“I don’t understand, it was working just fine before you walked into the room,” said Paul. “I’m sorry about this, Doctor Caldwell, I don’t want to waste your time.”
“That’s okay, Paul. Let’s do this another time. I actually need the lab to myself. I have something rather urgent I need to clear up.”
Caldwell’s eyes moved to the apparently malfunctioning apparatus in front of Paul as the young scientist rebooted the software.
“I’ve seen you working on this in the past few weeks. What is it? Killer robot? Or at least a killer robot’s head?”
Paul pretended to smile. “Not quite. Giving its, um, face, a humanoid appearance just makes more sense in the context of our project. We’ve been teaching it, essentially, to mimic human facial expressions.” What Paul wanted to say next, he was sure, would elicit a more animated, dismissive reaction. So he did. “And duplicate human emotions.”
Remember a few years back, when Paul Greengrass did ‘Green Zone’, and it had Matt Damon in it, but it wasn’t a Bourne movie? But that the studio wanted to remind us, all the same, that it was from the director of two Bourne movies and that it had Jason Bourne in it? But it wasn’t actually anything like a Bourne movie?
Or when ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ came along and they told us it was like ‘Inception meets (you’ll never guess, really) Bourne’? Well, why not keep everyone happy and take practically every film Matt Damon has been in and substitute the titles with Bourned-up versions?
Even now, I can’t bring myself to tell my mother about the rug.
At some stage, every little boy has a fire phase. A fascination with the flame, if you will. It calls out to each of us at some point. And it sang its song, luring me on to the rocks, or on to the hearth, when I was about twelve years of age.
Circumstances aligned each weeknight beautifully while that fascination lasted.
My mother, my very house-proud mother, worked nights, in the bar of a theatre in the city centre. And to make it there on time, she would have to leave and head off into town in her blue Mini City at ten to seven.
Now, my father didn’t arrive home from the factory he worked in as a welder until a quarter past seven, typically. So that gave me roughly twenty, twenty-five minutes to work.
But that’s not enough to do what I want to do, what I would like to do.
Maybe if it was a cat. I can’t fucking stand cats. It’s their… let’s call it insincerity, their dishonesty, their slyness. Sneaking into your freshly dug flowerbed to have a dump in the clay when they think you’re not looking. But at least cats have a purpose in mind, even if it’s just to take a shit.