Mum and Dad’s bedroom has changed a lot since I last was here. There are no drawers and no television. The only piece of furniture in their room is their bed. Rosie and I strip naked, and go into their bathroom ensuite where we shower together. There are no bottles of shampoo or conditioner here nor toothbrushes or toothpaste.
“Toothbrush.” I yell, and like magic a fucking metal toothbrush is expelled from the bathroom wall on a metal arm that is swinging around my face waiting for me to open my mouth. I open my mouth and the metal arm pushes the metal brush inside, brushing my teeth in circular motions, and all I have to do is stand there.
“Toothbrush.” Rosie says, and a second metal toothbrush on a metal arm is expelled from the bathroom wall and begins wobbling around her face waiting for her to open her mouth. She opens her mouth, the brush zooms inside and Rosie grins.
“Hiss izz like tha Jedsens.” Rosie tries to tell me with the brush inside her mouth.
My brush has long gone back into the tiled bathroom wall, and I’m able to speak properly.
“Yeah it is like the Jetsons.” I smile. George is standing in the bathroom staring at us.
“George! Go away.” Rosie says, after her brush has rescinded into the wall again.
“Why? Don’t you need my help?” He asks.
“No. I’m fine. George I’m naked. Go away.” Rosie says, and I instinctively stand in front of her.
“I only came to help you shower Rosie. There is no need to be so rude.” George says.
“I don’t have Lobadantriosis George. I don’t need help. Stop looking at me. Turn around.” Rosie says.
“I detect that you are embarrassed.” George says. “Why are you embarrassed Rosie?”
“Oh my God, do you have an off switch? I’m embarrassed because I’m fucking having a shower and you’re just standing there watching me.” Rosie says, and I can’t help but start laughing. The whole situation is hilarious.
“I do not have an off switch. No. It is my job to watch humans while they shower. In case they fall or slip.” George says.
“George, what Rosie means is, she is a girl and you are a boy, and she feels embarrassed because you can see her body parts.” I say, trying to make sense of it as I say it.
“I am not a boy Baxter. I am a robot. I can see her body parts. I don’t understand her embarrassment though. You can always see my body parts. I do not wear clothes.” George says.
“George give me that towel. I’ve had enough of this. I’m getting out.” Rosie says.
“You can’t get out. You haven’t shampooed or conditioned your hair.” George says, saying shampoo and conditioner, and each of these are propelled out of the wall and between Rosie and I on long metal arms just as the toothbrushes were. The shampoo is squirted onto Rosie’s blonde damp hair and George begins massaging the shampoo into her hair with his long dexterous metal fingers.
“George. What are you doing? This is really over-stepping the mark man. Get out!” Rosie says, horrified.
“Rosie, stop protesting and let me do my job!” George is getting annoyed.
“If this is your job this is fucking perverted.” Rosie screams trying to get out of the shower but George keeps pushing her back in. I’m in the corner of the shower laughing my head off. I’ve never seen a naked girl and an angry robot wrestle in a shower before.
“What does perverted mean?” George asks.
“Baxter! Get him off me. I’m done. I’m done. I’m fucking done.” Rosie swears.
“George she doesn’t have Lobadantriosis. She can wash herself.” I say.
“Can she? Are you sure?” George stops trying to wash Rosie’s hair for a moment.
“Yes, I’m sure. She knows she has to use shampoo and conditioner. Her brain is healthy.” I say.
“You are telling the truth Baxter. I detect I am not needed here. I will go downstairs.” George sounds defeated, and he leaves closing the door behind him.
“That’s his job? That’s his job? If he had a dick he’d have a boner right now!” Rosie says, pissed off. I’m still laughing.
“It’s a good thing, he doesn’t have one then.” I say, pulling her into me and kissing her.
“How did the government get away with this? Male robots washing girls? That’s disgusting!” Rosie says.
“If they have Lobadantriosis they don’t know any better. I don’t think the robots get anything from it anyway. How can they? They don’t have DNA or cells, or a reproductive system. It’s just a job to them. They probably have like internal criteria the government wants them to meet daily, programmed into them.” I say.
“Make sure he doesn’t come in here again when I’m having a shower. That was so wrong on so many levels.” Rosie says.
We turn off the water, get out of the shower and dry our bodies under some hot lights. The steam from the shower has fogged up the mirror so I use my towel to wipe it clear. Our clothes from the day before are dirty and I don’t really want to wear them again, so I decide I’ll just see what dad has in his wardrobe. I turn the light on in the walk-in-wardrobe to find that it is completely empty and there are no clothes nor shoes. What the hell do Mum and Dad wear? Surely not the same clothes every day? Rosie and I bound downstairs in our towels in search of George who is in the kitchen boiling the kettle to make tea for Mum and Dad who are in the front room watching a movie on the living room wall.
“George – where are all of Mum and Dad’s things? Their clothes, their shoes?” I demand to know.
“I threw them away. Why?” George is confused.
“You threw them away? Why?”
“Because that’s what you should do. Throw them away after they have been worn. Don’t you know that?” George is confused.
