused on the world a moment as the tear ducts released water into its eyes and things adjusted into clarity. The office was cluttered with all manners of things that he didn’t understand. Books and papers. All sorts of odd tools. And then there were the others.

“Hello.” Notnow greeted the first of his own kind by grabbing its arm and shaking. His programming told him this was what he should do, but the other Monkey didn’t respond. Its wide-open eyes just stared at him unmoving. It was as if the other one was somehow in a trance. He tried again, this time shaking harder on the Monkey’s arm.

“Hello.” Nothing. Maybe this one with the pale lavender fur was broken. He looked it over carefully and noticed how still it looked. Large eyes so like his, wide open and gaping.

Notnow looked around the table and found that all of them seemed the same. They were all broken. He poked a few to be sure and none answered him. He was in a place of broken toys.

He turned around, learning the edge of the desk. Learning where he stood, beside the flat computer and the other Monkey’s. Don wasn’t there. His logistics told him that he needed the owner to be activated, but where was he? Every other time he was activated Don had been the one holding him.

Now Don wasn’t there. Something seemed different about this time. It was as if the world seemed much more complex then the last time he had been woken.

He was different. Different from all the other ones on the table certainly, but he just couldn’t understand why. It was like a black cloud of confusion settled over what should be normal routines. The only real answer that the facts would give him was that he must be broken. But if he was broken, why was it he was activated?

He sat and played with the end of his tail. Just a programmed response when he was to show confusion or adapting to new situations. And these were quite new situations to him.

Just as the strangeness and isolation of the moment almost forced him to shut himself off he heard a voice and footsteps in the hall. Someone walking a bit sluggish. Then he heard a voice.

“Hold my calls Bella. I need to get some serious programming done.” The familiar voice echoed through the door. It was his owner.

“Yes Mr. Vaughan.”

“Bella, please. It’s Don okay?”

“Yes Mr.. Er Don.”

Notnow looked around and quickly calculated the distance. He hopped and gripped a hold onto the back of the computer chair and waited motionless for his owner to enter.

Don was juggling a few things at once. Namely his meal and his thermos. Trying hard to balance it with the stack of paperwork and forms he had to fill out today. He jumped when Notnow rose up balanced on the back of his chair and waved. “Hello.”

“Gods! Are you trying to give me a heart attack? How did you turn on?” He grumbled as his heart started to slow back into its typical pace. Luckily he hadn’t managed to spill or drop anything. He had almost forgotten Notnow existed as he had gone on with the rest of his day before returning to the office. With all the work he’d been doing lately it was easy for him to lose track of one or two things.

“Hrm, must have forgotten to turn you off after the last set of repairs.” Don reasoned with himself.

“Hello.” He repeated.

“Yes, yes. Hello Notnow.” He settled things down on the desk and looked it over. Beef stir fry ordered in from Asian Dynasty along with their famous Won ton Soup. It wasn’t much, but it used real food and tended to taste better then the warmed beef sandwiches offered across the street.

“What’s that?” the Monkey hopped onto the desk and poked his fingers onto the tray curiously examining the steaming contents.

“Hey now, back off. You don’t eat so you don’t need to worry about it.” A sigh passed him as Notnow’s sad curious eyes watched him. “Okay, it’s just food. My lunch.”

The brown monkey nodded and took to perching near the laptop and simply watching as Don ate. It mimicked his hands as he brought food up into his mouth. It was then that an odd thought came to him.

“I don’t have teeth.” Notnow stated as he prodded inside his mouth. “I don’t eat.” Simple statements. Facts.

“No, you don’t.” Don frowned a little, leaned back and took a break from his stir fry to eye the little mechanical thing. “They didn’t want to put in teeth or nails or anything dangerous. Just encase they got their asses sued for one of you biting some kid. I personally think it makes you look rather stupid. It’s unnatural.”

“I am unnatural?” Notnow tilted his head and eyed Don a moment; the words made him feel funny inside. It was just mimicking though. I mean that’s what his program did. Mimicked and learned. Except that unprocessed confusion was still there.

The man didn’t answer. Instead he brushed back his graying locks that were fast approaching the whiteness of old age and looked over what his programming had created. For the first time he actually seemed to study an active model of his design. Saw the minor flaws and mistakes in his work.

“You need teeth. Among other things.”

“Teeth?” Notnow approached a bit, sitting near the tray.

“Well since I guess you’re stuck with me, I might as well make the changes I want for you.” He chuckled. “Least they can’t control that.”

Don seemed to give up the rest of his meal as he leaned back further, locking hands behind his head and staring up into the blank canvas of ceiling.

“It wouldn’t be that hard, I’m sure the production house has spare parts just sitting around.” Don smirked a bit at the thought. It wasn’t unusual to find all manners of things in the Production House bins. Pieces from all sorts of mechanical and cybernetic toys created in New Life industries.

Monkey sized teeth should be rather easy to find. A lot easier at least then some other things he’d searched for. He remembered the time he tried to create a prototype for a New Life squid model. There was no way he wanted to revisit that task again. Luckily the idea failed miserably before it got that far.

Notnow moved his hands onto the tray and carefully lifted the soup up to his face. The sensors in his hands told him the cup was warm, and he could see the steam rise from it but he couldn’t imagine the want to drink the stuff. Owners ate to recharge. He did not. He did not need teeth.

“Why?” The small primate asked as he set the cup down carefully. His large blinking eyes turning to Don like a curious child.

“Why what?”

“Why change me?” It seemed a simple enough question.

“Would you want to be like all the others?” He paused, laughing a little. “Fool, your talking to it as if it’s really alive aren’t you? God damnit, I must really be lonely.” He reached forward and snagged Notnow by the tail.

“Different then the others…” Notnow was sure he said it. He had to have, but then Don didn’t seem to take notice. How could he form a sentence and not express it? That wasn’t a part of his programming. But neither were the strange feelings that came from that expression.

“I am different. Very different from them.” His voice echoed again, unsaid inside his synthetic skull. The little monkey stared back at the other cold faces glancing at him as he swung for a moment by his tail. They seemed to stare through him. As if peering down into something more then what he really was. “I am unnatural.”

He hardly noticed the twist of his tail with all this confusion. There was a soft beep inside his head and the world turned off again, leaving Don once again holding onto his limp form. He set it down, more carefully then before and rose to take a small walk to the window in his office.

He leaned against the wooden frame of it and peered out at the skyline. Immediately what he saw was New Life Towers gaping back at him. The large monstrosity of a building filled with advertisers, businessmen and all sorts of nonsense. He refused to work there. Instead preferring the comfort of Oakwood Offices. Far closer to the ground.

“That’s what happened to me.” He muttered to himself as if talking to that large thing gaping out of the skyline. “I lost my love for it. They simply drained it out of me.”

His heart tinged a bit with the words, although the realization that he was right hurt more. “not anymore though. I have the control now. I have the say.”

With back to the window he peered at the laptop and his small little world. “I’m going to make a Lot of changes. Starting with that damned Monkey.”