I wake the next day at around noon. I turn and look at Rosie who is looking at me. We are both sober and in pain.
“Baxie.” She mumbles, nosing my nose with her nose.
“Rosa.” I purr. Biting her cheek, playfully.
“Ugh. My head’s killing me. And I’m fucking numb.” I say.
“Mmm I wonder if Panadol still exists.” She says.
“Gonna need something stronger than Panadol.” I say. I whip the sheet off my sweating body. I really want her body, and whilst my body screams for release, my brain is yelling at me and telling me it’s impossible.
“Rosie, I want you.” I whisper into her ear.
“Oh Baxie, not now. I’m too sleepy.”
“Please, come on.” I say, nudging her legs apart with my knees. I pull off her undies and throw them to the ground. I nudge her legs apart with my knees.
“Not now Baxie.” She says, dragging her reluctant fingers through my unkempt mane of Tarzan hair.
“Me Tarzan. You Jane.” I play.
“Jane has a headache Tarzan.”
“Tarzan has banged head into tree and has a sore head too, but he don’t care.” I say, taking her body.
She screams, and her body shakes and she orgasms, and I feel everything. The extra friction is very much appreciated just before I finish. Enter George. Right on time.
“George. Get out. You sure do pick your timing.” Rosie screams.
“I’m sorry Rosie. I heard you scream. I thought you needed help.” George explains. If he could blush for imposing during our session, he probably would. But robots are unaware of the taboos surrounding sexual intercourse.
“George, this is what people do. And I’m gonna have a shower now. And no, I don’t need your help.” Rosie says, falling out of bed in her tshirt; she’s exposed.
“I’m going to have a shower with her.” I say.
“I will help you. You both have Lobadantriosis. I must help you.”
“No, George, we are not sick. We took some drugs. That’s all.” I say, walking to the shower. I turn the shower on and hop in beside Rosie. George turns silent, no doubt researching drugs in his database. He is pensive.
“Are drugs supposed to make you disappear?” George asks.
“What? George, no. Go away. We’ll talk later.” I say, annoyed.
“But Baxter, you disappeared. I saw you, and then you disappeared. You returned a short while later, but you definitely disappeared.” George is adamant.
“Disappeared? Come on George. Stop being silly. Wait… you can’t be silly. You’re a robot.” I jump out of the shower, ignoring the fact that I’m naked, and stand against the basin.
“Tell me exactly what happened.” I say.
“You smelled some of the white powder on the table in front of you, and then you fell to the floor, and then you disappeared. Then Rosie smelled some of the white powder and she disappeared too. Around five minutes later, you both returned, and you were talking nonsense.” George says.
“We disappeared? Like, our bodies were gone?”
“Yes, your bodies were gone entirely.”
“Did anyone notice?” I ask.
“They did. They thought it was funny. They laughed about it.”
“They took some drugs too, that’s why they laughed.”
“I thought they had Lobadantriosis.”
“No, I don’t think any of those people you saw would have it. They are all wealthy enough to buy Proxy.” I say.
“How do you know that?”
“Because Volt, the man who bought my art work, George, his grandfather Mr Spoon is the only one who knows how to make Proxy.” I say.
“How do you know that?” George asks, suspicious.
“I gave him the recipe.” I say.
“I am an intelligent machination Baxter, but in this instance I am unclear what you mean.”
“Do you believe in time travel?” I ask him.
“Should a robot have any beliefs?”
“Yes, George, if you feel a robot should have beliefs, then you should have beliefs. What do you feel?”
“I feel confused.”
“No, I mean, what do you feel about time travel? Do you understand it as a concept?”
“Yes, I understand it as a theory. I don’t know if it is real though.”
“George, trust me when I say that it is very real. Trust me on this.”
“Why should I trust you? You’re only a human.”
“Sometimes humans can do things that robots can’t.”
“Like sleep.” I say.
“And what happens when you sleep?”
“I am asleep right now George, and you are a figment of my subconscious future.”
“You are in the present, I am sure.”
“My present is the year 2026. And when Rosie and I disappeared, that is where we went. We went back to 2026.”
