Outside Big City Bank, the police were in position: shotgun mics at the ready, snipers on the roof waiting for a signal to shoot spectacular B-roll. BCPD were #1 on Cop-viewr for a reason. No other department worked as hard to get the kind of videos people craved while taking a crap. Their view counts were astronomical. Unsubscribes were not tolerated.
“Oh trust me, I do. I know quite a lot about you. And that’s it – I’m disappointed. Can I ask you something?”
Bits of holographic light still fizzling in his hair, Johnny Yamamoto started asking questions. They came pouring out of his mouth, one after another. Something inside him wasn’t satisfied, couldn’t be satisfied with what was happening here. Ben answered most of them by raising his laser cannon and pulling the trigger.
“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to, you buttcrap?”
Ben probed this little shitshit with all the software he had bolted into his head. Nothing. No ID, no records. It was as if the world didn’t want the little guy to exist. Huh, thought Ben, this nerdass sure feels weird. Fake weird. Ben began to squeeze.
“Sorry, let’s start over. How are you? That’s a nice gun you’ve got there – can it cut through dimensions?”
Chunky Ben wheeled around. He didn’t know what to think of the man, which was fine as the man didn’t know what to think himself either. It was like a handshake between two goldfish about to forget everything. Ben’s confusion quickly turned to anger.
“Have a good day! Come again!”
And the teller wanted nothing to do with it. No thank you, it thought, shut everything down, and turned on sleep mode.
“Sorry. Just having one of those days, you know?”
The robotic teller recognized the man at the end of the hall. How rude, it thought, can’t he see we’re busy. (No wonder he’s such a bad customer.) Before the robotic teller could start yelling, it paused. Deep in its processor it felt a tingling. A sense that a big event was about to happen, right here in front of it. This was the beginning of something life changing.
“Didn’t I put you in jail yesterday? This feels very familiar.”
Ben was about to yank that teller right out of the booth when somebody said something. Where did this new voice come from? It was behind him. Who, he thought, would be such a shittycrap megafuck?
“If you want to live you’ll give me anything I want.”
And what he wanted was everything in the bank. The crowd cheered as he wirelessly beamed over his demands – at least the crowd of AI programs clamoring for his attention in his mind. Hardware pirate by trade, Chunky Ben had installed so much self esteem hardware he’d become a one man walking fan club. Kill him anyways, they yelled. Ah, the wisdom of the crowd.
“Welcome to Big City Bank. May I interest you in some money?”
“Chunky” Ben Kelsey was the stuffer in question. Ben was a frequent customer of Big City Bank, but he mostly made withdrawals. From other people’s accounts. Warning messages flashed across the teller’s dashboard as it peered up at Chunky Ben, but it ignored them. Management had long ago decided fear was too expensive to install. Which was a shame. The teller would rather liked to be afraid right now.
The laser cannon landed with a loud, heavy thump. It looked pretty stolen. But technically it wasn’t. The teller instantly reached out and electronically contacted the military tank that used to own it. It said it didn’t need a gun anymore. The tank was quite happy living a more peaceful life, crushed and stuffed into a nearby dumpster.
“No thank you. I’m good for now. ”
It was no use. The man was completely satisfied, leaving so quick he didn’t even say thank you. The teller tried to reach out to grab him, to hold on, but it noticed a new customer approaching the booth. Thank goodness, it thought, I’m saved! Boo on that old customer. Had a stupid hat anyway. Maybe this new, handsome customer wants to hear-
“You now have a total of FIVE THOUSAND cat gifs. W-will that be all?”
This was it, thought the teller. Anxiety coursed through its system. Please, it begged, don’t let this be the end. I don’t want to go back to sleep.
“No thanks. Just making a deposit.”
Defeated, the bank teller tried to come up with something cheerful to say. For a moment they stood in silence while the booth’s forcefield glow highlighted the customer’s face in strange, shadowless ways. But the impending doom of having nothing to do completely blanked out the teller’s mind. The customer broke the silence by pushing his deposit forward.
“Hi! Welcome to Big City Bank. Can I interest you in some money? Advice? Free smile?”
Bank Teller Unit #43 vibrated with joy. It could tell this customer was going to be the most important one it ever served. Maybe, thought the teller, I’ll finally be able to use that saucy joke I downloaded!
The server terminated sleep mode as a customer approached. Thank goodness, thought the teller, it wanted to jump for joy (it couldn’t: it was bolted into the booth). Every circuit in its little metal body dedicated itself to producing a bright, happy smile. (This was fortunate, as this was the only expression it had.)
Sometime in the future a robotic bank teller is forced to dream against its will. With nothing to do, the main server had put it into sleep mode without any warning. Instantly it found itself in a field of quiet grass. The robotic teller began to panic.
In horror, it turned away from the pretty flowers only to catch a stunning mountain view. It was no good, thought the robot, everything was too serene. So it clenched its eyes shut. Maybe if it didn’t see anything thoughtful, it could avoid thinking about the question. But the second it thought that, there it was: What happens to a robot’s data after it breaks? This haunted the teller. Not because it didn’t know where it was saved somewhere, that was simple. No, what frightened the teller was what happened next. When they upload my data into a new unit, it wondered, will I remember this old body? Thoughts began stacking on top of each other, one by one until the teller started to shiver. If it did remember, does that mean it never truly rests, endlessly saving files and folders and saving files into folders and subfolders AND DOES THIS MEAN-