“What about washing them?” I say.
“Why would you wash clothes?”
“To wear them again.”
“Why would you wear them again? That’s quite unhygienic.”
“What are we supposed to wear now?” I growl at him. He is a fucking idiot.
“Clothes of course. Do you need help choosing?” George inquires.
“Huh? Choosing? Choosing what? There’s nothing to choose from!” I growl again.
“Yes, there is Baxter. There is quite a selection actually. If you’ll just follow me I can show you how to use the clothes printer.”
“Clothes printer. Why didn’t I think of that?” I say satirically, fucking plain annoyed by how life is done these days.
“Don’t worry babe. Don’t stress. Everything is the way it is for a reason.” Rosie tries to soothe me as we follow George upstairs.
George presses a little black button on the bedroom wall and on it displays a screen of women’s and men’s clothing options with the following headings: undies, bras, lingerie, socks, jocks, singlets, tshirts, jumpers, polos, jeans, pants, trousers, shorts, skirts, dresses, scarves, hats, earrings, neckties, necklaces, rings, brooches, headpieces, cufflinks, suits, ties, and jackets. And much to Rosie’s satisfaction – shoes and boots. And I see two chutes embedded into the bedroom wall that I didn’t notice before. They have stainless steel handles, like the book chutes at the library.
“It is like this so that a couple can dress at the same time without having to wait for the screen to be free.” George says, like it should all be so fucking obvious.
“You’re saying I can wear whatever I want for free?” Rosie is ecstatic.
“You can.” George replies.
“Jewellery as well?” She asks.
“What about make up? Eyeliner and mascara and that sort of thing?”
“You must go back into the bathroom for that. Your bathroom will do it for you. Do you not have all of this at home?”
“I don’t know if we do. We left so quickly we didn’t check.” Rosie says, referring to our house in Hobart. George doesn’t understand what she means and neither of us care to elaborate. Rosie goes about flicking through the jeans and tshirts on her side of the screen while I go about choosing something to wear on mine.
“Universal Size Four.” Rosie mumbles.
“How did you know that? I don’t know what size I am.” I say.
“You will be a men’s six.” George tells me. Sizing has changed significantly since 2026.
“I used to watch America’s Next Top Model. They’ve become the universal sizing according to this.” Rosie eyes the screen.
“Oh, I was so rapt by the clothes I forgot to order undies and a bra.” Rosie says.
“Not to worry Rosie. You can go back in the menu. Let me help you.” George says, tapping the screen a few times in a few places to make her side of the screen go back to the main menu.
“Thanks. It’s fourteen degrees outside? I’ll get a scarf as well. Are you sure this is free?” Rosie asks George.
“As free as free will ever be.” He smiles.
Once we have chosen whole outfits, and the clothes fall off the printing machine inside the wall and into the chutes, we open the chutes and pull out the clothes and shoes and put them all on.
“It’s real cotton and real wool.” Rosie announces, grinning.
“Yes, Rosie, it is. Printers do not use artificial ingredients.” George explains. Rosie and I start laughing because everything we have just seen has been artificial.
“What is so funny?” George asks.
“Nothing.” We say.
“These jeans are tough. Not bad.” I say, feeling around my legs for all the pockets and zips.
“You have chosen a nice pair.” George says.
“Thanks man. Why don’t you get dressed?” I ask him. It doesn’t sound too silly.
“Me? Why would I wear clothes?” George is flummoxed.
“So you can feel good.” I say.
“Feel good? I already feel good.” He replies. Rosie laughs.
“George – do you know what fashion is?” Rosie asks.
“Yes Rosie – you are wearing the latest in fashion.”
“Don’t you want to wear the latest in fashion too?” Rosie asks him.
“What pleasure would I get in doing that?” George doesn’t understand.
“It’s too hard to explain George. You’ll just have to put some clothes on and try it.” Rosie says.
“Should I try it right now?” He is unsure.
“Yes George. Try it right now.” We say.
George goes about selecting a pair of pants and a polo top with a sports cap for himself. When he puts it all on he looks in the mirror and has a funny look on his face. Rosie and I haven’t said anything. We are too busy absorbing the image in the mirror. A robot dressed in clothes. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
“I… I… look… human.” George says, looking sad and then looking joyed, and he smiles.
“You do look human man. Welcome to the human club.” I say, hitting him on the back, my hand colliding with his metal shoulder blades; the collision is painful.
“Humans are not supposed to hit robots.” George says.
“That wasn’t hitting. That was playing.” I say, sighing. And then Rosie hits me over the head, flings her arm around my shoulder and then kisses me.
“See? We are playing. Not hitting.” Rosie giggles. And then George taps me on the head. And I laugh. He has never delved into being playful and the concept is totally foreign to him.
“Playing. I like playing.” He says, like a five year old. Then Rosie taps me on the shoulder telling me “you’re it”, and she runs downstairs and George and I go after her. In the backyard I catch her and say “you’re it”, and I run away, and George follows, running blindly behind me, slowly and gradually adjusting to this game of chasey.