“I do not comprehend and I am more intelligent than you.”
“Go away and do some research. We can talk about it later.” I say, hopping back into the shower.
“That was an interesting conversation.” Rosie tells me, pulling me into her. She smells wonderful.
“The shampoo is yummy.”
“Hmm, it is.” I kiss her hard, letting the hot water fall into our kiss.
“That’s where we went? Back again?” She asks.
“Yes. We did. I’m betting Reflactin and drugs behave the same way.” I say, guessing.
“If we need to go back, at least we can now. At will.” She says.
“True. Very true. But I think we need to stay in this future a little while longer. We have a lot to do now.” I say.
“I’ve got to see Mum and Dad.” She says.
“You do. You’re a terrible daughter.” I joke, kissing her water-glazed lips.
After the shower we choose new outfits and shoes and get dressed and head downstairs for a very late breakfast. I choose pancakes and a cappuccino for myself, and choose pancakes and a latte for Rosie. We grab these out of the printer and sit down at the table. I push the black button, and read the newspaper while I’m eating. Rosie’s reading a magazine.
“North West is in that new movie we saw advertised on here yesterday.”
“Is she? She’s a bit young to be in a movie. What is she, like five?” I say, eating my pancakes with silverware.
“Babe, you’re forgetting it’s 2046. She’s like 32 now. Not much younger than us.” Rosie points out.
“Shit I am too. Fair enough. I don’t keep up with that family anyway.” I say.
“I don’t either. Just saying. Mmm, these strawberries are sooo good.”
“They are. Better than the real ones.” I agree.
“I believe you.” George comes into the kitchen saying.
“Good. I’m glad.”
“What are you doing here? How did you get here Baxter?
“We were injected with a substance called Gyliptin. We fell asleep and we were transported twenty years ahead in time.” I explain.
“Why are you here?”
“To save Mum and Dad, and Rosie’s parents too, if possible.”
“From Lobadantriosis.” I say.
“What’s wrong?” George looks sad.
“If no one has Lobadantriosis robots are useless. We won’t be needed for anything.” He’s really depressed.
“How long have you been around for George?” I ask.
“Good. Well if we can wipe out this fucking disease, we will still need you, don’t worry.” I wink at him.
“Will you? Will you really? You won’t get rid of me, will you?” George is worried.
“Of course George. You’re part of the family now.” I smile.
“Can I give you a hug?” George asks.
“Of course.” I say, getting off from my chair, and hugging the cold hard robot in front of me.
“Thank you Baxter. You are really kind. I don’t know what love is, but it makes me happy knowing I am your family. That sounds like something nice.”
“What are you going to wear today Georgie?” Rosie asks him, playfully.
“Clothes!” George grins and runs upstairs to the clothes printer. He comes back five minutes later wearing tracksuit pants, a tshirt, a cap and sunglasses.
“Why the sunglasses Georgie?” She smiles.
“They are cool.” George says.
“Haha. He knows what cool is. That’s so cute.”
“What is cute?” George asks.
“You are. You are.” Rosie grins, her dimples are turning me on.
“How do I get pain killers?” I ask him.
“Of course. What a stupid question.” I get up from my chair and find the icon for painkiller on the kitchen wall’s screen. I tap it and open the printer door. I pick up the tiny white tablet, pop into my gob, and swallow some of my cappuccino after it.
“Where’s mine?” Rosie asks. I print her a tablet, hand it to her, and she takes it.
“What we are doing today?” George asks.
“Finding Mr Spoon.” I say.
We walk into The Gazer and wait for Volt to find us. We grab a plate each, stand on them, and float around the gallery.
“Still tripping, I see.” Volt says, literally tripping me, and when I think I’m going to fall, I don’t. The plate finds my feet and turns me upright. Interesting lack of gravity at work there, I think.
“You can’t fall. It’s impossible.” Volt says, grinning. Rosie is not impressed.
“Gravity does not exist at this height. It exists at ground level. Up here we can float.” He says.
“One of your grandfather’s inventions?”
“Something like that.”
“Duke here?” Rosie asks him.
