There was a robot in the park. It was a F-3 model. Old and rusty. The paint job faded over years of being powered up, the F-3 on the side was barely visible. The robot was seen walking around the park everyday. It would take the same steps unless it saw someone and walked up to them. It never said anything. A few people said they’d heard it speak, but for the majority of 10 years, it had been silent. It had been alone.
No one knew why the robot was there.
It was designed to keep people company with the elderly in mind, but the local homes said it wasn’t theirs and the children were slightly scared.
The model must have a long life battery because it never left the park to charge anywhere. It had nowhere to go.
Daniel Pickinson was walking through the park with three of his friends. They were snacking and slurping out of cans. He lazily dropped a can to the ground as it slipped from his limp fingers after he drained it. He was too involved in what he was saying to hear or notice the robot approach.
“Pick it up.” The Robot said with a voice as rusty as their body. Daniel didn’t notice the source of the voice until it stopped in front of him. Daniel looked at the robot with an amused look, he looked between his friends as a weak laugh wheezed out of him.
“Pick it up. Littering is bad.” The robot said.
“Pick it up, littering is bad.” Daniel repeated mocking the machine. The robot tilted it’s head. It looked confused, as though it didn’t understand Daniel’s actions. It didn’t.
“Pick it up. Littering is bad” The robot repeated.
“Ohh pick it up”
“Pick it up”
“Littering is sooo bad”
“Littering is bad.”
“Dumb machine.” Daniel said walking past it. The robot stood there as they all walked away. It waited a moment before walking over to the can. It picked it up with creaky joints and walked over to the bin and put it away.
The robot only had one phrase the only thing it’d said over the last ten years.
25 years ago, this particular F-3 model was bought and delivered to the house of Mr Jenkins. He had be advised to have a companion robot by a grief counsellor in the wake of the death of his wife. He hadn’t liked the robot to start with but over the years they had grown closer.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; Mr Jenkins would walk through the park. It was his favourite place. The robot followed him.
“Fee” The old man called him, F-3 sounded too robotic. The man knew there was more to the robot. The robot sat down next to the old man on the park bench. They sat there a in comfortable silence. They watched the rest of the world around them. There were other robots, often F-4, F-5 or commonly F-6.
“We’re both old, behind the generations Fee.” Jenkins often said. They hadn’t seen another F-3 model in years. They were both old, and seemingly the last of their kind.
Mr Jenkins hated littering. He said he hadn’t fought for this land to be polluted. The first time Fee had seen Jenkins laugh was one day all those years ago. He had been complaining about littering, as he watched someone litter their coffee cup.
“I’d tell them to pick it up if my knees would get me off this bench quick enough.”He’d complained. Fee had stood up and gone over to them.
“Pick it up. Littering is bad.” The robot said simply. The person had stopped, turned and picked up their cup off the ground. The robot watched them until they put the cup in a bin before walking back to Jenkins. He was laughing and smiling. His eyes watering with joy rather than sadness.
Mr Jenkins had died 10 years ago. No family wanted to take the robot. When Mr Jenkin’s bungalow was sold, Fee was placed outside on the pavement for scrap metal. It had been a Monday, so Fee walked to the park. When he arrived back at the house, he couldn’t enter. Fee had gone back to the park and remained their for 10 years alone. His battery was fading. Soon the metal body of a F-3 would be littering the park.