The Tin Man’s Friend

The light from the tv illuminated the room

Alexander sat on the sofa. Family guy was on, the episode about the Nigerian prince that scams Carter Pewterschmidt. From the side of her eye, she caught a shadow sprawling in the cornfield. It must be the neighbor’s cat, that destructive fur ball that somehow finds its way into her yard at night. She went out there to chase it away.

There was no cat—or raccoon. She crept silently through the small field. Nothing. Half-way back, she felt a jolt that destabilized her, lurching her towards the mud beneath her. A voice above her startled her.

I….m, I am mighty sorry, I didn’t mean to cause you tumble ‘nd rumble.

She leaped into the air, almost instantly. She made out face made of metal, limbs made from old curtain rails, and a body which appeared to be recycling cans. His speech was slurred.

His metal face twisted into what she could only imagine was a smile.

“May I stay here? my home has been destroyed. Promise I won’t be a bother”.

His meekness spoke more than his demeanor. She was more amused than terrified.

“Where is your home?”

“The landfill”, he was pointing west.

Empathy welled up in her heart, “sure you can stay”.

“Mighty thanks, Ms., I will be gone by the break of dawn”.

She began to walk away, from what was inarguably the most bizarre encounter of her life.

“Have an oil spill rocky dream Ms. ….”, he trailed off.

“Alexander”. She added quickly.

He chuckled. ” That’s a funny name for a girl”

“I guess it is”, she played along, “and what is your’s?”

“I never had one”, he mumbled.

“I think I’ll call you Tin Man”, She said, stepping through the door.

*************

There was no trace of Tin Man the next morning.

She went about her work conversantly, finishing with dinner in front of the tv. She found herself wondering if the man of tin had come back. Eventually, she switched the tv off and went outside.

There he was, playing with a cat, completely distracted that he didn’t even see her approach. Then he did.

“Ms.., I call him skittles”

Does he talk too? she joked

“I enjoy the company of furry animals. They are rarely alarmed by me”.

Speaking of company, do you have any family?

“No, I was made by a team of robotic experts at a factory in Sapele”. His head hung as though it was heavy. “But my units started to malfunction, early. They stopped producing me, I was worthless, then they abandoned me in that landfill”. He again pointed West. “I built the rest of my body and my home from scraps”.

“I am not Conversant with my primary function”, he added.

She was amazed, She’d heard of Artificial Intelligence, but she’s never heard of an articulate, self-building robot. Her lips grew into a grimace

“I have no family too”, she admitted. “Just an old tv, and a journal”.

He frowned.

“Mighty sorry to hear that, Ms. I was programmed to believe humans ain’t supposed to be alone,” His eyes lit up almost immediately, “perhaps I could be a friend to you”.

She grinned. “would you?”

“It would be my pleasure”, he retorted

And so they sat in the yard under the night sky and be bid her well before the last vanishing star. He’d come back every night to be with her. Thus, the queerest of bond was forged between a raggedy tin man and a lonesome writer.

Image source: ailustra blogspot.hu/2012/08/homem-de-lata-ti-man.html

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