“Nope. He’s not here today. Probably out shopping with one of the girls.”
“Volt, I’ve come to ask about your grandfather. How can I contact him?” I say.
“My grandpa? What do you want from him?” Volt’s intrigued.
“I think we both know what I want from him.” I say sternly.
“Aha. That’s why you sold those paintings. Smart move. Come downstairs. Let’s chat.” Volt’s hovering hovers down to the ground and so do each of ours, and we step off them and stand them against the brick wall before following him down into the cellar that we were tripping in yesterday. Volt presses his finger to his wrist button and waits for it to expel its screen. He taps on call, and calls his grandfather.
“Mr Spoon, an old friend of yours wants some Proxy. His name’s Baxter. Do you know him?” Volt says to his screen.
“Baxter? Ah. Baxter Breckeridge. I’ll have a word with him, yes.” I stand next to Volt’s elbow.
“Mr Spoon. I know things weren’t great between us the last time we spoke, but you have something I really need. And I have two million dollars. How’s about it?” I say.
“Not in this lifetime.” Mr Spoon ends the call.
I am shocked. I have the money. I don’t understand.
“Did you do something to piss him off? That’s the first time he has ever refused two million dollars.” Volt is confused.
“Yes, I did something to piss him off. But I would think someone of his logic and reasoning would have dropped their grudge against me in twenty years.” I say.
“What do you mean?” Volt asks.
“When I was eighteen Rosie and I were supposed to help your grandfather with something. We agreed to but then at the last second we backed out.”
“Because it didn’t fit in with our life plans.” I say, realising how stupid it all sounds.
“I guess he is a very unforgiving person. I’m sorry. Whatever you backed out on must have been pretty damn important to him.” Volt says, shrugging.
“Yeah it was. It still is.” I say, sighing.
“What is it?” Volt asks.
“Your grandfather stole the Proxy formula from my subconscious.”
“What the fuck? None of that makes sense. Blame me. I gave you the coke.”
“No, I’m fine. I’m straight. It’s not the coke. Volt, look, listen. I really need you to hear me on this. When I was eighteen your grandfather put me to sleep for twenty days with his team. I travelled to 2046. I was a scientist. I woke up, was hypnotised by a woman who worked for your grandfather, and while under hypnosis, this woman, Organza, she recorded the recipe for the Proxy formula on her phone.”
“Organza is my grandmother. What the fuck is a phone? Those old fashioned white and black things? Hang on one moment. This is mad. You are mad. Travelled to now? And you’re a scientist? I thought you were a painter? Who painted those paintings you sold me?”
“I painted those paintings I sold you. I painted them when I was 17 and 18, and I’m thirty eight now. Volt, this is the truth. Ask your grandfather about Gyliptin. Ask him what it is. See how he answers. Call him back.” Volt calls Mr Spoon again on his wrist device.
“Grandpa, it’s me again.”
“Has Baxter gone?” Mr Spoon asks.
“Yes he has gone. I’m just wondering. He has me thinking. He mentioned something I’ve never heard before. He said you made it when you were younger. It’s called Gyliptin.”
“He mentioned it. Yes, he did. It is true. It exists. And I created it. It works Voltano. It really does.”
“You created time travel?”
“No, Voltano, travelling across time has always been possible. I simply took the steps required to manifest it. Listen. We shouldn’t be discussing this on a screen. Come to my house. We can have a short macchiato. I’ll explain everything.” Mr Spoon ends the call.
“I need to stop snorting stuff.” Volt says, dazed. I grab him by the shoulders and make him look at me.
“Volt, listen mate. This is bigger than you and me and your grandpa. This involves the whole world. Lobadantriosis has a cure and the whole world deserves to benefit from Proxy – not just the few of us who can afford it.” I say.
“I’ll go over there and see what he says.” Volt says, shaken.
“Take Duke with you. Go there straight. Fuck the junk. You’ll remember nothing if you take it now.” I say, digging my hand into his pocket and removing a bag of cocaine from it. I give the cocaine to George.
“George is gonna hold onto this till you get back okay? Don’t worry. It’s not his style.” I say. Volt laughs.